'Freedom' competition Judge's Report

JUDGE’S REPORT FOR 2017 ADELAIDE PLAINS POETRY COMPETITION – THEME: FREEDOM

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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 28, 2016

Adelaide Plains Poets "Transitions" Poetry Competition 2016 Judge's Report Judge: SB Wright

'Transitions' Adelaide Plains Poets 2016 Poetry competition Judge's Report

Adelaide Plains Poetry Inc
"Transitions" Competition
Judges Report

Judge: SB Wright


Rankings

Open Division

1st place:         Fade Out (poem 57) Damen O'Brien 
2nd place:       raptor (poem 104) Glen R Jones
3rd place:        Change of Heart (poem 96) Rees Campbell

Commendations:

Schoolies (poem 79) Melinda Kallasmae, Bigger on the Inside (poem 98) Jenny Blackford, Wood turning (poem 78) Melinda Kallasmae


Secondary School Division

1st place:        Timeless Despair (poem 2) Alexandria Walker
2nd place:       Under an Army of Clouds (poem 1) Valini Goorha


Primary School Division

1st place:         Pinery (poem 3) Sarah Pettina
2nd place:       Once (poem 2) Ashleigh Dowling




General Comments:

Open division:

The poems submitted this year displayed a wealth of variety and inventiveness, covered subject matter from the comical to the tragically personal.  It was a privilege to read a number of fine poems and personal narratives.  The theme of Transitions was approached directly and indirectly with life changes featuring prominently.  The place winners and highly commended poems excelled not just in their tackling of the theme but in those elements of poetry they chose to promote.


Secondary School Division:

While not as highly subscribed as the open category all entrants were courageous in their attempts to tackle heavy subject matter.  There was plenty evidence here of students using the emotional power of poetry.

Primary School Division:

There was great variety in the poetry, as to be expected considering the different age groups and levels of development.  The place getters though were hard to differentiate, displaying skill and judgement that could have seen them compete in the Secondary School Division.




Commentary on winners:

Open Division:

The Fade Out :

From the outset it’s the music of this poem that begins to seduce you.  There’s a definite iambic rhythm, with enough variation in feet and line length for it to form a strong under current rather than a steady trot. 

This is further complemented by repetition and reversal of phrases (especially in the first stanza and the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth) and subtle and sparingly placed internal rhyme.  The effect is one of subtle echo or melody which I find aligns exceptionally well with the content.

The rhetoric, the logical structure and unfolding of the poem is again a well articulated use of the theme.  There were other poems that were far more subtle in their construction around the theme of “Transition” and there were others that were more blatant. 

What the poet achieved here was a good balance, using Transition in both the literal and metaphoric sense. Surrounding the keyword with other film terminology that supports the extended metaphor made it settle into the poem far better than if it had focussed entirely on Transition.

The imagery was an enticing mix of staple images of natural transitions or nature transitions and the aligning of film terminology with our internal psychology of self was engaging both on an intellectual and emotional level.


Secondary School Division

Timeless Despair:

In judging the secondary school division the hardest part was judging excited young poets who were throwing all their learning and talent at the piece. Timeless Despair emerged as clear winner for much the same reasons that the winner in the Open section did. 

The poem presented, was a well rounded piece using a number of poetic elements.  Other poems in this division sported more complicated diction and more formal registers, but fell down in presenting a clear narrative or logical unfolding of the poem’s ideas .  This poem has a simpler diction and a more common register and this aligns with a straightforward narrative.  The end rhymes don’t feel forced or too cliched - indeed the poet displays as good a handle on rhyme as some of those in the open division.

.
Primary School Division:

Pinery:


Not a great deal separates 1st and 2nd place in the primary division.  Pinery, though displayed a clearer sense of the theme, managed seven end rhyming couplets  and gave this reader a rounded and complete movement of both idea and poem.  But above all there was a sense of it being firmly bedded in lived experience, beautifully articulated.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Gawler Festival of Words 2016

The Adelaide Plains Poets writing group is again going to hold the Festival of Words in July. The Gawler event, the inaugural event, was successful and we are working hard to make the 2016 event even better! We've begun our first crowdfunding campaign, and are hoping many other people who love words will get involved and help us!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/winged-pods-anthology-of-hope-pinery-fire--2/x/4297025#

We are using indiegogo to raise some more funds, so that we have lots of money to give to the people who have been affected by these terrible fires. I know some of these people, and I very much hope this anthology may bring them some hope for a better future.

The anthology will contain creative writing from a broad range of situations and ages, and as the editor I am both humbled and delighted with the works I have seen so far.

Bad things happen, yes, but events like these fires have brought out the good in many, many people.Their personal stories about how the Pinery Fires affected them are in this anthology, covering the bad things at the beginning, to the more hopeful dreams for the future, and all of the hard work in between.

Puss in Boots is helping us with our fundraising efforts, and having him involved can bring a smile to most faces, regardless of their age.