Archive for July, 2017


2017 Henry Kendall Poetry Award

Very honoured to be named this year’s Henry Kendall Poetry Award winner. This year’s competition was judged by one of my favourite poets Jean Kent, which made winning all the sweeter.

To find out more, as well as the details of the other prize winners from the shortlist of ten, visit the Central Coast Poets website, or click here.

My poem, along with others selected during the judging process will appear in the anthology to be released later this year (in October I understand). If you can’t wait until then, here’s my winning poem – Margaret Olley’s Flannel Flowers.

Margaret Olley’s Flannel Flowers

Pandanus trees rim a small beach, stagger-lurch-stuck at the back of
the dunes; prop-rooted trunks shouldering the weight of canopy fruit

– spiky aureole-crowns poking peep-holes in the weather. I’m passing
through someone else’s country, feet-deep in the bright purple of pig-

face flowers, unhurried, coastal-cool, picking a path through the sand
sweep – alive with native morning glory and creeper-vines, thick with

squish-yellow flowers; each claiming the verges, resisting the spray of
salt – the constant shift of the ground beneath them. Mine is a country

of spinifex and brigalow – tin roofs reflecting the desolation of heat:
womal trees and gidyea, all following the slow brown run of the river.

Here, familiar is the tubular beauty of the banksia, the yolk-studded
fingers of coast-myall; the fleeting mimicry between the silver-backed

leaves and a gleaming catch of river perch: August sun setting a tin-foil
blaze on the Maranoa. This is not my country, but I’m looking through

its portholes, thinking of the Olley painting I cut out of a magazine
once – of the coastal flannel flowers: the way they spoke, perfectly wild

in a fluted cream jug, spilling and existing in no particular arrangement.
Effortlessly beautiful in the same way one’s own country can be, and by

extension: the pockets of another – searching for white, star-shaped
faces beyond the sands, in the rippling dunes, in the shrubby headlands

bursting with strange botanicals – all of it, within and outside of myself.

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July 2017