'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, March 31, 2012

Gawler Poets at the Pub

A poet sent me a txt message this morning, asking about the results of the Adelaide Plains Poetry competition results. I sent a message letting her know the results are on this blog here, I hope you can get here Chris!

She also asked about the Gawler Poets at the Pub, what dates they're on. I included that info in the txt message, so I'm  hoping she'll come to join us. That reminded me though that I haven't written much about Gawler Poets at the Pub here. I should have, just never got around to it, or perhaps did ages ago and have forgotten.

It doesn't matter which, I'm writing about it now. Gawler Poets at the Pub is on the last Sunday of the month, in the Prince Albert Hotel, starting at 2pm. We have a core group of people who almost always come along, and extras who show up when they can. The event is put on by a committee, of which I am a member, and I find it to be the friendliest little poetry reading around!

This was taken on in 2010 by the committee when long time organiser Martin Johnson stepped back after running it in various pubs in Gawler for fifteen years. Martin did a mighty fine job, and I believe the committee is  doing a good job too!

Those who want to read their work are asked to write down their name in the book and put a gold coin donation in the tin. Then they have their time to read their work, to be appreciated by the attentive audience. If the reader hands in their poems read as requested, they'll have the chance to be considered for the anthology which is put together annually.

This is all going well, and we've had some fine guest poets to entertain us, and are always open to requests from poets for the guest position if they have a new collection or any other exciting poetic happening. So if you like or love poetry and you can get to Gawler on the last Sunday of the month, come and join in!

There is a Facebook page for Gawler Poets at the Pub, you'll find it here http://www.facebook.com/groups/GawlerPoetryReadings/

The committee is made up of Helen Lindstrom, Gary McCrae, Sharon Kernot and me, Carolyn Cordon.


john malone said...

I heartily endorse all that Carolyn says; it's a wonderful afternoon with fine people and fine poetry. I always come away feeling happy

Carolyn Cordon said...

So, are you coming along this month for Mike's big day then John? It should be fun, that's for sure.

We spoke about you Mr Malone at the Creatability Poetry Group at the Writer's Centre today, all good things about how inspiring one member found your Big Blue Mouth book.

john malone said...

the Creatabilty poetry group, what is that?

Yes I will be there. So Mike is guesr reader? that is good; as you know we often visit one another's blogs

Carolyn Cordon said...

The Creatability Poetry Group is a new poetry group at the SA Writers Centre. The group members are part of Sharon Kernot's client group. We all have some level of disability, and we all love poetry. Don't be surprised if Sharon gets in contact with you at some stage to come and see us at some stage!

We meet every month or so and share knowledge and poetry. It's a fun group and we're working at making it a bigger group and maybe even more fun!

And yes, Mike's going to be the one for us this month, I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

john malone said...

it sounds goog; I hope Sharon does contact me

hey Carolyn: I've rewritten the openoing of the poem --- if you get a chance drop by and let me know what you think

Carolyn Cordon said...

OK John, I'll take a look!