Friday, December 6, 2013

What is your Grand Passion?

If you're a poet, and you like competing for money, why not pen a poem about your passion, and enter the Poetry competition being run by Adelaide Plains Poets? There is one section for adults and two for students - Primary school student, or Secondary school student.

The entry form and guidelines are here on this blog, and the closing date isn't here yet, but is not that long after Christmas - 24 January. That means if you get writing your poem now, you'll have plenty of time to whizz it off to the competition secretary before entries close!

This competition is for Australians only, so sorry, if you don't come from this great southern land!

Have a Merry Christmas, and don't forget to enter the competition - the prizes are pretty good, if you ask me!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Passion

It has been brought to my attention that those using a hand held devise rather than a desk top computer may not be able to read or access the entry form or guidelines for our new poetry competition. Therefore, here they are, feel free to cut and paste, and share them with others!



‘My Passion’

1st, 2nd & 3rd cash prizes, plus Highly Commended & Commended certificates as awarded by judge. Total prize pool over $750



  • Work entered in this competition must be original, in English, unpublished and not have won a prize in any other competition. Authors retain copyright.
  • Theme ‘My Passion’
  • Poems entered must in some way refer to the theme
  • Open Class - poets 18 years & older
  • Junior classes –
    • Primary School student (one poem only)
    • Secondary School student (one poem only)
  • To maintain anonymity, entrant’s name should appear on entry form only, not on poems. Entry forms are to include entrant’s name, address, phone number, titles of poems submitted.
  • Entries should be typed where possible, on one side of paper only, one poem to a page
  • Poems to be no longer than 60 lines
  • Entry fees: Open class $5.00 per poem entered
            Junior classes - no entry fee, only one poem per student
  • Cheques/money orders to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc
  • Entries to: Competition Secretary, 1594 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
  • Entries to be received by close of business 24 January 2014 – entries received after this date will not be considered for the competition.
  • Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a SSAE

For further details contact:
Ms C Cordon (08) 85272412; 0418 806 490;;

With assistance from      5th element unearthed


‘My Passion’





Title of poem/s - ……………………………………………………..
(use back of page for additional entries)

Entrants’ names or other details must not appear on poems

Declaration by author: I agree to comply with the Entry Guidelines and declare that the written work submitted in my name is my own original work and has not been copied in part, or in full, from any other source.

Author’s signature……………………………………………………...
Date of birth (if entering junior section) ………………………….……….…..
Name of school (if entering junior section) …………………………………….



Cheques/money orders to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc, and sent with entries to Competition Secretary, 1594 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a stamped self-addressed envelope, and a written request.

            With assistance from       5th element unearthed

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Poetry Competition Adelaide Plains Poets

So, today is the day for the Adelaide Plains Poets annual Poetry Competition to go out into the world. The entry form and guidelines are written and are here on this blog. They will be sent out to writing centres and groups around Australia over the next weeks. 

The theme for this competition came in part from several different people. The initial idea that led to the theme of 'My Passion', came from an idea from a wanna be politician. This person suggested 'Sport' as a theme. This was rejected as being too narrow, and not interesting enough to poets. We pride ourselves on having themes for our competitions that are broad enough to appeal to creative people with amazing ideas!

On thinking further on the theme though, and having listened to the heartfelt way the proposer spoke of his passion for his particular sport, the idea of passion crept into the possible mix for the theme for this competition. Creative people are passionate people, with passions for life, for words, for Nature, for life!

So, another conversation, this time with the lovely person involved in supporting our competition for the 2012/2013 year. We spoke of Passion, our passions for life, and so the idea of 'My Passion' came into being, with the promise of support again from the 5th Element Unearthed, if 'My Passion' becomes the theme for the 2013/2014 competition.

This idea was put to members of the Adelaide Plains Chapter and Verse group, and held to be a fine idea, and so the decision was made! 

If you have a grand passion in your life and you want to share it with the world, put pen to paper and write it down, then send your entry in! The entry form and guidelines are on the right hand side of this page, copy and paste as required. I'll be waiting for your entry/ies!

Many thanks to Tom and Maxine from 5th element unearthed, I love the passion you both put into your lives! (I love your sublime extra virgin olive oil too, by the way!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A big oops

I've just accidentally deleted lots of comments on this blog. If you've left a comment here and it's disappeared, please feel free to post it here again. Sorry!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

NaWriPoMo - I'm doing this, are you doing it too?

For many people, April is National Poetry Month. It happens in America, but others around the world get involved too. I've signed up too, and so have quite a few of my poet friends. So what am I talking about? What have we signed up to do?

Well, we've joined NaWriPoMo - National Write Poem Month, where we will endeavour to write a poem every single day for the month of April. I'm posting my poems to another blog (when I get the right blog, it's this one here I've gotten a little mixed up though and posted two of the poems to another of my blogs - this one here I'm hoping I've got my head screwed on right now, and I won't get mixed up like that again!

I'm enjoying this month, having to write a new poem every day is a joy, not a chore. In fact, today I wrote the poem quite early in the day, and I've just written another one - two poems in one day, and not rubbish poems either.

What I'll do perhaps is just hold onto this afternoon's poem, and post it the the Garden Dog blog tomorrow. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow, and I mightn't have time spare for poem writing. I have noticed though, that poems are creeping up on me and appearing much more easily than at other times.

I'm very much enjoying this month of poetry, and I hope lots of others out there are enjoying it too!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Elements" Poetry competition results

Adelaide Plains Poetry Competition, 2012/13

This was a pleasurable competition to judge, and most entrants had tried really hard to address the theme of The Elements.  Some poets, especially young poets, came at the subject matter quite tangentially and maybe there were some misconceptions about what the elements describe, but most made a very good attempt at least to involve some reference to Earth Fire Air or Water, including a large number of bushfire poems.  Only one poet utilized the Table of Elements, but more of that later.

There were eight entries at Primary level, but The Australian Way (Emily Zdanowicz) stood out, a poem about life on the land.  Good rhyme and rhythm and telling a popular narrative of drought and bush spirit:  First Prize.  The Second placegetter, A New Dawn (Brynnie Rafe) is a competent attempt at free verse, with good rhythm; a bit over-dramatic  -  more “opera” than “musical!”  Summer Heat (Elizabeth Harley) was Commended.

There were only two entries at Secondary level, neither particularly polished, but to be encouraged with Commended certificates: Jane Zdanowicz and Ashleigh Mounsen.

65 entries into the adult open section led to a shortlist of about a dozen.  An overemphasis on rhyme, sometimes extremely clich├ęd and often at the expense of rhythm and interest, let some poets down. It struck me that many poets in this open section had probably not read aloud to themselves their own poems.  If you are going to pick up mistakes in rhythm you can only do it aloud to yourself  -  and not a mutter: you really need to declaim your poems to hear if they work.

The shortlist was full of interest.  Some poems were a bit laboured, as if the writers had found the theme quite difficult to address adequately.  Some concrete poems were clever, one marred only by an unfortunate last line.

I commended Aftermath (David Campbell) as one of the better bushfire poems, of which there were many.  The judge lived through the Ash Wednesday bushfires on the farm in the Adelaide Hills and has not been able to write poetry about that day and its aftermath.  David has managed to catch the ongoing psychological damage well.  Practised and poignant bush poetry.

Highly Commended to Sonnet to the Wind (Shelley Hanson) and Liquid Sculptures (Anna Jacobson), this latter an effective concrete poem, looking good on the page as well as pleasing to the ear.

I was never in any doubt about the winning poets, my only problem was choosing a single first prize winner.  Such a brilliant light touch from Judy Ferguson with Earth Air Fire Water.  Outstanding in its simplicity, everything pared down to only the essence.  The poem about Marie Curie, Lady of the Elements, (Shelley Hanson) was so good and a really clever take on the theme.  A good narrative poem, good rhyme and rhythm, good storyline, neat stanzas, the whole poem all of a piece.  Good work.  These two poets were so far ahead of the field that a shared first prize was the only option.

Thank you for allowing me to share your work.  It is great to see Australian poets working hard at this artform.  Well done everybody and never give up!

Dr Ray Tyndale

I've done it before, I can do it again

I was at the Gawler Poetry Reading yesterday, and one of the poets mentioned the task of writing a poem every day, for all of April. I'd read about that on Facebook previously, and had said that I'd give it a go. 

Yesterday at the Reading, it still deemed like a thing I could easily do. Now though, now that April has actually begun I'm wondering . . . I have actually committed to writing a new poem every day in a month. That was January back in 2011, I think.

That challenge went well enough - I actually ended up writing more than one poem every day. Some of the poems were actually not bad, too, if I do say so myself. Life seems more crowded somehow now though, and I'm wondering - can I really do this?

I suspect that if I quit wondering and start writing, I can meet this challenge. Is anyone else interested in facing this challenge? I know my dear friend Nigel has said he'll do it. Who else is game enough to do it?

I've written my poem for the 1st of April, and I've posted it, and will post all of the other poems I write for April, here

Thursday, March 14, 2013

UFOs and Poetry

A friend of mine has given me a bit of a challenge, in response to a comment I left on his blog. The friend is John Malone, an Adelaide poet and writer. I'd written about an experience that happened many, years ago, when I was a teenager.

This is how I described it on John's blog: 
'Re the other subject, I’ve certainly seen a UFO. It was way back when I was a teenager. My brothers and their mates and I were hanging around on our front lawn after school one afternoon, when one of us saw something. It was a light off to the south-east, just above the height of the hills. It moved steadily along, then disappeared. It could have been a helicopter, but certainly not a plane. We never heard anything about any other sightings of it, and I think we just wrote it off as ‘one of those weird things that happen’.
When you’re young there are lots of weird things that just happen. You don’t have to do anything about them, they just happen. Then the next day school happens again, and you forget about it. This UFO, while ignored for the most part, has never been forgotten, not by me anyway. I hold onto it as something slightly mysterious but harmless, that happened. A slightly interesting thing…'
I can still remember this incident, even though it was such a long time ago. The challenge, if that's what it was (it may have just been an idle comment), was to write a poem about this incident - John indicated he'd be interested in seeing the resulting poem.
So, I'm thinking about it. I've certainly written poems about all kinds of things. I recently wrote 15 poems in response to prompts from a publisher, Slush Pile, and when I looked at the list, I wondered if I could perform the task. This was a project of the Slush Pile editor, Matt Potter, and one he hoped would turn out well.
Matt contacted five poets he knew through his work with Slush Pile, and asked them to take part in the project. This project certainly worked, and there is now a fine book, 'Versus' as a result. The poets all took the prompts off in quite different directions, and in a manner of different poetic styles. 
So I feel I've proven my ability to write poems about a range of topics... I just need to get my head into the right space and time, and write that poem!
Will this become my first ever Science Fiction poem? Only time can tell ...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Answer to the question "What Do You Do?"

In my past this question has been an easy one to answer. When I got my first job, after leaving school, I could proudly say - 'I work at the Australian Taxation Office.' 

I stuck with that organisation until my son was in my tummy, getting ready to enter the world and our lives. Then I could proudly say - 'I'm a mother, glad to be one!'

After that, it's been a little messier. I'm still a proud mother, as well as wife to young Jake's dad. These two jobs will be with me until I die, and I'm thrilled with that situation. I've had some part time and casual jobs since Jake started school, none of which felt like things I could happily spend many years working at. Then a chronic illness arrived, and I moved into the world of living with a disability. My illness, multiple sclerosis has been an interesting learning curve, and I've spent three years getting used to it all, until I will now say, when and if asked, 'I'm on the disability support pension.'

The whole time I've been doing these things, from ATO officer to pensioner, I've been writing. Sometimes I've written short stories, sometimes poetry. I've begun and abandoned several first drafts of novels. It is only in the past few years, though, that I've happily said out loud, when asked what I do, 'I am a writer and poet.'

I've had short stories and poetry awarded and published. I am a writer and poet. I was a writer and poet well before I ever had anything published or awarded. It's taken me a long time to feel I could call myself those two things, even though that's what I've legitimately been for at least thirty years. I write, so I'm a writer. I write poetry, so I'm a poet. 

It seems I'm not the only shy one, sitting at my desk and scribbling or tapping away, hiding from the truth of what I am, a writer and poet. How about your? Do you hide from or cringe away from the fact that you're a writer and/or poet? Face the fact, if your write prose and/or poetry, you are a writer and/or poet. Stand up tall, and take on the terms. Be proud to say clearly and proudly, 'I am a writer!' or 'I am a poet!'

So what about it, are you willing to tell everyone? Please let us know, we're all part of the same game, playing with words and giving them meaning!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Illustrations for my memoir

I am writing a memoir, dealing with my new life, living with multiple sclerosis, MS. The working title, and probable final title of this work is 'Mick, Jane and Me'. I'm writing it in verse, and I'm including poems that are relevant. I'm not an expert in writing narrative in verse, but I'm doing my best to learn. My best help with learning is my mentor, Ray Tyndale. 

Ray is a wonderful person, who has become a friend, and she is a great mentor. Before I began writing my memoir I applied for a grant from the Richard Llewellyn Art and Disability Trust, to pay for a mentor. My application was successful. Ray's name had been mentioned as being a good choice and I'm happy to say I agree, She's been fantastic.

I've written much of my memoir, and I'm working on my third draft (supposed to be anyway). I have some other writing things happening in my life at the moment, so the memoir has taken a back step. Today I saw something that has made me keen to get write back into it though. 

Today I saw some pictures done by Simon Kneebone, who I've asked to do illustrations for my memoir. They're fantastic! Some of them are exactly right for what I've written, and I feel like Simon 'gets' what is needed to liven up the book. So, if I'm going to do justice to these fantastic illustrations, I have to get right back into getting my memoir spruced up and made into something wonderful! 

Thank you so much, Ray and Simon, and everyone else who's helped me with this memoir, from family, to others with MS, friends, fellow writers and the MS Society SA & NT. You've all helped me in many different ways.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I love having my words in books!

Soon, I will have 15 more poems published. The poems were written in response to a request from the editor of Pure Slush.

I was one of five poets selected to be in this collection. We all were required to write a poem for 15 different prompts, focusing on 'Versus'.

This is what the collection will look like, and a little about it all. I'm really looking forward to the book being published, and out there. That will happen soon, by the end of the month, yes, this month! This was all an interesting journey - when I read the 'prompts', I wasn't sure if I could write a poem, for some of them. But I'd said yes, and there was a deadline, so, write I did!

When I have more news about this, I'll pass it on. It will be great to read what the other poets all did with the prompts!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Time for a Mini Post and link!

I've just written a post on one of my other blogs, and because it's relevant to this blog, I have a link to it. So, here it is - if you cruise through the garden and dog stuff, you'll reach the poetry stuff! Here's the link, happy cruising!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Gawler Poets at the Pub for Year

Well, yesterday it was all on! Gawler Poets at the Pub started off with the much loved five word poetry competition and then leaped right into a jingoistic poetry performance from the much love Martin Christmas! Who'd have thought Australia Day celebrations could look like that!

Great work Martin, I love the way you've taken on poetry and shaken it up and swished it with theatrical dust! Well done. I was pleased to be there on the day, assisting in a tiny way to help this performance come to life in front of us at the Prince Albert Hotel!

I think your performance added a little extra to everyone's performances on the day. It wasn't the biggest number of people we've ever had, but all of the people reading their poetry did a fine job with it. It was great to see a new person come along to see what it's all about. I hope she'll be back with us again, maybe reading her own poetry...

And it was lovely to catch up with Colleen Sweeney, one of my dearest poetic friends. It's been a long time but I'm so glad to have you there with us all!

Thanks to everyone who helped make it a great day, and I look forward to seeing you all again next month. Same place, but different time.

Martin Johnson is holding a Fringe event 40ks Out of Gawler. His show starts at our usual time, 2 pm, we're starting two hours earlier - 12 pm, and we'll finish up just before Martin Johnson starts. So if you want to take part in both events, you can! Just let the hotel know beforehand 85221865

I hope to see all of my poet friends there on the day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The poetry competition closes, another competition starts!

Well today I handed the entries received for our 'The Elements' poetry competition to the judge. I hope they poems meet her approval, and she finds winners in there!

I very much enjoyed reading all of the poems entered, and I'm looking forward to learning which of the poems the judge preferred. The winners of this national competition will be announced at the Gawler Poets at the Pub event in March, that is, at the Gawler Prince Albert Hotel, from 2 pm, on Sunday 31st of March.

There's been an added boost to the prize money, from sponsors, so the prizes are even more bountiful than in the past. Many thanks to Tom and Maxine Varcoe of the 5th Element Unearthed Olive Oil. So if you entered this competition, you will find out what the results are in late March. Those who gave me their email address, or who sent an stamped envelope will be sent the results.

The next exciting thing for the Adelaide Plains Poets, is the short story competition. This is a first for Adelaide Plains Poets, and it comes about because there has been a new group formed, within, or in addition to, the poetry. We now look at longer pieces of writing, and include prose, both fiction and non fiction. This new group is called 'Adelaide Plains Chapter and Verse'.

Members of this group meet weekly at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler, on every Thursday, starting at 3.30 and continuing into the afternoon and evening. Sometimes dinner happens, but always writing and talking of writing happens! If you're interested in joining this group, leave a message here!

The group is holding a short story competition - the theme is 'Fairy Tales Twisted Sideways' there is a maximum limit of 2000 words, and entries close on 30 June 2013. Send an email to and entry form and guidelines will be sent.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Year Just Gone

2012 had many, many good and great moments. On thinking about those moments, I can honestly say that most of them involved poetry or poets. I had many amazing Sunday afternoons at the Gawler Poets at the Pub Poetry Readings. The group of poets who come regularly to this event are wonderful, and I'm thrilled to be involved in running this event.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself when I was doing my Community Foodie work, helping Primary School students discover the delights of vegetables, and teaching them about poetry, using vegetables as prompts for their writing. Lots of fun, and it was great to be able to combine my love of teaching creative writing to others, and also helping others make better choices about healthy eating. Vegetable Victory is a triumph of Poetic Vegetables! Vegetable Victory

Other fine moments have been when I've written a new poem, and felt blessed to have been able to pen the words. This happens far more often when I'm writing often, not surprisingly. The more one writes, the more one writes well. I think they go together. 

I don't ever 'Wait for my muse'. Instead I get down there and write, and if I'm lucky, my muse drops by for a visit. I don't think the muse is interested in me if I'm not trying to write well. Do you agree with me on this?

I'd love to read what you think about this idea, please leave a comment.