Judges' Report on the 2014 Winners

5-7 Years – Judge: David Stavanger

1st Place: Night Time by Abby Jennings
Very evocative poem filled with intimate similes, personal and everyday sensory and concrete imagery, that places the reader inside a child’s experience of night as both frightening and a source of comfort. Beautiful!

2nd Place:  Something Red by Alex Milne
This poem is filled with original and, at times, startling absurdist humour – “his head exploded/he needed a head transplant” – contrasted with concrete imagery such as cans of coke and capsicums. Nice punch line to the narrative at the end too. Well Done!

3rd Place:  Running by Bastion Wright
Captures the experience of movement in twenty short, sharp and fast punchy lines relying on clever repetition interspersed with internal dialogue and sensory body descriptions, such as “fresh mouth” and “heart pumping”. Great shape on page, too. Congrats.

Highly Commended: You Might… by Jarryn Emms
Absurdist silliness with no apologies. Clever. Like it!

Highly Commended: The Desert by Chloe Goodingham
First person poem that does well trying to capture an arid climate and the feeling of nowhere to hide. “Dead trees. No leaves” best line.

Highly Commended: The Beach by Olivia Weise
Active veiled poem about being at the beach, nice imagery and sentimental/joyous tone.

Highly Commended: The Great White Bite by Jarryn Emms
Aahh! Sharks! Each line short and sharp like a Great White’s teeth. Surprisingly funny in the middle. Well done!

8-10 Years –Judge: David Stavanger

1st Place: The Sea by Cooper Whelan
Grabs you from the first line, “the sea is a grave for boats”, which leads to a tidal repetition and later a clever inversion of this line at the end. In between there are distinct similes, alliteration and active use of sounds and adjectives. Tightly wrought. Congratulations. Captain, my Captain!

2nd Place: Minecraft by Sophie Horner
This may be the world’s first Minecraft poem. Stood out immediately for its everyday content and point of view, placing you both within the poem and the game. Great sensory detail throughout, great (unintended?) black humour. ”Do not go into the lava or you die”, strong shape. Original instructional poem.

3rd Place: Netball by Cadence Creighton-Jay
This short poem does its job then gets off the court. Opens with a very original simile “like a helicopter the player throws” then backs up with another one in the 2nd line. Creates staccato rhythm of a live game through short/long sentences. Effective poem, well done. Score 3 – 1.

Highly Commended: Forest by Gemma Nicol
Very original piece that alludes to the jungle of high school through images of nature. Well done!

Highly Commended: The Junior Girls’ Toilets by Grace Finlay
Almost a sound poem at times, puts you right in the toilet. Great use of repetition and great end to the narrative.

Highly Commended: Sunset Dragon by Alycia Muchiri
Fantastical nature poem, short with great mythic allusions, strong 1st line, good sensory description too.

Highly Commended: White Tiger by Emily Sopar
Series of vivid sensory lines and similes about a tiger. Well done!

Highly Commended: Jacaranda by Ellie Richter
Short form/haiku about Jacarandas and sleep, subtle personification in last line. Beautiful.

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11-13 Years – Judge: Josh Donellan

1st Place: Happy Holidays! by Charlee Sutherland
This was a really funny poem, and funny is a lot harder than most people realise. Excellent rhythm and rhyming, this poem would work particularly well as a performance piece. I just hope it’s not based on a true story!

2nd Place: Crows by Tiriei Kamide
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: Stream by Hannah Vesey
A very immersive piece of nature poetry. The reader is really drawn into the scene depicted with the lyrical use of language.

Highly Commended: World by Kiara Bell
Short, thoughtful and beautiful. Everything a haiku should be.

Highly Commended: Home by Leisl Lucerne-Knight
Surprisingly complex structure and use of metaphor for such a young writer.  Indicates impressive potential.

Highly Commended: Stolen by Lisa Nguyen
A confident and provocative take on a very difficult theme. Great storytelling, especially the final verse.

Highly Commended: My Grandmother Refuses to Die by Olivia Williams
This was such a stark and engaging poem, it painted a wonderful portrait of the author’s grandmother. Some of the rhyming and rhythm was a little uneven, which prevented it from getting a higher placing, but overall a very memorable piece.

Highly Commended: The Fascinations of Millinery by Lewis Orr
A very funny concept that was well executed. Great use of language.

Highly Commended: Television by Kate Chan
A slightly clunky sense of rhythm prevented this poem from ranking higher, but it’s a very witty and clever piece of work.

Highly Commended: What I want to be When I Grow Up by Anna Harisson
The writer displays a great sense of wit with some very amusing lines.

14-15 Years – Judge: Ynes Sanz

1st Place: History Rewritten by Ella Fox-Martens
This remarkably mature piece of free verse stood out for its disconcertingly sophisticated insights, beautifully cadenced and cinematic story-telling and strong finish with a sting in the tail.

2nd Place:   The Cry of an African Heart by Erica Emms
This long poem is a remarkable achievement, particularly for a young poet. A beautifully empathetic narrative, with consistent control of form, rhyme and language through 14 compelling pages.

3rd Place: A Heart’s Desire by Dylan Burgess
In this poem, profound and thoughtful insights about a young person’s future options are expressed with clarity and positive energy. Youth speaks to youth in this disciplined and powerful rap.

Highly Commended:  The Beauty within the Beast by Vegini Krishnamoorthy
Good tight writing in this novel take on how to stay positive in life.

Highly Commended: Who Dies in the End? By Sara Suk-Udom
A sharp-shooter of a poem. Tight, wry and telling.

Highly Commended: Old Man Winter by Emile Regano
Charming archaic language used to good effect in this sepia-tinted vignette.

Highly Commended: The Race by Darcie Smith
Great, freshly unpretentious account that conveys every second of a family’s holiday fun.

Highly Commended: Here We Stand Side by Side by Erica Emms
Lyrically romantic and movingly personal picture of lovers’ separation in war.

Highly Commended: I Forgive You by Erica Emms
Drama and well-controlled emotion in this skilfully-rhymed tragedy.

Highly Commended: Yggdrasil by Simone Engele
Metaphor of the mythical tree is well sustained in this reflection on connectedness.

Highly Commended: The Lady Who Went for Afternoon Walks in High Heels by Emily Parker
Touching, simply-told account of a child’s inability to understand the emotions in the life of a dear old friend.

16-17 Years – Judge: Ynes Sanz

1st Place: Wholly in the Deep by Kate Wilson
A tale told like vivid fragments of a flickering home movie. Written with restraint, its exquisite language is profoundly moving.

2nd  Place: Return to Jerusalem by Joshua Dunne
This confidently conceived and constructed poem conveys insightful political commentary via an unexpected yet surprisingly authentic sounding narrative voice.

3rd Place:  Dear Ma by Gabriella De Oliveira  
Wonderful economy of language in this subtly moving poem. The short letters of a younger son, now a soldier, intimately witness and record the fundamentals of their shared life.

Highly Commended: Indigo Shadows by Tessa Campisi  
An incisive kodachrome slide-show of a not-so-perfect traditional household.

Highly Commended: Across the Seas by Tessa Campisi  
History repeats itself in this vividly-drawn, unflinching account of oppression of ‘the other’, past and present.

Highly Commended: A Trojan Elegy by Joshua Dunne
A suitably heroic tone carries this well-measured piece that visits the history of Troy.

Highly Commended: Verging upon Virgil by Emma Hartley 
Skilful construction and disciplined language in this backward glance at Ancient Greece.

Highly Commended: Marri Yatarla by Meg Stroud
A beautifully lyrical reflection on country and spirit.

Highly Commended: Fruit Bats at Lockyer Crescent by Serena Green 
Vigorous language and imagery let us experience the ‘mango wars’.

Highly Commended: Junk Dragon by Luka Zubcic
Tight rhyme and metre and lively language in this good-humoured piece.

Highly Commended: Little Girls by Emily Eastwell
Fairy floss all round in this endearingly crystal clear moment from childhood.

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Open Age - Bush Poetry –  Judge: Wally Finch

1st Place: A Lesson in Life by Shelley Hansen
Every swaggy that one saw on the roads had a story to tell.   Some of them, like this one, carried a deep, personal tragedy with their swags.  Emotional scars may have showed but the cause was seldom revealed.  I recall such a character who I liked in spite of his misleading appearances.  The uncanny similarity made this poem personal.  A good story should be personal to those on the receiving end.  This story of a so called social outcast is one of pathos told very well.  Your application of the story teller and poet’s crafts come together very well. 

2nd Place: In the Wake of the Deluge by Brenda Joy
Nature’s wrath can hurt us to the core.  But Human Nature can’t be defeated.  Anyone with any experience of floods, or other natural disasters, knows this story all too well.  This poem excellently tells of the impact when such things happened to us.   It is a poem for future generations to learn about what happened then.  (Hopefully something they’ll never experience firsthand.)  This was a traumatic event for those who lived through it.  This poem tells the story with a high degree of understanding. 

3rd Place:  The Untold Story by Leonie Parker
So many sad stories come from the stolen generation.  Although most of them have similarities, sometimes the victims themselves have little or no personal knowledge of their origins.  This story is told very well with sensitivity and understanding.  By taking the reader/listener on a journey of discovery which reveals the basics of the man’s personal history, curiosity and interest are used effectively.    Great story.  Well written.

Highly Commended: How Long Will We Cry? by Kevin Pye
Trauma caused by those floods struck hard.  It was a time of extreme emotional stress for the victims.  And at the same time it generated heroes of many kinds, from those who risked so much to help others at the time to the enormous mud army that followed.  Times we need to remember and tell future generations.  Great use of poetic skills.

Highly Commended: Fire at Dawson’s Run by Catherine Lee
A great story line.  It holds interest from start to finish.  Good rhyme and meter.

Highly Commended: The Tale of Molly Riley by Catherine Lee
Beyond a doubt Australia was founded on injustice and tyrannical abuse of authority.  Molly Riley’s tale is an indicator that women did it tough in our earlier times. Our present love of a “fair go” could have had its genesis here.  Good research combined with a good application of writing skills make this a story to remember.

Highly Commended: The Property by Susan Sommerlad
Beautifully descriptive.  Well written. 

Highly Commended:  100 Years Since Anzac by Jim Cosgrove
Inspirational.  A lot will agree whole heartedly with your sentiments.  A good application of poetry writing skills.

Open Age - Other Poetry - Judge:  Mark Svendsen

1st Place: Ashes to Ashes by David Campbell
As the title implies, a poem about death and remembrance. Above all, it moves the reader, jolting them from their familiar, everyday diffidence to a new place. Technically, there are imperfections, though not too many, and finally, this poem does as a poem should – reasons with the heart. Congratulations.

2nd Place: Sunflowers at Wilcannia by Kate O’Neil
If there are daffodils at Wilcannia, Wordsworth would have been there – as it is there are only sunflowers for this poet to record. The use of quasi-religious imagery lends gravitas and depth. Well conceived and realised.

3rd Place: Goddess by John Egan
A wonderful lyric. Simple. Short. Of the moment. And moving. Thank you.

Highly Commended: Hire Education by Will Moody
Fantastic rhyme. Would love to read emotional work from this poet. The theme here, while pertinent, was not conducive to great poetry.

Highly Commended: Brother Wool by Janeen Brian
Stop and trust the heart will continue. Too many words at the end!

Highly Commended: Adhesive by Roland Leach
Extended metaphor works very well. A little too “prosey” in parts.

Highly Commended: Still Life by David Campbell
Changing of cities is unnecessary to the theme and extra length detracts from overall effect. . . . which is emotionally moving.

Highly Commended: Diptych: This Winter Beach by Mark Miller
Lyric imagery very well handled, but the philosophy – in metaphor – lets the structure down.

Highly Commended: Without the Definite by Marjorie Lewis-Jones
Loved the “poetry concrete” style of fractured syntax, but the end was overplayed.

Highly Commended: For Those Just Starting Out by Bruce Marshall
A strong arc to the work overall. A little repetitive of similar images and a little prose-like in parts.

Highly Commended: Square of Yellow Light by Roland Leach
At once sympathetic and unsympathetic subject. Well handled, but just a little too light emotionally for the competition in this instance.

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Open Age - Local Poets - Judge:  Mark Svendsen

1st Place: Dementia, the Demon with a Sneeze by Ingrid Mason
This is not a perfect poem (is there such a thing?), but it carries within it the essence of poetry. It needs a prune, an edit to cut away some still extraneous material left in it, but its use of extended metaphor, its ballad style and its almost mystic or mythological reference to the “Demon” is powerful and leaves the reader deeply moved by its humanity. Congratulations.

2nd Place: Happiness by Kenneth Weaver
Strong philosophy of life like so many in this category, but by no means a perfect poem. The imagery needs sharpening to reflect the theme. That said, its bones are strong and leave the reader pondering. . . . . it’s just in need of a final clinching image.

3rd Place: A Survey of Community Fireworks by Scott Thouard
Almost haiku in its brevity, but still a strong set of images, intense and lyrical, capturing the moment and imbuing it with meaning. Nice work.

Highly Commended: The Backyard Brothers by Marcus Richardson
Some excellent stanzas, but overall too much explanation which makes the poem too long. First 3 stanzas probably redundant.

Highly Commended: Flat-headed Catfish by Brett Dionysius
Some brilliant use of imagery, but let down by its very slight final lines. What is the theme? State it boldly at the end!

Highly Commended: My Mother Sewed for Me by Wendy Davies
Lovely and lyrical and warm, but needs the fat trimmed off. Two lines could go from stanza 1 alone. Focus all images on theme.

Chairperson’s Encouragement Awards

5-17 Years: Uncle George by Sunseria Vestey
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: People Like Us by Susan Sommerlad
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.

Ipswich Theme Awards

Open Age: Flood Warning – 1974 by Fran Nicolaou-Wilmot
“Flood Warning 1974” tells how one family was affected by an event that still traumatises people today.  The story teller within makes me gravitate to the plot of this poem.  The poet makes me admire and enjoy the technique used.  These things are vital ingredients that makes a poem like this so interesting for a complete stranger to pick up, read, and, be suitably impressed. Well done!  Please keep writing.

Mentorship Award

Aurora Australis by Anne Reardon
A fine poem which doesn’t quite fulfil its promise. It’s author is, therefore, perfect for the mentorship.

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