'Freedom' competition Judge's Report


By Jude Aquilina

I felt privileged to be the judge for a competition with such an important and inspiring theme as FREEDOM. Thank you to all the poets who entered – you reminded me of the many different forms that freedom can take. These included: freedom from war; freedom of speech and thought; freedom in retirement and through travel; through bushwalking and horse riding; freedom from a refugee’s point of view; freedom in nature; freedom from abuse, racism and ageism; freedom through religion and freedom through zen; freedom in self-sufficiency and going off the grid; even freedom in death from suffering and freedom to reunite with loved ones in the afterlife. Congratulations to the competition organisers for choosing such a wide-ranging and thought-provoking theme.

The quality of the poetry was extremely high, in every section, making my job as judge difficult. Many more poems than I can mention deserve praise. And I was especially thrilled to read so many amazing poems by school students. I know the future of poetry is in good hands.


In the Primary School Section I chose four poems to Commend:

· Feeling Free (1) Lorena Burford - Horizon Christian School

· Freedom (18) Amelie Kowald – Domino Servite College

· Camping Moment (3) Sophie Manuel - Horizon Christian School

· Waking up on Saturday (8) Benjamin Trinkle – Domino Servite College

And I chose the poem The Freedom to Read (17) to Highly Commend Kezia Ziegelmann – Domino Servite College

For Third Prize, I chose a poem titled Charlotte and her eggs (6) Alexandra Hill – Tea Tree Gully Primary School – a clever and unusual poem, with rich poetic language and apt use of the senses.

For Second Prize, I chose the poem titled Freedom in Science (14) Wesley Trinkle – Domino Servite College – this enthusiastic account of the freedom, wonder and creativity in science, had me thinking and kept me smiling. This young poet has captured the thrill and passion in engaging in creative thoughts and experiments.

First Prize goes to a poem titled Freedom for me (16) Brandon George – Domino Servite College - a beautiful and vivid poem about finding freedom in the Australian countryside, when, I quote, ‘the evening shines like brass’. With images like this, I was transported me to another place. Congratulations to a poet with a talent for painting word-scapes!


In the Secondary School Section I chose three poems to Commend:

· The Beautiful Word (25) Amal TlaaOur Lady of the Sacred Heart College

· What is it? (28) Olivia Hayes – Domino Servite College

· I wanted to fly in the beautiful sky (12) Jasit Kaur – Domino Servite College

And I Highly Commended three poems:

· What happened to our acceptance? (6) Chloe Wightman – Domino Servite College

· Freedom is a funny word, isn’t it? (5) Jesse Blakers – Hawker College

· Why would you wear something so inappropriate (4) Freya Cox - The Friends School

For Third Prize in the Secondary School Section, I chose a poem titled Freedom Lies in Being Bold (8) – Aimy Tran - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College - a mature, intelligent poem that is a reminder of what women have achieved, and what is yet to be achieved in regards to equality. This is a bold and thought-provoking poem.

I chose, for Second Prize a poem titled A white blanket laid over Syria (13) – Rabjot Kaur - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College The poem relates vivid images of human suffering and gives the war in Syria a human face. This is a memorable, emotive poem that does not shy away from truth; an important narrative that needs to be written and read.

First Prize is awarded to a vivid lyrical poem simply titled Freedom (2) – Maya Chromik – Horizon Christian School. This poetic list of images captures the sense of freedom that we, here in Australia, are fortunate to enjoy free of charge, like, I quote ‘collecting stars at night’ and ‘finding dirt roads that lead to the unknown. This clever poet has put together a collage of positive experiences to capture the theme of Freedom in a clever and resonating way. Congratulations!


In the Open Section, there were many great poems that addressed the theme of Freedom in quirky ways like the three poems I award Commendations:

· The Cost of Zen (55) Helen Thurloe

· a peregrine falcon (86) Claire Albrecht

· Child of My Heart 928) Shelley Hansen

And I Highly Commended four outstanding poems:

· 1976 (no number) Stephen Smithyman

· Strawberries and Poppies (25) Donna Edwards

· Advance Australia - Fair (29) Chris Richardson

· Moon meeting (62) Nina Scott-Bohanna

Third Prize in the Open Section goes to a poem titled Free at Last (80) Tom McIlveen that takes the reader back to early Australian convict history. Rhyme, rhythm and meter are employed to effect; with this style suiting the era. I also enjoyed the authentic voice and dark humour.

I awarded Second Prize to a poem titled Transitions (84) Kerry Harte an ironic poem with moments of dark humour. The poem is about reading a shiny brochure for a nursing home, in which, I quote, are ‘The faces of the people … bright and bubbly as champagne’. I like this poet’s unfaltering tone and apt imagery.

First Prize goes to a poem titled, Freedom wakes me in the morning (69) Rhonda Cotsell It was a joy to read this intelligent, compassionate take on the theme. The poet focusses on the small things that mean freedom but also encompasses the big picture. This poet has captured the intangible, the essence of what freedom is and what it means. Congratulations to this brilliant poet. May freedom continue to wake you in the morning.

Thank you, Carolyn and the Adelaide Plains Poets for this enlightening experience.

Jude Aquilina


As the President of Adelaide Plains Poets, I thank the judge and of course all of the entrants in this competition, where we received well around 130 poems from around Australia, based on our broad topic of Freedom. As the Competition Secretary I say thank you to all of the lovely poets who sent their work to me and kept me entertained as I read the poems as that came to me in the mail, or by hand. And of course thank you to the teachers involved, keeping love of language alive in the young people they work with every day at their work!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Life Gives Me Poetry Themes!

As I've written previously on this blog, I'm currently committed to writing a new poem every day this month, and posting it to the Month of Poetry website.This has been going well for me, with at least one new poem every day in January.

I find I'm noticing things more, every day things that might usually go unnoticed. In my quest for a new poem every day, I'm becoming more mindful. This is a good thing. I took a look outside a couple of minutes ago and noticed one of our hanging plants is flowering again. The dwarf bouganvillea is lovely at the moment, with its new bracts gleaming fresh and orange/pink along the branch.

It seems though that my body has decided to give me things to write about as well. This is not such a good thing! Last night I had another trip and fall. There was alcohol involved in the night, but not enough to have caused the incident. It's my body not doing its job right, or perhaps me not taking heed of the signals from my body, that caused it.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that when I switched on the computer this morning, I had something new to write about!

A mostly un-iambic sonnet

Sprained ankle after trips and falls
And now I know a cause -
I’m regressing to childhood thanks to MS,
I’m overly dependent on walls -
Gravity become the most damaging of laws
But I keep my mind intact as I physically regress

Furniture too has become my friend
Walking stick a needed adornment
And now I’m damaged and resting until
My current damage will finally end.
If I keep to current conform-ment
With doctor’s orders of ice and keeping still,

I hope to end this pain that visits
When I exceed my bodily limits.

Did I mention I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis)? No, well, I'm not saying my disease was the only reason I fell, but it was certainly a contributing thing...

Feel free to leave a comment, I adore feedback on my poetry! Good, bad or indifferent, please tell me what you think.


john malone said...

a good poem, Carolyn: the opening stanza particularly is fantastic!

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thank you very much John. I'm very much enjoying my month of poetry. So far I've been able to write at least one new poem every day. They haven't all been great poems, but they've been written. Perhaps Nature might get a mention for tomorrow's poem (18th of January).

john malone said...

yes Carolyn, you are doing very well; it is important to set manageable goals and then set out to acheive them. With you it's one poem a day, with me it's one short story a fortnight till the end of the year when I'll assess my achievement. You can't always get quality but you certainly can't get quality if the quantity isn't there

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thank you again John, and good luck with your challenge. I wrote a super short story the other day, while I was sitting in the car in Tanunda, waiting for Graham to pick up what we'd gone there for.
It came to me out of the blue and I typed the words onto my phone. I love modern technology, and I love having quiet moments when my time is completely my own.
Quality can come if there is quantity - the chances of writing something good is better if you're writing plenty of things, poems, short stories, whichever you're aiming at.