Archive for December, 2017

15
Dec
17

Judge’s comments Henry Kendall prize

With the anthology ‘Ear to Earth’ launched, I can now share the judge’s comments provided by Jean Kent for ‘Margaret Olley’s Flannel Flowers’.

“On my first reading of all the poems entered for this competition, this one stood out as utterly surprising and original. It has remained mesmerising and rewarding through many readings since then. ‘Margaret Olley’s Flannel Flowers’ is an intensely personal, beautifully observed response to the landscapes of two places – one that feels like ‘someone else’s country’ and another, which is more the poet’s own. The writing has the visual brilliance of photography, combined with a reflective voice-over of memories and emotional connections. From the beachside pandanus trees and their fruit, ‘poking peep-holes in the weather’, to the poet’s inland place of ‘spinifex and brigalow- tin roofs reflecting the desolation of heat’, the details feel vividly real and freshly experienced. The long lines, with their thoughtful, slightly staggering to-ing and fro-ing between places, perfectly reflect the poet’s desire to witness how ‘effortlessly beautiful’ places are, even those that are not our own.

Like the Margaret Olley painting it refers to, the poem is a triumphant demonstration of how haunting a work of art can be, especially when it is insightful, carefully crafted, and ‘bursting with strange botanicals – all of it, within and outside of myself’.” Jean Kent.

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