Judges' Report on the 2013 Winners

5-7 Years – Judge:  Isabelle Kearsley

1st Place: The Under Water City by Mya Smith
Imaginative word pictures are presented in rhyming couplets.

2nd Place:  The Frilled Neck Lizard by Henry Blackledge
A factual poem in rhyming couplets, yet with a personal touch.

3rd Place:  Summer by Ella Tronc
A series of rhyming couplets (though a line seems to be missing in the middle) with a final resolution.

Highly Commended: I Want to be a Palaeontologist by Ethan Peno
Two long rhyming couplets detail activities, three short rhyming couplets give reasons. Deliberate conclusion.

Highly Commended: When I Grow Up by Chloe Goodingham
The last line is the clincher, bringing it all together.

Highly Commended: Koalas by Carmen Oxenford
A factual, but personalised, poem made up of rhyming couplets.

Highly Commended: Tim Tams by Jessica Gray
Rhyming couplets promote the icon we all love and enjoy.

Highly Commended: The Platypus and the Croc by Harrison Rapmund
Good rhyming in fanciful, rhythmic couplets.

Highly Commended: Our Trip to Girraween by Kailani Clifton
A trip described in rhyming couplets.


8-10 Years – Judge:  Isabelle Kearsley

1st Place: Tiny Seed by Sarah Bown
In rhythmic, rhyming couplets, the poet personalises the birth and development of a plant. Slightly marred by a faltering near the end.

2nd Place: The Wolves are Howling by Hannah Johnston
The young poet has learned to cope with a health problem, likening it to howling wolves. The repetition of the first verse as the conclusion strengthens the poem's impact.

3rd Place: Little Brothers by Grace Elizabeth Finlay
Short lines and repetition help to present the idea of frustration, culminating in the final word.

Highly Commended: Aussie Nature by William Rea
A prose poem whose long lines present clear word pictures of outback Australia.

Highly Commended: Family Tree by Astrid Cahill
An unusual idea, which contains rhyming couplets, each line a pair of complimentary ideas.

Highly Commended: The Turtle Race by Aedyn Duffy
Short, unrhymed lines give dramatic effect to the poet's personal response to a natural phenomenon.

Highly Commended: Painting Peace by Grace Adelaide Finlay
Well-sustained rhyme and rhythm. Change from first person to second is distracting.

Highly Commended: Lucas by Riley Granzien
A good attempt at rhyme and rhythm.

Highly Commended: No Grow by Jaxan Rackley
Short lines and repetition emphasise the defiance, with a sudden reversal of opinion.

Highly Commended: Books by Sunny Thomas
A serious poem with a clear beginning, middle and end. Well-sustained rhyming couplets.

Highly Commended: Barbie by Isabella Weise
A list poem, of preparations for an exciting event, presented in short lines.

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11-13 Years – Judge: Josh Donellan

1st Place:  Evangeline by Grace Nakamura
This poem knocked me to the floor. The author has told a beautiful, melancholy story of loneliness and longing in just a handful of words. Vaguely reminiscent of PH Harvey's lyricism, there is a whole world contained within these few verses. Formidable talent for such a young age.

2nd Place: Open Grave by Isabella Sheehan
These three tiny lines are masterfully succinct and gut wrenchingly sad. The ability to say so much in just a few words is a skill that many poets strive for but few attain. This poem haunted me for days.

3rd Place: The Bushfire Brumbies by Eva Marsh
The use of language here is nothing short of extraordinary, and the supernatural creatures in this poem are the kind of thing Edgar Allen Poe might have come up with if he'd been born in Australia. This is a superb piece that utilises an impressive array of poetic techniques to tell a story filled with roaring, kaleidoscopic colour.

Highly Commended: The Ode of a Ghost by Erin Burge
A melancholy, gothic piece that is sharp, succinct and unforgettable.

Highly Commended: War by Isabella Sheehan
The image of the devil whispering into the soldier's ear is my favourite part of this rumination on the evils of war. It is a truly chilling and suspenseful poem that encapsulates the horrors of human conflict.

Highly Commended: Then Night by Munashe Mutambi
Like all good poetry, this poem makes you feel as if you are swept up in the world of the author. I could very nearly taste the night air on my tongue as I read this.

Highly Commended: I Pick Up the Stick by Eddie Newman
I was really struck by the vocabulary displayed in this beguilingly ambiguous poem. The poet uses their words like a paintbrush depicting an abstract landscape.

Highly Commended: The Book of Forgotten Words by Samantha George
A very sweet meditation on the wondrous worlds contained within the pages of forgotten books.

Highly Commended: Dog Bath Blues by Peta Vanlieshout
I really enjoyed this wonderfully silly collection of rhyming couplets. Kids are often better than adults at telling backyard stories like this, and I loved reading about each of the mishaps endured in this little tale of domestic shenanigans.

Highly Commended: Horses by Emma-Jane Emms
I think 'Ponery ponies poetry poems' might be one of my all time favourite first lines in a poem. This is an excellent nonsense poem with a very playful use of language. Great fun.

Highly Commended: Jelly by Emma-Jane Emms
Wonderful use of rhyme and rhythm. 'Jelly' is the poetic equivalent of a belly flop into the pool on a hot summer's day. Loved it.

Highly Commended: Hey Echidna by Harmony Schloss
A great little Australiana piece that oozes fun and friendliness. Excellent rhythm and rhyme.

Highly Commended: Soup by Emma-Jane Emms
This poem made me hungry. I could nearly smell the spices as I read it, superb descriptions of sights, smells, sounds and textures.

14-15 Years – Judge: David Stavanger

1st Place:  The Wolf Understood by Emma Hartley
Short lines and simple imagery underpin this subtle urban retelling of a childhood myth which catches the reader in its tender jaw from the opening breath.

2nd Place:   And It's Alice by Emma Hartley
The intriguing title is the hook before this very short rhetorical piece leaves you wanting to read it again for traces of the rabbit hole.

3rd Place:  The River by Tamara Livingstone
Sprinkled with antiquated phrases, strong rhyme scheme, lyrical as if sung by the river itself, this poem quickly generates a sense of playfulness and ancient folklore.

Highly Commended:  Women of Arachne by Emma Hartley
Inverted lines, declarative voice, and natural rhyme create a poem that never feels forced despite the choice of form.

Highly Commended:  Suburban Storm by Rosie McCrossin
Interesting personification of nature, great rush of images, and changing rhythms.

Highly Commended:  Snail by Elena Bonetto
Strong active voice and movement, dense language and good alliteration.

Highly Commended: Time by Shayla Parsons
Great use of personification and sustained wistful tone.

Highly Commended: Tents and Campfires by Miriam Waldron
Impressive call & response piece using vivid imagery to delve into darker themes.

Highly Commended: Untitled by Stevie Tucker
Very personal & plaintive ode to family lost.

Highly Commended: Things by Paige Spence
Great shape and distilled imagery with a nice twist at the end.

Highly Commended: School Lessons by Arrabella Armstrong
Short satire with death making a cameo in the classroom.

16-17 Years – Judge: David Stavanger

1st Place: No Time for Skipping Stones by Christine Collier
The opening couplet sets an immediate romanticism that is sustained throughout. It's innate tidal rhythm, figurative language of yearning and mature philosophical musings imbibe the reader with a sense of hope and the textured truths of the human heart.
2nd  Place: Children in Kansas Know What to Do by Siobhan Deacon
This piece is both instructive and unsettling in its use of "they", omnipresent throughout, while the reader is sat in the everyday menace of the imagery & repetition being revealed. Great stand alone lines and closing line.

3rd Place:  Red Sky in the Morning by Serena Green  
Free verse piece that flows between concrete and surrealist imagery while leaving the reader with an undeniable sense of the politics of time & progress.

Highly Commended:  A Forgotten Persia by Emily Byrne  
Great alliteration, sensory detail and stand alone lines in this poem exploring the idea of cultural memory and nature.

Highly Commended:  Verlang by Reinette Roux  
Intriguing phrasing and pairing of words set against stanzas of self-disclosure.
Highly Commended:  Warmth by Rosaleen Cooney
Short, does what it needs to do and leaves the reader with a sensory hit.

Highly Commended:  Descendant by Samantha Brenz-Verca  
Strong narrative piece that explores different tenses, sitting between the sentimental & poetic.
Highly Commended:  Design by Joshua Murray
Some strong imagery and playful use of form on the page.

Highly Commended:  Black Coffee for Breakfast? by Ellie Burton  
Distinct lines like "bleating like a foghorn", strong figurative language and a sense of irony.
Highly Commended:  Shades of Red, White and Grey by Sean Adcock
Carries a sense of the absurd, wordplay and good use of repetition.

Highly Commended:  Express Yourself by Hania Syed
Nice internal rhyme and playful sense of parody. A fun piece.

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Open Age - Bush Poetry –  Judge: Noel Stallard

1st Place: Waiting by Catherine Lee
The author has met the criteria of the Bush Poetry genre with regards consistent metre, accurate rhyme and Australian content. A theme of "waiting" is introduced, developed and brought to a suitable conclusion. The use of relevant, forceful adjectives and adverbs heighten the impact of the imagery described. The deliberate change of metre in the final three verses of each stanza is a creative technique that highlights the pathos experienced by the wife.

2nd Place: A Feather in a Locket by Robyn Sykes
Again the author demonstrates a firm grasp of the genre with its consistent metre and accurate rhyme. This author is able to vividly describe scenes with metaphors, adjectives and adverbs that grab the attention of the reader. Images like, "Brief-case bearing bankers, steel eyes stapled to the road" and "tattooed terrors starch my body as my sins blare blazing red".

3rd Place:  A Victim of War by Tom McIlveen
The stark contrast between the war-life in Vietnam and the natural beauty of the Australian-way in the bush, is one of the strengths in the imagery this poet conveys. Each contrasting image is given with strong verbs, adjectives and adverbs that demand the reader's attention.

Highly Commended: A Little Silver Locket by Allan Goode
This is a well-structured poem with consistent metre and accurate rhyme. The significance of the little silver locket is revealed gradually and relevantly as the poem progresses. The imagery is interesting and holds the attention of the reader.

Highly Commended: Aussies by Bessie Jennings
The poet shows a clear understanding of consistent metre and accurate rhyme. The use of Direct Speech is a relevant and forceful contrast that heightens the personality of the particular character. Perhaps some of the pathos regarding the plight of Bill was lost due to the delay in explaining why he was not contributing to the cause.

Highly Commended: The Jumbuck Drama Club by Shelley Hansen
Good understanding of metre and rhyme. Interesting theme and well developed. Imagery tends to be familiar rather than innovative. The suggestion is to use more forceful adjectives, adverbs and metaphors that are relevant to the details being described.

Highly Commended: Said You Could Fly by Arthur Green
Written well with consistent metre and accurate rhyme. Not sure why the writer insisted on a "happy ending" when he had done so well building up the suspense of the challenge to fly. The waking up from a dream was a disappointing anti-climax.

Highly Commended:  Two Wars by Yvonne Harper
The theme of the effect of war in the life of a returned soldier and his family is well developed. The imagery tends to be familiar and would have benefitted by the use of relevant adjectives, adverbs and metaphors.

Open Age - Other Poetry - Judge:  Ynes Sanz

1st Place: Slow Train Coming by John Egan
In this work, deceptively simple language is turned to devastating effect. Verbs reinforce images of a train, a 'fat-boilered slug', heaving its way towards us, the pace mirrored in the words. From the first line, we feel the dread: things will end badly.

2nd Place: The Ghost of Bennelong by Spencer Ratcliff
Not only a skilfully written narrative, this complex poem's appeal lies in the character study of the main actors in this story, as Bennelong is allowed to tell his story out of his own mouth. The resulting rich and intimate account also succeeds as an eye-opening allegory about white history in Australia.

3rd Place: Skin by David Campbell
This beautifully-paced and restrained poem lets us experience this country with fresh eyes, as if for the first time. It might be the words of one young woman writing to her faraway mother in colonial times but it is also resonant with more universal 'newcomer' experiences.

Highly Commended: Meditations on Walking (after reading the rules) by Chris Armstrong
Reflections on this journey across an external and internal landscape speak clearly to the reader so that we are carried along too.

Highly Commended: The Hazards by Vanessa Page
A spare poem, filled with silences, among some captivating nightscapes.

Highly Commended: Twenty-Four Varieties of Flowers by Rory Hudson
This poem is moving because of its simplicity. It is paced so the reader must pause and really see these few significant details.

Highly Commended: Opening Night by John Egan
A great moment in music and the poet takes us right there, so we almost believe we shared it.

Highly Commended: Lewin's Honeyeater by Brett Dionysius
Like a miniature in oils, this poem encapsulates the moment when a native bird seems to welcome a child into its habitat.

Highly Commended: Lovesong of the International Management Consultant by Roger Vickery
Forensic satire on today's commercial value systems, Rapid-fire wit and scandalously slick rhymes.

Highly Commended: The Voice of Bunjil by Spencer Ratcliff
Pleasingly chant-like rhythm in this celebration of all creation, building to a song of mourning and renewal.

Highly Commended: Embarkation – 1914 by Sue Bailey
The memory of a soldier father's farewell, freed of sentimentality and given poignant directness by being told through the eyes of a child.

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Open Age - Local Poets - Judge:  Ynes Sanz

1st Place: Jacaranda Street by Damen O'Brien
This is an accomplished and complex piece of writing. Well-crafted, with an unforced rhyme-scheme, it employs everyday words in vibrant description and incisive social comment. The jacaranda trees become poetic symbols of circumstance and change in this street.

2nd Place: Eight Embraces by Julie Lynch
A series of word-pictures leap off the page to build an endearing mosaic of the small moments that make an ordinary day extraordinary.

3rd Place: Robowars at the "Swich" by Scott Thouard
Play and the language of games are brought right up to date in this unusual free verse. The writing is well-cadenced and the words skilfully chosen for both meaning and sound.

Highly Commended: Bomb by Brett Dionysius
The chaotic workings of a bomb and the bomb-makers' minds are made real for us at unbearably close quarters. Beautiful and sensitive.

Highly Commended: Little Brisbane by Caitlin Prouatt
'Much in little' in the poetic device employed and the unusual perspective of a city-in-miniature this poem gives us.

Highly Commended: The Elixir by Damen O'Brien
Great left-field subject matter commands the attention in this well cadenced and structured piece of free-verse futurist story telling.

Highly Commended: Fishing by Maureen Clifford
An understated interior monologue handles rhythm and rhyme well without spoiling the charming natural tone.

Chairperson’s Encouragement Awards

5-17 Years: Black Coffee for Breakfast? by Ellie Burton
Distinct lines like "bleating like a foghorn", strong figurative language and a sense of irony.

Open Age: Dad is an Alcholic by Melanie Gilchrist
This poem in the language of a child is a heart-breaking account of the impact alcohol can have on a child's life. Written by a thoughtful youngster, or perhaps an empathetic adult, the direct language and simple rhymes allow the facts to speak. The last line is a winner!

Ipswich Theme Awards

5-17 Years: A Walk through Ipswich by Majella Pearl
The poet takes us on a journey across numerous landmarks of Ipswich, historical and contemporary, using imagery to bring the City's people and places to life. The poem conveys a sense of pride and concludes with the strong message of a positive future for our City.

Open Age: The Legacy Lives On by Brenda Joy  
This is a worthy winner of this section of the Ipswich Poetry Feast as the writer has used the theme of the Babies of Walloon as the central idea of the poem. The poet demonstrates good control of both metre and rhyme and uses interesting imagery in the development of her theme.

Mentorship Award

The Elixir by Damen O'Brien
Great left-field subject matter holds the attention in this well cadenced and structured free-verse piece. An intriguing poem.

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