2012 ipswich poetry awards

Last night I attended the 10th annual Ipswich Poetry Feast awards and was thrilled to have been a prize winner again in this competition. Joined by my Beeble Poets friends in Brett Dionysius, Vuong Pham and bush poet extraordinaire John we were all lucky enough to grace the stage during the evening to collect awards.

For myself I won a Highly Commended in the Open category for Tough Love; two Highly Commended in the Local category for Tallegalla and Territory; second prize in the Local category for Sally Owens Rides Out and I was excited to win the mentorship prize, for 15 hours with Ynes Sanz which is going to be a wonderful experience for me as I continue to develop my writing.

A highlight for me were the comments of Ynes following the announcement of the mentorship. She spoke about my poem ‘Tough Love’ and said she was struck by the way I make ordinary language work hard. And I guess this is how I have always seen my work…I have never wanted my poems to be overly intellectual or difficult for all people from all backgrounds to read and understand. Feedback like this reassures me that I am hitting the mark.

But back to the awards. Being the tenth awards, it was fitting that descendants of the Broderick children who were drowned in the lilypond at Walloon in the 1890s (and which inspired Henry Lawson’s poem ‘The babies of Walloon’) were present to receive some special mementoes. I was interested to learn that the site of the lilypond has been located and plans are underway by council to preserve and heritage list it in future. Also lovely to learn that the replacement art installation of the two girls was being reinstalled at Walloon after vandals destroyed the piece last year.

Ipswich has a proud poetic history and it is wonderful to see these awards go from strength to strength and as a resident of the City of Ipswich I am blessed indeed to have a connection with this tradition. For all the performance poets….a spoken word comp is being added to the competition in 2013 with some great prizemoney – including $1000 for first place. This will only serve to enhance the overall festival and I can’t wait to see the shortlisted ten perform next year.

Results of this year’s feast, including judges comments and poems, will be available at http://www.ipswichpoetryfeast.com.au from Monday.


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