'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!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Poetic Forms - the Sestina

I had a thought today, that it might be fun to write myself a sestina poem for my poem tomorrow. Then I looked up the rules for the sestina. I'm afraid I got scared and chickened out.

I've taken a look on Google, trying to find something that may encourage me to at least think more about the form. I found some guides that didn't interest me, even though they did a good enough job of explaining the intricate rules. They just made it seem boring, to try to write one. Then I found these instructions.

They made the process seem amusing, and clever. So perhaps I'll have a proper look tomorrow, and begin working on suitable words to use for a sestina. But for tomorrow's poem, I think I'll pick something simple like a bit of free verse.

Writing poetry can be as simple or as difficult as you like. I often find myself writing rhyming verse, particularly if I'm writing something amusing. But some of my serious verse has been rhyming too. I find the poem seems to reach out and tell me which form to use, once I've begun writing it.

I'm sure that isn't going to happen with the sestina, it's too structured for that. Tomorrow's poem will be something simple, I think.

Once I've written and posted my poem for tomorrow though, the sestina may serve to keep me amused for part of the day! Have you ever tried a sestina? If you did, I'd love to hear about the experience!


TimT said...

I reckon it's got to be traditional - it's no fun if it's a sestina without meter. Otherwise all you'd have to do is invent a series of sentences that end in the right words.

The first semi-successful sestina I ever wrote was about how confusing philosophy is, so I didn't much bother trying to make it make sense - I just let it get more and more nonsensical.

The second one was of course this on my blog; I think the subject was fairly appropriate, and so I found I had lots to write about, and a form that suited it.

McSweeney's used to publish fun sestinas but they've stopped now. They had some good fresh ideas about the form.

Now I'll go back to my current project... any suggestions on what rhymes with 'There was a man from Nantucket'?

Carolyn Cordon said...

Haha, funny Tim. Thanks for your response to my question. I'm writing a new poem every day this month. I've been a bit distracted by health issues, but that's sort of under control now, so I think it's time for a poetic challenge.

I'll try to remember to go out the front to my meditation seat and commune with Nature, then write something appropriate. I have lots of Nature in my little bit of rural South Australia, Nature and farmland.

john malone said...

I look forward to thje result

Carolyn Cordon said...

My poem for today has a little bit to do with Nature, but still has a bit about my health issues, sort of.
And I'm struggling with my first sestina tonight, taking a break now, almost finished first draft of first four stanzas. It's not a task for a weak minded person, I don't think!
I'm going to take a break tonight and keep working on it tomorrow!

Carolyn Cordon said...

In case you're wondering, my sestina having a rest. I'm hoping my subconscious mind is busy working on it and by the time I get back to it the last stanzas will pop out like magic.

Hmm I'm an optimistic person, but I think the sestina really needs an effort to be any good. I'll get back to it soonish...

I promise I will.

The Poet Daniel said...

I don't know if you have read my Sestina yet (Sestina 1: Water Daddy Blood Mommy Fire Ronnie). If you haven't, you can do so at www.poetrypoemspoets.wordpress.com

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thanks for the link PoetDaniel, I've got the cricket on the radio at the moment, but I'll listen to it when I can.

Carolyn Cordon said...

Well, my sestina is written now. I might post it as my poem of the day tomorrow. It's not quite tomorrow yet, but it feels nearly time to go off to sleep.

So, tomorrow, if I post my setina on the month of poetry site, get some responses and am happy with what I've created, I'll post the sestina to this sight, and all can laugh, or marvel at my cleverness, depending on what you think of what I've written.