Judges' Report on the 2012 Winners

5-7 Years – Judge:  Isabelle Kearsley

1st Place: Love you Mom by Dhruvesh Vinai Kumar
A neat, homely little piece which finishes with a special twist which provokes thought (and perhaps twinges of guilt). Look of punctuation suggests breathlessness after hurrying home in the rain, wanting only warmth and comfort.

2nd Place:  My Cup of Tea by Tavish Illingworth
Only four lines, enlivened with inventive metaphors and a smile to complete it.

3rd Place:  House of Don'ts by Tanya Sinha
A series of rhyming couplets (though a line seems to be missing in the middle) with a final resolution.

Highly Commended: Old Mrs. Hop by Dimity Parker
An innovation on a nursery rhyme, rhymed well.

Highly Commended: Little Silly Billy by Tanesha Turner
An innovation on a nursery rhyme, well sustained.

Highly Commended: Cats by Anastasia Brohier
Simple, unrhymed statements that manage to sound poetic. (And so innocent!)

Highly Commended: Going on a Trip by Denbeigh Darnell
Moving from horse to motor transport – what it meant to a child (and to a horse!).

Highly Commended: Binnaburra by Cindy Thomas
Contains a few special phrases.


8-10 Years – Judge:  Isabelle Kearsley

1st Place: Depression by Eddie Newman
The first part of the poem, especially, has the ring of truth, as if the child really suffers from the condition. A spare, stark description of what I imagine depression is like.

2nd Place: Shearing Time by Harrison Browne
The poet is familiar with the battle of the shearing shed. Simple rhythm and rhyme and a large slice of repetition emphasises the unrelenting push to complete the task.

3rd Place: Library by Madeleine Orr
A neat, homely little piece which finishes with the poet’s personal response to books has an impact in this irregular, unrhymed piece.

Highly Commended: The Whispers of Dust by Emma Watson
Original thoughts. Short lines add to the tension.

Highly Commended: The Cheetah by John Patch
The irregularity of the lines, and lack of punctuation, emphasise the cheetah’s waiting, pouncing, killing and feasting.

Highly Commended: Song of the Autumn Breeze by Hannah Vesey
Rhyme, rhythm and the good use of movement words compliment the movement of the breeze.

Highly Commended: Small Journey by Toese Ete
The peaceful picture at the beginning contrasts strongly with the inward feelings of the past.

Highly Commended: Alone by Chelsea Ellis
The setting out emphasises the aloneness of the poet.

Highly Commended: Shadows by Sam Forsythe
A fun poem in which rhyme and graduated print contrast with the smallness of the last line.

Highly Commended: My Mythical Box by Rachel Rea
A senses poem containing alliteration and vivid descriptions.

Highly Commended: The Dragon's Lair by Sophia Lin
A story poem which captures the tension of going to the dragon’s lair.

Highly Commended: Dancer by Grace Newton
The dancer poet shares the tension before and during her dance. 

Highly Commended: The Night Sky by William Rea
Deceptively simple poem about the possibilities of the future, disrupted by the pursuaive future.

Highly Commended: Stage Fright by Joe Xavier
We share the trepidation of a performer’s first show – an undoubted success.

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11-13 Years – Judge: Isabelle Kearsley

1st Place:  Fist Pump Try by Ethan Vince
A vivid description of the action and exhilaration involved in an everyday sport, and the satisfaction of success. Complemented by sustained rhythm and rhyme and the joyful, sharp conclusion.

2nd Place: Eagle by Benjamin Holmes
Rhyme and rhythm and repetition of the opening in the conclusion bring out the impact of the eagle on the poet – identification with it is an inventive idea.

3rd Place: Birth in the Desert by Brynnie Rafe
No words are wasted in this re-creation of the trauma of birth, especially away from the amenities we are used to. Mention of the vast sky and the old midwife bring out the loneliness of the situation. What is the baby’s future?

Highly Commended: That Fantastic, Feline, Feeling by Grace Brockett
Repetition of the title at the end of each of the four verses brings out the cats joy in being a cat.

Highly Commended: The Moonlight Herd by Zoe Brosnan
An original idea presented neatly in rhymed verse.

Highly Commended: Two Worlds by Jaiden DeMaid
Short lines and rhyme add to the impact of a fearful situation with a happy ending.

Highly Commended: Dancing by Nicola Frassetto
Present participles add to the immediacy of the poem. Excellent descriptions.

Highly Commended: Never Too Young by Phoebe Blakey
Regarded this as prose, but certainly with a poetic feeling and a strong impact.

Highly Commended: Without You by Caitlin Romensky
Mature thoughts built around use of a DVD player and a relationship.

Highly Commended: Minotaur by Brynnie Rafe
The minotaur’s unhappy thoughts are emphasised by alliteration and vivid word pictures.

Highly Commended: The Butterfly Fish Girl by Lena van Swinderen
Mysterious, yet satisfying as questions are about awareness.

14-15 Years – Judge: Ross Clark

1st Place:  Impracticalities by Rosie McCrossin
This is a delightful juxtaposition of the poet evoking the particularities around about, and imagining a different world, but one still at a tangent to this one. The phrasing is well handled, and the repetitions are effective.

2nd Place:   Too Old for This Kind of Thing by Georgie Juszczyk
This compact poem meditates on a phrase young people have heard many times in a sharp but charming manner. It is assured but not cocky.

3rd Place:  The Boat People by Kirsty Rowlinson
This is a powerful and empathetic soliloquy, avoiding the political clichés of both sides. It uses repetition and variation very effectively to structure its rhetoric.

Highly Commended:  My Plans for Super Villainy by Elizabeth Waldron
A playful and imaginative tale in well-handled rhyme and rhythm.

Highly Commended:  Black & White Stars by Lucy MacCulloch
Everyday objects transform into objects of wonder and delight. (One more revision would tighten it up).

Highly Commended:  Rainbow by Amelia Jenkins   
The observation of an instant is evoked lightly.

Highly Commended: Goodbye, Old Friend by David Richey-Lowe
The young poet stands in the place of the older men. (Some adjectives could go). 

16-17 Years – Judge: Ross Clark

1st Place: Cathedral Sky by Chloe Hosking
This is a brief and audacious poem, in half rhymed stanzas that lift us in a crescendo of anticipation to the title words in the very last line. It is a nonetheless understated, non-cliched and restrained evocation of love and joy.
2nd  Place: Home by Sarah Merry
This is a delicate but precise riff on the present and the recent past. It employs sure phrasing and short lines, and ends with the title word.

3rd Place:  Today, Too Late by Chloe Hosking 
This is a first-person “if only” meditation, showing several facets of the beloved and giving (always) the positive view. Repetition well-used as a structuring device.

Highly Commended:  Roadside, Waiting by Talia Walker 
A well-observed and carefully evoked situation in understated language.  Is brave enough to leave the story unresolved.

Highly Commended:  The Midnight Shroud by Jeanne Saw 
Two worlds coalesce in a marginalized boy’s mind. Told with a subtle wink of pleasure.
Highly Commended:  6:59am by Tess McPhail
An interesting trope that illustrates a political point. (Could use one more edit).

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Open Age - Bush Poetry –  Judge: Manfred Vijars

1st Place: Your Shout! by Allan Goode
One word to describe this piece would be ‘Impactful’ . The author writes this piece in the first person and successfully uses an economy of words and a simple style. Much is achieved without padding, fillers or embellishments to tell a good story. 

The author pulls the reader in to parallel the subject’s disorientation with great effect.
The approach is creative and original. The vivid descriptions are such that the reader is thrust into the action very quickly. The stanzas are non-predictive and build to the realisation of the event, culminating in an Aussie to Aussie conversation in an extreme circumstance concluding in a typical ‘Aussie’ ending.
In its own way the piece is a timely reminder that we’re still involved in conflict overseas.

2nd Place: Testament Falls by Catherine Lee Clarke
This is another evocative piece dealing with guilt, recrimination and, ultimately destruction – or resolution, depending on your point of view. The author uses great imagery to contrast an internal turmoil against a backdrop of a beautiful bushland setting. The author uses language that is intimately descriptive and draws the reader in from the first stanza. A solid approach coupled with a good choice of metre, driven perhaps by the rhythm in the title makes this piece a captivating read.

3rd Place:  The Rattle of the Knob by Allan Goode
This is an evocative piece dealing with nostalgia and childhood memories. Here the author meanders through their own recollections woven around a picture on the mantle. A well crafted piece with a good use of word pictures.

Highly Commended: Faces She has Worn by Leonie Parker
This is a delightful piece with a well crafted metaphor and excellent use of poetic devices. No doubt Hers is the “Face of Ipswich”.

Highly Commended: The Colour in My Blood by Brenda Joy
This is a great piece using good language and appropriate vernacular. The author is meticulous in the construct of stanzas. The metre is tight and consistent, as is the rhyming pattern.  

Highly Commended: Guilt by David Campbell
An intricate story about recrimination after a devastating event with a hopeful ending/beginning.

Highly Commended: Where Have All the Cattle Gone? by Yvonne Harper
Topical subject, should the land be there for feeding or exploitation. 

Highly Commended:  The Hunt by Catherine Lee Clarke
A rattling yarn about engaging a noble adversary.

Highly Commended: Song of the Water-Lilies by Max Merckenschlager
Babes of Walloon revisited.

Highly Commended: Closure by Brenda Joy
A trip back to one’s childhood home and youth for one final time.

Highly Commended: Pioneer by Catherine Lee Clarke
Contrast in lifestyle and trials endured by one pioneer.

Highly Commended: When You and I were Boys Old Friend by Terry Piggott
Reminiscences and farewell.

Open Age - Other Poetry - Judge:  Ynes Sanz

1st Place: The Golden Shaft by Dennis Jenkinson
A remarkable piece of sustained storytelling, its tone and pace controlled from beginning to end, this narrative ballad engages the reader in a moving story of a dairy farmer's reality. " 'Expand or perish!'/The Government said." The language and message are never cramped by the form. The tragic tale is told with a simple authority, and its emotion restrained, never slipping into sentimentality.

2nd Place: The Small Picture by Caroline Glen
From its first arresting image this poem tells the story, in a gentle voice, of the transition to an alien urban lifestyle "Birds will know when we islanders/have sung our last, most beloved, songs." Metaphors from nature illuminate each stage of the transition.

3rd Place: Fridge by David Stavanger
With wry, subtle humour this poet uses the metaphor of a floating fridge to contain and convey all that the flood has meant to the people of our region. "cannot avoid direct sunlight/releases carbon slowly/into surging brown water". The quirky, emotionally-resolved approach allows a reader to safely confront this still-painful subject.

Highly Commended: Signals by John Egan
Extended metaphor takes us convincingly into an experienced train-driver's universe for a rail journey. Signals flash past as we realise that this unusual journey is bigger than it seems.

Highly Commended: Much by Sue Bailey
A parental legacy is recalled with controlled lightness of touch and magical metaphors in this well-cadenced, subtle piece of free verse about communication.

Highly Commended: The First by Mick Grace
In this well-managed rhyming poem we are shown the richness of an old First Peoples man's life and country, as he reflects in the knowledge that he will soon be called back to join the spirits.

Highly Commended: And Then There Was Egypt by Mocco Wollert
A woman's confrontation with 'the other' via an experience in Egypt is vividly conveyed in fresh language in this striking prose poem.

Highly Commended: Tough Love by Vanessa Page
Restrained and original images and language add to the power and realism of this picture of a Friday night encounter.

Highly Commended: Hand to Heart Combat by Sue Bailey
This piece paints a picture of man who has carried the war back home to his family. It is written with authority, convincing detail and great control.

Highly Commended: An Afternoon with Mistral's Poems by Jena Woodhouse
With cool eloquence this writer pays homage to a Chilean woman poet by conjuring up images of the places that gave her inspiration.

Highly Commended: Visiting the Dying Poet by Brett Dionysius
Creative images stud this long meditation on a visit to a dying man, the tumble of themes and emotions seeming to mirror the narrator's confused emotional response.

Highly Commended: I'll Take You Home Kathleen by Tom McIlveen
This elegy gives us a heartfelt account of a well-loved woman's passing, using form, internal melody and quotations from a well-loved old song.

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Open Age - Local Poetry - Judge:  Ynes Sanz

1st Place: Lucky by Julie Lynch
A well-chosen subject, fresh language, strong metaphors and beautifully-cadenced free verse all contribute to the success of this touching  poem. It tells a well-observed story of an immigrant father's loss with great sensitivity. ..."just once he said it, only once/ "Wrong doctor ...wrong hospital,"
The reader can't help being affected by this family tragedy too.

2nd Place: Sally Owens Rides Out by Vanessa Page
Creative and original imagery  conjures sights, sounds (" you can hear the crunch of a cicada corpse from hoof to ear") and the character of this pioneer woman. Woman and landscape seem to be inextricably linked. The poem has a well-restrained power, never over-stated.

3rd Place: The Switch by Maureen Clifford
One of a number of poems referencing the flood, this one takes a broader view of the town and its people in a kind of triumphant, unsentimental hymn to the city that is Ipswich. "Our city heart is changing face as Ipswich scurries to keep pace" Crane drivers and roosting birds watch over a town flushed with an infectious working-class pride.

Highly Commended: Reflections by Benjamin Michelle
This highly original, witty and surprisingly touching rhyming poem successfully sustains the central idea of a woman, reviewing her life and reliving memories, as she strips back layers of paint from her kitchen cupboards.

Highly Commended: Tallegalla by Vanessa Page
A series of vivid images, in good, fresh, original language, conjure up the brush turkey.

Highly Commended: A Muddy Old River by Leonie Parker
A gentle reminiscence, told in well-chosen metre and rhyme, about the Bremer River and the memories it carries about the days and lives of long ago, when it was 'pristine'.

Highly Commended: Victim of Religion by Andrew Dwyer
An eloquent, philosophical poem that carries reflections on past hurts and disappointments and future hope, on a driving, rap-like rhythm.

Highly Commended: Arrochar by Brett Dionysius
A metaphorical reflection on parallel ageing, the 'rubbing along together', in interesting images, of a man and his house.

Highly Commended: She Speaks by Vuong Pham
This is an enigmatic poem that nevertheless vividly conveys the pleasure of rain and the changes it brings to the natural world.

Highly Commended: Territory by Vanessa Page
An atmospheric poem. Menace in the natural and social environment that is felt by the woman in the verse is made more powerful to the reader because it is left uncertain. 

Highly Commended: Was it a "Proper" Flood? by Howard Kennedy
This lively humorous ballad tells the tale, in vigorous language, of a flood 'by any other name'.

Highly Commended: A Verse of the Outback by John Lambourne
Although a familiar topic in the tradition of bush poetry, this poem has as a pleasing, richly musical, quality, which fits its subject beautifully.

Chairperson’s Encouragement Awards

Open Age: 'N by Bryan Spiller
This appealingly laconic little verse captures a small amount with a bit of a grin. Superficially it is just about a couple of dogs, but on further reading it seems to suggest an interesting observation about our daily lives.

Ipswich Theme: Faces of Ipswich

5-17 Years: A Face of Ipswich by Majella Pearl
The poet has chosen to pay tribute to Bailey Pashley, from first-hand knowledge, it seems. Rhyme and rhythm are used well on a worthy subject.

Open Age: Faces She has Worn by Leonie Parker 
This is a delightful piece with a well crafted metaphor and excellent use of poetic devices. No doubt Hers is the “Face of Ipswich”.

Mentorship Award

Tough Love by Vanessa Page
Restrained and original images and language add to the power and realism of this picture of a Friday night encounter.

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