'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, March 2, 2012

Poetry competition winners

I'm the only person in the entire world who knows the names of the winners from the Adelaide Plains Poets Inc poetry competition. The judge has chosen the poems, but doesn't know the names of the winners. I know, and I'm not telling!

I'm not here to brag about knowing something no-one else knows (well, only a bit), I'm here to beef up a bit of interest in poetry, particularly amongst students. The love for poetry waxes and wanes over the years, and I fear at the moment it may be waning.

There aren't enough teachers out there with a big enough love of poetry to help their students to learn to love poetry too. I've played a small role in fostering a love of poetry in others, with my involvement with the Adelaide Plains Poets poetry competition. I've been the President and competition of APPI since the group began in 2005.

The entries for the competition have come from all across Australia, and the numbers of entries were rising every year, until a health issue I have, slowed my efforts in 2010/2011, when very few entries were received, because people just didn't know about the competition.

This financial year my health has been better, or at least I'm dealing with it better, and we received a strong entry again for 2012. The quality of the winners is impressive, and the judge very much enjoyed judging the entries this year, as have other judges in other years.

The winners of the competition will be announced at the next Gawler Poets at the Pub on 25th of March, 2pm at the Prince Albert Hotel. The prizes for this competition are good, with a prize pool of at least $500 available for winning poets. The details of the next competition will be announced on this blog, in writers centres around Australia, and in other places where poetry is loved and spoken of.

There's a Facebook page for Gawler Poetry Readings, and there will be details there too. Go there and read all about the fun and games with Poetry in Gawler!

Details for the next annual competition will be announced here when they come out, and in the meantime, take a look around the blog, and get involved in talking about poetry! After the winners are officially announced in Gawler, they will be published here, and the judges' speech will be published here too.

The speeches from some of the earlier judges are published on this blog, search for them and you can read about what they thought. If you'd like to know more about any of this, feel free to contact me, my details are on the home page here.
Carolyn Cordon, President and competition secretary Adelaide Plains Poets Inc


john malone said...

A really interesting blog, Carolyn. You are doing an excellent job in promoting poetry and this year I will take a more active interest in whatever the topic is and have a crack myself.

I'm also involved in the Spring Poetry Festival for students and will ask whether entries are up and ask what teachers can do to foster poetry in schools

Carolyn Cordon said...

That all sounds good John. I've enjoyed the lessons I've given with students over the years. I've been in Mallala Primary and Balaklava Primary Schools, and I hope to run my Vegetable Victory program at a few more schools in my area.

Combining my two roles - Poetry group and Community Foodies worked well last year, and know that the weather's cooled down, I can work on doing it again. Getting young students to give both poetry and eating vegetables a go was lots of fun, for almost everyone. That one boy, there was no way he was going to eat a vegetable!

I was lucky at Balaklava and the teacher was completely involved in helping the kids to enjoy exploring and then writing poetry. If the teacher is having a good time teaching something, I guess most of the students will too.

Thanks John.

john malone said...

that's true, Carolyn; if we're enjoying it there's a good chance kids are; maybe that's why poetry is not as popular amongst kids as it could be: because not enough teachers are out there worked up about it \and enjoying it

Carolyn Cordon said...

That's true John - at Balaklava Primary, the teacher, Barb, got right into the poetry side of it all, and did some writing herself to share with the students.

There was an anthology put together with the poems the students wrote, as well as pictures of vegetables they cut out from Supermarket catalogues. I must make an effort and look at the anthology some time soon...