Results of 2017 Competition – Wonderment

Poetica Christi Press  2017 Annual Poetry Competition – Wonderment

Judge’s Report    by Peter Stiles (Dr.)

 The poems entered in the competition this year were consistently of a good standard. Reading through them all was an enjoyable experience. They reflected the meaningful moments and thoughtful observations that a significant number of poets wanted to capture and share in a variety of poetic forms. Many of them encapsulated what poetry does best, that is ‘emotion recollected in tranquillity’, as Wordsworth put it in his Preface to Lyrical Ballads, in 1800. Poetry helps to shape the individual consciousness and serves to temper the frenzied superficiality of so much modern living. It is undoubtedly therapeutic. Good poetry emanates from stillness, even silence, and is attentive to detail in a way that other literary forms are not suited to or ignore. There are exceptions, of course, such as the Australian novelist and essayist, Tim Winton, who is a reflective and respectful observer of the natural world.

The best poems in the competition drew me into a moment of time, a slice of life, a particular experience that had deep meaning for the poet concerned. Some dealt with seemingly mundane situations, like standing at the kitchen sink and looking up at the sky. Others focussed on exotic themes, such as the mass migration of Monarch butterflies. Both types captured the wonderment that is possible for those who take time to be attentive. The world we share, as poets, is alive with enchantment, wonder and mystery. I first read The Orange Tree, by John Shaw Neilson, when I was a boy. In that poem this early Australian poet visualises the magic in the everyday so well.

Effectively capturing this richness, however, can be a challenge. Poets should read over their poems again and again to see if there is a better word, a more apposite phrase, some fresh and original ways to express an idea. Good poems usually have concentrated language, but read well rhythmically, with a lyrical quality that rings true to the ear of the reader. Preludes, by T. S. Eliot, is an excellent example; perfect in diction, perfect in cadence. It is a truly memorable poem. The best poems in the competition had this quality. They read well, and would be satisfying to the listener if read aloud.

I particularly liked the poems in the competition that had a clear sense of direction and were essentially transparent. Obscure and inscrutable poetry does not serve the cause of poetry. Some of the best poems had a delicacy and simplicity about them that was compelling. Less is usually best in poetry. Having said that, I also liked the poems that had a historical theme, and also those that had an inter-textual quality to them. Deep learning and wide reading are often captured in good poetry. Christian poets should restrain their desire to turn their poems in homilies. Gentle understatement is the best way to allow God’s grace to be felt through verse.

Finally, I passed over poems that obviously made no reference to the theme of wonderment. Strident poems with an aggressive or abrasive tone seemed to have little place in the context of this competition. Good poetry avoids the clamour and attention seeking purposes of some other forms of written expression, and relies on subtlety and nuanced language to reveal the truths about the everyday. Our lives are full of riches and wonderment, just waiting for the eye, ear and heart of the discerning poet.

The winner of the competition was ‘Flight of the Monarchs’, an excellent poem about the mass migration of Monarch butterflies to Sierra Chincua, Mexico. It captures this spectacular, exotic event in a succinct, compelling manner, the reader drawn into a journey that juxtaposes life and death, flight and breathtaking clusters of colour in the forest. It is a very suitable poem for the theme of wonderment. The runner up was ‘Ink’, a touching poem about the loss of a brother in World War One. This clever poem explores the impression that writing can have on our memory, our consciousness, using ink as a metaphor for blood. The hopelessness and waste of war is stressed throughout. Wonderment is subtly suggested in the enduring nature and profound legacy of the written word. Other poems that stood out were ‘Two-sided coin’, ‘The colour of music’, ‘Rayonnement’, ‘Sleeping in Sturt’s  Stony Desert’, ‘Summer Peaches’, ‘Illumination’, and ‘Apollo 8’. All had a special quality that set them apart from the rest of the poems.

Peter Stiles (Dr.)          9 July 2017

JUDGE’S CHOICES – 2017 COMPETITION – Wonderment

WINNER

Flight of the Monarchs – Avril Bradley

RUNNER-UP

Ink – Gabrielle Rowe

ANTHOLOGY PLACE-GETTERS

 SPECIAL MENTIONS

Two-sided coin – Valerie Volk

The colour of music – Margaret Ferrell

Rayonnement – Gwendolyn Doumit

Sleeping in Sturt’s Stony Desert – Sue Grocke

Summer Peaches – Anne Cook

Illumination – Gabrielle Rowe

Apollo 8 – Nola Passmore

ALSO INCLUDED

Supposing Him to be the Gardener (i ) Born Again – Jeff Guess

Suddenly singing – Ron Heard

Cathedral – Janice Williams

Black bathers – Vivien de Jong

The trip home – Tru S Dowling

Triduum – a canticle of love – Tru S Dowling

Driftwood – Stephen House

Three Haiku – a triptych of wonderment – Florence Lisner

Garden art – Dale Harcombe

The flight of geese – Anne Cook

Japanese menu – 2nd course – Janine Johnston

Sitting on a verandah at White Cliffs – Toni Brisland

St Luke’s, Toowoomba – Joan Ray

Cluster – Gabrielle Rowe

Low tide, Wynnum – Ron Heard

Winners of the 2015 Poetica Christi Press Poetry Competition – Imagine

First Prize

Avril Bradley
The view from a balcony in Noosa

Second Prize

Cameron Semmens
Upon holding a brand new person (womb-fresh and yawning)

Other poems selected by the judge to appear in the anthology – poets listed alphabetically:

Mazzy Adams
Coalesced

Avril Bradley
Things to do in the belly of a whale

Victoria Carnell
Ride with Chesterton

Joy Chellew
Imagine

Jennifer Chrystie
If Dogs Were Horses

Tru S Dowling
Orange Rope Walk

John Egan
Ghosts and Dreams

Jeff Guess
Jigsaw

Don Helmore
Behold

Gillian Hunt
Moon orchids

Gillian Hunt
Palestine Dreaming

Janine Johnston
Kintsugi

Fiona McIlroy
Quicksilver

Jane McMillan
REM

Jan Price
Close Your Eyes

Paul Scully
Waltzing Croydon

Christina Spry
Champagne Cocktail

Peter Stiles
The Crabapple Tree

Ron Thomas
Bas-relief

Ron Thomas
Warrandyte Thoughts

Rachel Timmins
Sun Dried Tomato

Valerie Volk
In dreams

Bron Williams
Shadows

 

Poetica Christi Press 2015 Annual Poetry Competition

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTUREScloses August 31st, 2015

1st PRIZE $300
2nd prize $100

25 poems will be selected to be included in an anthology to be published by PCP

The theme for this competition will be

IMAGINE
This topic lends itself to poems about imagination, fantasy, illusion, dreams, legend, the future, creativity, exuberance, whimsy, fancy, reverie, utopia, idealism, playfulness, hope, wonder, imagery, empathy and social justice.

For entry forms click here.

2015 Dangerously Poetic Byron Bay Writers Festival

Calling All Poets !

2015 Dangerously Poetic Byron Bay Writers Festival

Poetry Prize

Dangerously Poetic and the Byron Bay Writers Festival are sponsoring a national poetry prize to be awarded at the Byron Bay Writers Festival on Saturday, 8 August at an off-site venue, The Lone Goat Gallery, Byron Bay.

Poets are invited to write up to 40 lines on the theme- Change.

Click here for more details

Click here for the submission form