'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!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

After My Month of Poetry - January

Last month was a full on month of poetry, not  just for me, but for many others. Well known
Queensland poet Kathryn Apel called for interested poets to join her for the month of January to be part of her Month of Poetry team.

Many others joined her, and were given the choice of either posting a daily poem, or posting an occasional poem. There were no penalties if one didn't meet the criteria, but I, and I suspect many others, became addicted to meeting the challenge of writing and posting a new poem every day.

The website where this took place was a closed site, and participants were given passwords to get into the relevant part of the site. It was extremely well run, and the poets seemed to thrive there. We were encouraged to not just post our own poem, but to read and comment on the poems of the other poets there. It was in effect an online critique group.

The poets involved were wonderful, some of them very fine poets indeed, and I read some wonderful poetry in the month of January 2012. I've become Facebook friends, and a Twitter follower of a few of the Month of Poetry members, and I hope the connection will continue and strengthen over time.

In December, when I let Kathryn know I was keen on joining this site, I had no idea exactly what I was letting myself in for. I had hoped I'd write some poems and hoped I could manage one a day (challenging!), but I had no idea of the joy and creativity burst that would occur.

I found it was easy to write a poem every day, and I in fact wrote more than the thirty one poems, one a day, that the challenge demanded. I in fact wrote at least one poem every day in January and on some days I wrote more than one poem (I wrote at least 45 poems in January). I was thrilled with that, and I was thrilled with the way my writing for January went beyond the writing of poetry. 

I found more things to write about, and began to post to some of my blogs much more often than usual. This is pleasing to me. I call myself a poet and writer but if I can stick with the increased blog posting, I'll feel comfortable enough to call myself a blogger too. I'm getting more followers on my blogs, especially this blog, so that day is getting closer.

A great side effect of the Month of Poetry for January is the increase in creativity with my various kinds of writing, which is still going on now, after January is over. I hope to keep this up, and continue writing more, and more often. I've written more poems this month than any other month, apart from January 2012, my Month of Poetry. 

So thank you so much to Kathryn and all of the lovely poets who kept me company for January 2012!


john malone said...

it's ironic but I have made 2012 my year of writing short stories and I am; it's just that I am writing as many poems as I always have :)

Carolyn Cordon said...

Well that's a good thing John, as long as you can get the short stories written too, in accordance with your plan!

I've just read a blog post of Sally Odgers, and I've begun thinking there may still be hope for my cast off novel. I've written the first draft and couldn't see any way to turn it into something anyone else would ever want to read.

Now though, I've been given something to think about and apply to the discarded 1st draft, and give me inspiration to begin a re-cast 2nd draft!

If you're interested, the blog is here http://affordablemanuscriptassessments.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/antagonists-vs-enemies.html?spref=fb

john malone said...

Carolyn: I clicked on the link to read up on it but nothing happened

Carolyn Cordon said...

Hi John, you may have to cut and paste to see it. I don't know why it didn't work.

Hidden Idol said...

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Hidden Idol

john malone said...

it's okay. I can check her out on Facebook

Carla S said...

I'm so grateful I found your blog! I, too, have MS (and blog about it sometimes. I also, adore poetry, although I only have one or two blogged. The rest are going in a book I am writing. I love how you think!

Carla S said...

Love this blog and so glad I found it! I, too, have MS and blog about it now and then. I love to write and am trying more poetry. I'm very happy I found you!