'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, May 5, 2012

Football and Nature Combined - Inspiration!

I was sitting in the car yesterday afternoon, watching the fast and furious action on the field. Mallala Magpies A Grade were playing Hamley Bridge. I follow the Mallala Magpies, and I was totally into the game. At least I thought I was totally into it ...

But something caught my eye - it was somewhat in front of me, up and off to the right. I dragged my attention away from the oval and looked to the thing up above the pine trees there. The thing was a bird, one of the birds of prey, possibly a fork tail kite, possibly something else. The bird was too far away for me to be certain of what it was.

It was moving slowly, wings outstretched but not flapping at all. The bird was floating above the road next to the footy oval, or perhaps over the paddock there. I was struck by the slow and leisurely way the bird moved, gliding elegantly with wing tips outstretched like fingers. It seemed to be completely at one with itself, doing the one thing it was always meant to do, flying with the thermals, the breeze, being at one with flight.

On the oval was a story that prompted me to try to capture the whole thing - the men on the oval were also doing the thing they were meant to do. They were at one with the pace, the strength, the beauty of their game. They were beautiful to see, leaping, kicking, tackling. They were poetry in a totally different kind of motion.

They were different, but they were the same. Both things, above me in the sky and in front of me on the oval, they were showing the beauty of Nature, when muscles and practice and talents combine to create something special.

I wanted to write a poem about what I could see, to capture the two things, that were so completely different in some ways but so alike in others. The action in the sky was slow and gentle to the eye, the action on the oval was fast and furious, almost brutal. But both were beautiful.

This is as close as I could get in poetry, I was aiming for a haiku poem that could highlight the juxtapositioned images, eagle and footballers. I couldn't really capture it though, and I knew I'd have to resort to prose to put it all down, which is what this post is all about.

I wanted to have a poem that showed it all, but this is the best I could do :

eagle's slow circles -
footballers frantically
chase the ball

Another thought I wrote down at the time is this one:

During the Mallala A Grade game - a bird of prey circles off to the south east side. The game goes on regardless.

So there you have it, some of my thoughts from yesterday's action, a bird and a game, a fun and exciting day.


john malone said...

for me the haiku isn't quite there but I love the poetry of your prose analysis: it is absolutely beautful, effortless and graceful as that eagle's flight

Carolyn Cordon said...

Well, thank you for that John. The haiku attempt doesn't get anywhere near how it was, the haiku is clunky, the things it's supposed to show were anything but clunky.

When I re-read what I'd written, I must say I was impressed by the writing - it's almost as though someone else wrote it, but they didn't, it was my writing, they were my words. I'm obviously cleverer that I think!

mistakenforarealpoet said...

Agree with JM, Carolyn, lovely prose. You could turn it into a prose poem.

Here's my effort at a haiku based on your prose:

Mallala Magpies
Swoop, turn, kick the ball skyward
Eagle stares from high

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thank you Mike, that's what it's like when the Magpies take to the field! Well, that's how it was yesterday at least. They're having a good year so far, only one loss...
Fingers crossed the good fortune continues!
They're a good club, doing well from Junior Colts up to A Grade, I'm proud of them!

Carolyn Cordon said...

Mike, I'm curious about the term 'prose poem'. I'll look further into the form.

mistakenforarealpoet said...


I was turned onto prose poems by Alex Skovron, who I heard read in Goolwa 2 years ago. I've written several myself. Alex's basically look like just a block of text. No line breaks. Looks like prose. But lots of poetic language, metaphor, some subtle rhymes, beautiful use of language. He writes 'normal' poetry as well. Here's an example of one of his prose poems:


john malone said...

what I liked about the prose was it was effortless: it felt sincere, genuine, inspired whereas the poem was striving for effect: you could see the effort but the result was not the graceful thing you strove for, whereas the prose was --- it's like the taxidermist says :)

Carolyn Cordon said...

Wow, thanks for that link Mike, that's a strong poem for sure! Makes you look more carefully at your bookshelves, doesn't it?

Carolyn Cordon said...

Did you take a look at Mike's link John? Citadel, a fine prose poem. I think you'd love it.

And John, I wish I could fake that genuine inspired sincerity every time, but no...