Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Adelaide Plains Poets 'Truth' Poetry Competition

Adelaide Plains Poets Poetry Competition – Judge’s Report 2018

The winners of this competition were announced during the Adelaide Plains Festival of Words, as the penultimate event of the Festival.The Competition Judge, Alex Robertson, read his report (below). Some of the winning Open Section poets were present and their winning entries were read.

'This year there were nearly 90 entries in the open section and smaller (under 20 each) for the secondary and primary sections. There were a range of formats dealing with the topic with varying degrees of success presenting the theme of Truth.

We had the entry from young and old providing perspectives from aged and some naive experiences… There were perspectives from family violence, prison terms, political and current affairs viewpoints as well as traditional ballad formats. Interestingly, whilst politics featured in a couple of poems, the topic of relationships (family violence, unequal associations and love interests) were high on the agenda with many poems in the open section dealing with those concerns. The entries that piqued the interest of the judge were those that had a tale to tell, were true to form given the format of the sub-genre of poetry, and left a resounding impression after the piece was read. 

For the winners, whilst unique stories to tell featured highly, there was not a discrimination on rhyming verse or older formats.  All of the place getters and highly commended had tried and true devices, imagery and/or other features which set them apart from other entries. Those who didn’t “make the cut” were perhaps a little vague in their description, not being precise enough in their ability to label their content effectively. Sticking to the theme was also a tricky matter, with some entries not showing enough of a direct relationship to tackle the theme of truth in their work. A minor situation for some authors didn’t suitably break up their content into different stanzas.

The primary section had a clear winner, with content talking about a leader, a highly descriptive piece, revealing the identity in the final lines.  Second place recipient spoke of a lion’s truthfulness, using imagery to personify this big cat’s traits. Third place drew on personal experience, looking upon reflection – a moment of indecision and black thoughts as opposed to the brightness and colour of a normal personality. 

The secondary section drew a complexity of emotions. The first-place getter looked at friendship as an issue where in today’s society it is difficult to do. The second place looked at a brief but effective poem, considering a proposal. The third winning entry considered emotion as a battleground in the theme of war.

The Open section had one outstanding piece that showed the bleak but necessary topic of understanding family violence. This was a deep understanding on a very complex issue. Second place somewhat shared the domestic theme of first place but put it into the view of first person, considering the issue of stolen children from a child’s perspective. The winner of third place had a jovial tale of whether a grandfather told the truth in a tale of rhyming verse, allowing reflection at the end of the poem.

All in all, there were tales and truths to be told, many effectively done on a range of topics. It is pleasing to see that the standard set was very high, especially in the open section. The theme was a worthy one, allowing personal experience and imagination to flow and give the judge much to think about in a Twenty-first Century setting. 

Congratulations to all who entered and for those who didn’t place, there is always next year.'

Winning Poem Open Section Adelaide Plains Poets 'Truth'

Pulling Strings by Cathy Hinder
His circular conversations, a word salad ensemble,
a deliberately designed instrument of concussion to
an abused, bruised mind, as it slowly implodes,
diminishing the ability to focus, or foster self-worth.
Manipulated and controlled,
independent thinking insidiously erased by
covertly pulling strings,
spinning an alternate distorted version of reality.
Unfathomable, akin to psychological pain on steroids.
Cunning lies, shaming, blaming,
intuition rendered redundant,
his twisted truth eroding her fragile core.
Tip-toeing through hair triggered landmines,
aware, always anticipating
the next round, the inevitable explosion
of toxic words, warfare and inexplicable terror.
The last shreds of sanity collapse
as another shattered woman
slips silently into statistical oblivion ...
collateral damage from a private war at home.
Sensational news headlines, broadcasting crimes of passion.
Commercial interests embellish, sexualize and distort facts.
An audience of self-appointed judges and jurors, aghast,
“Why didn’t she just leave”?
Those asking that brutal question
uninformed, uneducated, unwilling to accept the truth,
seek to blame the victim,
“It must be her fault”.
The defendant smirks, entitled, triumphant,
deflects responsibility, holds no accountability,
a player winning a game ...
leaving no whisper of forensic evidence.
The truth, adjourned in an empty Courtroom,
awaits verdict, seeking justice while
details are dissected amongst the chosen few
on a deadly yet invisible crime, not one of them previously knew