'Freedom' competition Judge's Report

JUDGE’S REPORT FOR 2017 ADELAIDE PLAINS POETRY COMPETITION – THEME: FREEDOM

By Jude Aquilina

I felt privileged to be the judge for a competition with such an important and inspiring theme as FREEDOM. Thank you to all the poets who entered – you reminded me of the many different forms that freedom can take. These included: freedom from war; freedom of speech and thought; freedom in retirement and through travel; through bushwalking and horse riding; freedom from a refugee’s point of view; freedom in nature; freedom from abuse, racism and ageism; freedom through religion and freedom through zen; freedom in self-sufficiency and going off the grid; even freedom in death from suffering and freedom to reunite with loved ones in the afterlife. Congratulations to the competition organisers for choosing such a wide-ranging and thought-provoking theme.

The quality of the poetry was extremely high, in every section, making my job as judge difficult. Many more poems than I can mention deserve praise. And I was especially thrilled to read so many amazing poems by school students. I know the future of poetry is in good hands.

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In the Primary School Section I chose four poems to Commend:

· Feeling Free (1) Lorena Burford - Horizon Christian School

· Freedom (18) Amelie Kowald – Domino Servite College

· Camping Moment (3) Sophie Manuel - Horizon Christian School

· Waking up on Saturday (8) Benjamin Trinkle – Domino Servite College

And I chose the poem The Freedom to Read (17) to Highly Commend Kezia Ziegelmann – Domino Servite College

For Third Prize, I chose a poem titled Charlotte and her eggs (6) Alexandra Hill – Tea Tree Gully Primary School – a clever and unusual poem, with rich poetic language and apt use of the senses.

For Second Prize, I chose the poem titled Freedom in Science (14) Wesley Trinkle – Domino Servite College – this enthusiastic account of the freedom, wonder and creativity in science, had me thinking and kept me smiling. This young poet has captured the thrill and passion in engaging in creative thoughts and experiments.

First Prize goes to a poem titled Freedom for me (16) Brandon George – Domino Servite College - a beautiful and vivid poem about finding freedom in the Australian countryside, when, I quote, ‘the evening shines like brass’. With images like this, I was transported me to another place. Congratulations to a poet with a talent for painting word-scapes!

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In the Secondary School Section I chose three poems to Commend:

· The Beautiful Word (25) Amal TlaaOur Lady of the Sacred Heart College

· What is it? (28) Olivia Hayes – Domino Servite College

· I wanted to fly in the beautiful sky (12) Jasit Kaur – Domino Servite College

And I Highly Commended three poems:

· What happened to our acceptance? (6) Chloe Wightman – Domino Servite College

· Freedom is a funny word, isn’t it? (5) Jesse Blakers – Hawker College

· Why would you wear something so inappropriate (4) Freya Cox - The Friends School

For Third Prize in the Secondary School Section, I chose a poem titled Freedom Lies in Being Bold (8) – Aimy Tran - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College - a mature, intelligent poem that is a reminder of what women have achieved, and what is yet to be achieved in regards to equality. This is a bold and thought-provoking poem.

I chose, for Second Prize a poem titled A white blanket laid over Syria (13) – Rabjot Kaur - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College The poem relates vivid images of human suffering and gives the war in Syria a human face. This is a memorable, emotive poem that does not shy away from truth; an important narrative that needs to be written and read.

First Prize is awarded to a vivid lyrical poem simply titled Freedom (2) – Maya Chromik – Horizon Christian School. This poetic list of images captures the sense of freedom that we, here in Australia, are fortunate to enjoy free of charge, like, I quote ‘collecting stars at night’ and ‘finding dirt roads that lead to the unknown. This clever poet has put together a collage of positive experiences to capture the theme of Freedom in a clever and resonating way. Congratulations!

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In the Open Section, there were many great poems that addressed the theme of Freedom in quirky ways like the three poems I award Commendations:

· The Cost of Zen (55) Helen Thurloe

· a peregrine falcon (86) Claire Albrecht

· Child of My Heart 928) Shelley Hansen

And I Highly Commended four outstanding poems:

· 1976 (no number) Stephen Smithyman

· Strawberries and Poppies (25) Donna Edwards

· Advance Australia - Fair (29) Chris Richardson

· Moon meeting (62) Nina Scott-Bohanna

Third Prize in the Open Section goes to a poem titled Free at Last (80) Tom McIlveen that takes the reader back to early Australian convict history. Rhyme, rhythm and meter are employed to effect; with this style suiting the era. I also enjoyed the authentic voice and dark humour.

I awarded Second Prize to a poem titled Transitions (84) Kerry Harte an ironic poem with moments of dark humour. The poem is about reading a shiny brochure for a nursing home, in which, I quote, are ‘The faces of the people … bright and bubbly as champagne’. I like this poet’s unfaltering tone and apt imagery.

First Prize goes to a poem titled, Freedom wakes me in the morning (69) Rhonda Cotsell It was a joy to read this intelligent, compassionate take on the theme. The poet focusses on the small things that mean freedom but also encompasses the big picture. This poet has captured the intangible, the essence of what freedom is and what it means. Congratulations to this brilliant poet. May freedom continue to wake you in the morning.

Thank you, Carolyn and the Adelaide Plains Poets for this enlightening experience.

Jude Aquilina

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As the President of Adelaide Plains Poets, I thank the judge and of course all of the entrants in this competition, where we received well around 130 poems from around Australia, based on our broad topic of Freedom. As the Competition Secretary I say thank you to all of the lovely poets who sent their work to me and kept me entertained as I read the poems as that came to me in the mail, or by hand. And of course thank you to the teachers involved, keeping love of language alive in the young people they work with every day at their work!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What am I excited about right now?

I'm excited by a few things, but the things most relevant to this blog are:
1/ my Vegetable Victory project
2/ the launch of Poetry Reader no. 4 - Gawler Poets at the Pub
3/ my poetry collection I'm meeting with Sharon about next week

The thing these all have in common is that they are about poetry in some way.

1/ Vegetable Victory is a project I'm working on while wearing two hats - my poet lover hat and my community Foodie hat. Next year I will be running a months worth of lessons with middle primary school students, talking with them about the importance of eating vegetables. I'll also be reading poetry about vegetables to them, and finding out about what they think about various vegetables. I also hope to get the students writing their poems about vegetables, and putting together a poetry collection to share with their school.
I've spoken about this to various people and have received favourable responses. I really feel this project could be a link toward helping children love their veggies!

2/ This poetry book is being launched this Sunday (28 November 2010) at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler South Australia. I'm on the committee who organise the monthly poetry readings at this hotel. We took over from Martin Johnson this year, and a glad that many people come along and share the poetry.

3/ My poetry collection is very close to my heart. I feel I have a good body of work on the subject of child abuse. Some of my poems are extremely autobiographical, and I feel I'm sharing secrets I've kept hidden away for far too long. The process has been therapeutic for me, and I'm feeling much happier about myself and my place in life.

I have challenges in my life and I am gaining strength as I meet the challenges in a variety of ways. Making connections and reaching out to people is keeping me strong and I hope others can connect with me and share the whole process.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Great Race

It's time to get thinking about 'The Great Race'. That's the theme for Adelaide Plains Poets current Poetry Competition.

The entries have started rolling in, and there's still plenty of time to get your poem in for consideration too! Entry forms and guidelines below, don't miss it - closing date is 7 January 2011.

I look forward to receiving your poem/s! Feel free to tell others about this great competition!

Carolyn Cordon
President, competition secretary, Adelaide Plains Poets inc.


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ADELAIDE PLAINS POETS Inc
ADELAIDE PLAINS CUP FESTIVAL
POETRY COMPETITION 2011

‘The Great Race’

1st, 2nd & 3rd cash prizes, plus Highly Commended & Commended certificates as appropriate. Total prize pool over $500
ENTRY GUIDELINES

· Work entered in this competition must be original, in English, unpublished and not have won a prize in any other competition. Authors retain copyright, but the organisers reserve the right to arrange for possible reading of Prize winners’ work during the Adelaide Plains Cup Festival 2011, and selected entries may be published in an anthology
· Theme ‘The Great Race’
· Poems entered must in some way refer to the theme,
· Open Class - poets 18 years & older
· Junior classes –
o Primary School student
o Secondary School student
· To maintain anonymity, entrant’s name should appear on entry form only, not on poems. Entry forms are to include entrant’s name, address, phone number, titles of poems submitted.
· Entries should be typed, on one side of paper only, one poem to a page
· Poems to be no longer than 60 lines
· Entry fees: Open class $5.00 per poem entered
Junior classes - no entry fee
· Cheques to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc
· Entries to: Competition Secretary, 30 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
· Entries to be received by close of business 7 January 2011 – entries received after this date may not be considered for the competition.
· Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a SSAE
· Selected entries may be published in an anthology
For further details contact:
Ms C Cordon (08) 85272412; 0418 806 490; jeebers@bigpond.com

...........................................................................

ADELAIDE PLAINS POETS INC
ADELAIDE PLAINS CUP FESTIVAL
POETRY COMPETITION 2011

‘The Great Race’
ENTRY FORM

Name…………………..……………………Phone…………………

Address……………………………………………..…………………

.…………………………………………………………………………
Email………………………………..

Title of poem/s - ……………………………………………………..

……………………………………………………..

……………………………………………………..
(use back of page for additional entries)

Entrants’ names or other details must not appear on poems

Declaration by author: I agree to comply with the Entry Guidelines and declare that the written work submitted in my name is my own original work and has not been copied in part, or in full, from any other source.

Author’s signature…………………………………..date…………………...
Date of birth (if entering junior section) ………………………….……….…..
Name of school (if entering junior section) …………………………………….
$5.00 per poem (OPEN CLASS ONLY – NO FEE FOR JUNIOR ENTRIES)

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES 7 January 2011
Cheques/money orders to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc, and sent with entries to Competition Secretary, 30 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a stamped self-addressed envelope, and a written request.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Project - Poems about Vegetables

Hello everybody,

I've just today decided on a new project for next year. It will be new and exciting and it will be of benefit to young people and their parents. First, I'll let you know what I need, then I'll explain what it's all about.

OK, this is what I need:

Poems about vegetables, suitable for people under the age of thirteen. Funny poems for preference, but beggars can't be losers - I'd like a broad range of poems. I'm sorry, I have no money, so I can't pay you for using the poem, but I will acknowledge the poets of the poems I use.

Are you intrigued? Are you wondering what on earth this could be about?

Well, this is what it's about. One of hats I wear is the hat of a Community Foodie. As a Community Foodie, it is my role to help people make the best food choices in terms of nutrition. I love poetry too, so I'd love to combine the two things and work with children to explore poetry and vegetables in a fun way.

I want to get a collection of great vegetable poems, some interesting looking vegetables and visit local Primary schools. I will talk about vegetables, ask the students for their thoughts about vegetables, read some of the vegetable poems. Then, I hope, the students will write their own poems about vegetables.

I'd like to have some vegetables for the students to eat, perhaps crudites, or savoury muffins, or something else (ideas most welcome!).

So that's it. I'd like to have some of my own vegetable poems as part of the whole thing, I just have to write them! I have plenty of time still, but, as I said, I need help. If you have a poem, or know of one, please leave a comment here and we can get this project going!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Because a Good Friend Asked me To!

Hello, a dear friend of mine, Tiffany, asked if I'd be interested in answering seven questions about myself and posting them to this website of mine. Tiff had been asked by a friend of hers, and had done it herself. I read what Tiffany had posted on her site and I thought, well why not!

So here goes:

1. What really cheesy/bad TV programme can you not help but watch?
I am so not part of the TV watching vibe! If it’s not interesting to me, I don’t watch it – if I’m watching the TV instead of reading or being on the computer, it’s something good. Oh dear, that sounds so sanctimonious! I love election night TV, is that bad or good; some of it sure is cheesy!?

2. What book you think is terrible, and why.
Um, I’m no biblical scholar, but I don’t like lots of things in the Old Testament. I like lots of the things Jesus supposedly did or said, but that eye for an eye stuff scares me. It is so wrong, lots of the things in the Old Testament are wrong, and the wrongness is taken up by evil people for terrible reasons.

3. What does your bedlinen look like? please feel free to include a photograph
Oh dear, you don’t want to know – our bed linen is an uncharming mix of rumpled rubbish and dog hair. Don’t go there!

4. What is your favourite quality in yourself (you all have them so suck it up and pick one!)
I am a forgiving person. No that’s not good enough. I always put a positive spin on things that happen to me. I am a Positive Polly and proud of it!

5. This one is from Dave - What is the worst injury you have had?
When we were installing our dog kennels I managed to drop my end of the kennel on my foot. It hurt so much I almost passed out, but I stayed there working. I suspect I broke a tiny little bone in my foot, but I’ve never done anything about it – it’s fine now – this happened about twenty years ago. Apart from that, I guess you could say my worst injury was when they sliced me open to take the baby from my womb – they put in lots of staples to close me up and I was incapacitated in a big way. But that was an elective Caesar, no real dramas. I can still see the scar, but I don’t show that one to anybody else!

6. Do you listen to the radio/podcasts often and if yes, what do you listen to?
I listen to ABC Radio National often during the day. If it was up to me, I’d have the ABC on the radio all the time, and only put the TV on a few times a week. I love Life Matters, Bush Telegraph, The Book Show, and so on. If it’s on RN it’s probably good, and even if it’s not good, it’s better than everything else, in my opinion!

7. If you stay in a hotel, do you take the mini bathroom toiletries home with you?
Gee, if I say yes, am I incriminating myself? I’ll just say I rarely stay in a hotel and that I have taken shampoo and conditioner home once or twice. Please don’t arrest me! I’ll pay for it, honest, just send me an account!

There, that didn't hurt too much! I'm glad I've done this, even though it kept me so engrossed in the writing of it that my coffee went cold and now I'll have to drink it cold or go warm it up in the microwave. If I leave it another hour or so it might be refreshing as iced coffee, but it's the first coffee for the day and it really should be at least warm. Damn you Tiffany! (that was a joke!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poetry Reading Prince Albert Hotel Gawler

The poetry reading at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler South Australia is on the last Sunday of the month at 2.00pm. Poets put a gold coin in the tin and write their name in the book.

Then they listen to the fine poetry until it's their turn to read a few poems. It's all great fun and the audience is very friendly and supportive. I'm involved in running this event and I'm having a great time with it.

I would love to see you at the Prince Albert Hotel one Sunday! The best poems left will be considered for publication in a poetry reader which will be launched at the November event. If you don't have time this year, I recommend you make time next year you come along to the friendliest poetry readings!

Looking forward to hearing you read!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poetry Competition is Up and Going

Adelaide Plains Poets inc Poetry Competition, entries close 7 January 2011, winners announced late February/early March.

Well, I've been giving out entry forms, in fact taking them with me almost every time I go out. People are giving me good feedback about how much they like the theme for the competition - The Great Race - and I'm hoping to get lots more entries from school students this time.

Entry for Primary and Secondary School students is free, $5.00 for adults. If you are interested in entering the competition or know someone who may be interested, you can find the entry form and guidelines on this site, or you can send me and email to jeebers@bigpond.com asking me to send them to you.
Entries must be accompanied by an entry form, and if from adults, the payment. You can send the payment via Paypal near the entry forms and guidelines on this website.
Entry is for Australian residents only.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Poetry Rules this Weekend

There are a lot of poetry events happening in my area this weekend. I will be focused on one event, but will be trying to have at least some involvement in the others.

There will be lots of writing things, including poetry, at the Salisbury Writing Festival. I may be able to get there Friday night, but the cold weather might mean I don't get there.

On Saturday I am committed to volunteer work at the Gawler Show, so I can't get to Salisbury that day at all. I heartily recommend people check it out if they're free.

On Sunday there will be the first ever Poetry Slam at the Gawler Show. The people running it are friends, they are committed to it, and it will be exciting and fantastic. I will try to be there for at least some of the morning.

After that, is the event I am most personally connected with. The Poetry @ the Pub is a monthly event I am going to attend, (I am on the committee who run it) and I hope lots of others will be able to get involved. It starts at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler at 2.00pm Sunday. The fire will be going and the atmosphere will be welcoming and fun.

I may be able to get to Salisbury afterwards, but it will be difficult, so maybe not. It will be a big weekend for me, and I will have a great time!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Great Race

There are many races in life. From the magic race of sperm to be the first to get to the egg, to the grinding rat race we struggle through on a daily basis. Then there are the exciting races, horses, greyhounds, athletes running, motor sport - there are winners and losers, and many great stories to be told of the great races.

The Adelaide Plains Poets Inc have another great poetry competition for 2010/2011 lining up on the starting grid with the exciting theme of 'THE GREAT RACE'. Entries are open now, closing on 7 January 2011, and the entry form and guidelines are on this page, so scroll down, cut and paste the necessary parts and get thinking about which of life's Great Races you wish to write your poem about.

As the competition secretary, I am excited about what exciting stories in poetic form people will write and send to me to be involved in APPI's sixth annual poetry competition.

read all about it below:-


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ADELAIDE PLAINS POETS Inc
ADELAIDE PLAINS CUP FESTIVAL
POETRY COMPETITION 2011

‘The Great Race’

1st, 2nd & 3rd cash prizes, plus Highly Commended & Commended certificates as appropriate. Total prize pool over $500

ENTRY GUIDELINES

· Work entered in this competition must be original, in English, unpublished and not have won a prize in any other competition. Authors retain copyright, but the organisers reserve the right to arrange for possible reading of Prize winners’ work during the Adelaide Plains Cup Festival 2011, and selected entries may be published in an anthology
· Theme ‘The Great Race’
· Poems entered must in some way refer to the theme,
· Open Class - poets 18 years & older
· Junior classes –
o Primary School student
o Secondary School student
· To maintain anonymity, entrant’s name should appear on entry form only, not on poems. Entry forms are to include entrant’s name, address, phone number, titles of poems submitted.
· Entries should be typed, on one side of paper only, one poem to a page
· Poems to be no longer than 60 lines
· Entry fees: Open class $5.00 per poem entered
Junior classes - no entry fee
· Cheques to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc
· Entries to: Competition Secretary, 30 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502
· Entries to be received by close of business 7 January 2011 – entries received after this date may not be considered for the competition.
· Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a SSAE
· Selected entries may be published in an anthology

For further details contact:
Ms C Cordon (08) 85272412; 0418 806 490; jeebers@bigpond.com



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ADELAIDE PLAINS POETS INC
ADELAIDE PLAINS CUP FESTIVAL
POETRY COMPETITION 2011

‘The Great Race’
ENTRY FORM

Name…………………..……………………Phone…………………

Address……………………………………………..…………………

.…………………………………………………………………………
Email………………………………..

Title of poem/s - ……………………………………………………..

……………………………………………………..

……………………………………………………..
(use back of page for additional entries)

Entrants’ names or other details must not appear on poems

Declaration by author: I agree to comply with the Entry Guidelines and declare that the written work submitted in my name is my own original work and has not been copied in part, or in full, from any other source.

Author’s signature…………………………………..date…………………...
Date of birth (if entering junior section) ………………………….……….…..
Name of school (if entering junior section) …………………………………….

$5.00 per poem (OPEN CLASS ONLY – NO FEE FOR JUNIOR ENTRIES)

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES 7 January 2011

Cheques/money orders to be made payable to Adelaide Plains Poets Inc, and sent with entries to Competition Secretary, 30 Germantown Rd REDBANKS SA 5502

Authors should retain a copy of their work, entries will not be returned without provision of a stamped self-addressed envelope, and a written request.

If you wish, you can pay online using the method below:-
Cost for Paypal entries is $5.00 plus an extra 50 cents for each poem entered (for Paypal payments only).




50 cents added to cover fee



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Villanelle - How to Write One

I can't say I'm an expert on this one, but I have written one which I think was well done. I've searched the internet and found a site that shows and explains how to manage this frustrating poetic form.

This site gives a studied look at one villanelle poem - read it and you will understand the form. I recommend having a rhyming dictionary close at hand if you want to give the villanelle a try.

Frustrating yes, but when you get it right, you can be justly proud of yourself. It isn't easy to get the right lines to use in this form. A villanelle repeats two lines at regular intervals, and if you get it wrong it can end up lame, or stupid.

If you have been writing free verse poetry and want to try something more structured, why not give the villanelle a try? The form has been around for over three hundred years, and has been successfully written by famous poets - Dylan Thomas has one that almost everyone would have heard of 'Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light' . If you've never heard of it, well, do yourself a favour and read it. It does the job so well, so deeply and it has been moving people for over seventy years.

My best villanelle so far isn't so famous, but it has received favorable comment from poets wiser than me. Here it is if you're interested (careful, adult theme):-

Repressed memory syndrome

She didn't know what she would find,
she hoped an inner peace may rise
as she searched back to her child-mind.

Not innocent, she wasn't blind
as she looked deep with knowing eyes.
She didn't know what she would find,

reluctance should have been a sign
of what she hadn't realised -
the secrets locked in her child-mind.

Hoping for something soft and kind,
recalling only pain and lies.
She didn't know that she would find

an image of a harsh face, lined,
hard callused hands and frightening sighs
bewildering to her child-mind.

Her mother had ignored her cries,
the bruises on her skinny thighs.
She didn't know what she would find,
she'll bury again her child-mind.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Last Sunday, 27 June, 2010, Prince Albert Hotel, Gawler. The fire was warm and so was the friendship we shared!

Friendship, and fantastic poetry were in abundance as I greeted new friends and old, hugs all round and a good time was had by all. I was amazed at the high quality of the poetry read on the day. Amazed and excited.

If this is the quality of poetry being written currently, then No, Poetry is Not Dead! Poetry in Gawler for Poetry @ the Pub is Alive and Kicking with Life and Vitality.

If we continue to get this quality of poetry for the rest of the year, then having to pick the very best for the end of Year Poetry Anthology is shaping up to be a difficult but very enjoyable task!

I thank all of the wonderful people who shared their Sunday with us, and to my dear friends who couldn't get there I say "Make there in July - you won't regret it".

Saturday, June 12, 2010

John Keats Bright Star

I watched the movie with my writing group the other night. We were all deeply affected by this tale of love, life and death. So young, so talented, so misunderstood.

John Keats wrote some of the finest poetry ever, but his talent was unrecognised during his too short life. He died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-five before he was able to wed the love of his life Fanny Brawne. Some of his loveliest poems are written about/for Fanny.

If you are still trying to become recognised in your literary writing, take heart, some of the very best in the world were also not lauded during their lives. If you keep writing and keep living, it may happen for you while you live, but know that your words will give you a form of life after death. You must keep sending your writing out there though.

If you keep your writing tucked away in a drawer or on your computer, you greatest work may be destroyed after you die, with you remaining just a fragile memory for just a few people. Send your work out, self publish, blog, but keep getting those words out if you wish to remembered/admired after your death.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Giving the moon - Sponsored Post

Giving the moon - www.givingthemoon.com
I'm fascinated by the thin line between dream and reality, can't wait to get 'Giving the Moon' - short stories

sponsored like
Carolyn Cordon's profile on MyLikes

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What to Write Poetry About

So many times when you try to write poetry, you end up staring at the blank screen or page and your mind is every bit as blank as they are. Nothing happens because you can't think of anything to write about.

I have found a fantastic source of poetry material, something that won't dry up for a long time. And if you follow this idea, and run out of material, you won't care, because your life will better for having done it!

This idea came from a page on Oprah's site, a piece by Mike Robbins, who seems to often write and be on this website/show. I say 'seems to' because I don't watch Oprah or go to this website often. I don't mind if you don't believe me, because I know the truth and if you choose to not believe me, it won't affect how I feel at all.

Anyway, this is the page here

Feel free to go and have a look. You may feel differently about it than I do, but I'll tell you this - I loved it! I immediately posted it to my Facebook page with this comment:-

I just read this and love it deeply already. I have many flaws and I try very hard not to hate them. I am overall a good, but flawed person, just like everyone else. I love my flaws, I may try to write a poem about each and every one of them. It will be a middle sized collection by the time I've finished - I'm not big enough to have a huge collection of flaws!

So that is my plan for never running out of things to write about - Mind map one of your flaws, that is, write down anything that comes to mind when you think about the flaw. Don't edit your words, just get it all down on the page. Next, leave it for a while, or get onto it straight away if you want to. Different people work in different ways - whatever works for you is the right way!

Then, pick out the words and/or phrases that strike you as something true, then write them down and do a mind map on those too. By now you may well have the makings of a poem! If not, keep mind mapping until you feel there is something there to work with.

Write down the poem, think about it, edit it, think about it some more. When you are convinced you have it shaped into its best shape, leave it a bit longer. Then come back to it, edit it if necessary, and voila! You have a poem.

If you are the same as most people you have lots of flaws, and you have a nasty gremlin in your head who tells you about your flaws quite often. Now you have a double tool - you will be finding things to write about, and you will be silencing that nasty gremlin. I love these Win/Win situations!

So, next time you want to write poem, but can't think of what to write about, take the common advice - 'Write what you know'. What you know better than anyone is yourself. If you follow my advice you will be learning more about yourself and you may well be collecting a deep and meaningful collection of poetry.

Even if what you write is only relevant to you, it won't matter, because you will have been learning about yourself and becoming more mindful of the things that are true for you. This sort of creative writing therapy can be a great help in showing you the direction your life should be going.

I wish you happiness in your journey into your own mind!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some Simple Ideas on Writing Poetry

There are many different types of poetry. I counted 50 on a quick search of the internet. You may have heard of Haiku and Limericks. There are the more obscure types too, like Terzanelle and Sestina. Learning different types of poetry though, isn't nearly as much fun as inventing your own, so here are some ideas about that.

Types Of Poetry - Playing With Stanzas

What is a stanza? A division of a poem consisting of two or more lines. How many ways can you structure a stanza? As many as you want. Look at this stanza from the poem, "Gratitude:"

So there is nothing to say

There is nothing to say

There is nothing

Nothing...

But gratitude

Each line is a smaller part of the previous line. In this case, it quiets the mind in order to emphasize the last word: gratitude. However, this idea could be used in many ways. You could start with a line like, "She watched the birds come in from the sea," and it can reduce to, "Come in from the sea;" "From the sea:" "Where Michael was left alone in the storm."

Each stanza could have lengthening lines. Lines could be varied in length to create a picture on the page. Playing with stanzas is a fun way to create new types of poetry.

Ideas For New Types Of Poetry

In the poem "Do Not Believe In God," each stanza starts with one of our senses: "See God... in stars and sunlight... and the face of your lover;" Hear God... in wind and waves... and the music of the birds." All the senses are covered. How could we use this general idea? By starting each stanza with a different verb or adjective? By starting each stanza with a different person's name? By having each stanza get smaller or larger as the poem progresses?

How many ways can you play with poems? "Dream poems," could be a type of poetry that puts actual dreams into verse. "Dialog poems" could have stanzas or lines answering each other back and forth. A series of poems could use all the exact same words, rearranged, with an entirely different outcome in each. There are endless types of poetry you can create.

Steve Gillman has been playing with poetry for thirty years. He and his wife Ana created the game "Deal-A-Poem," which can be accessed for free at: http://www.dealapoem.com

Monday, March 29, 2010

Life, the Universe and Everything poetry competition

Adelaide Plains Poetry Competition March 2010 - Speech

from the judge, Graeme Catt

Thank you to Carolyn Cordon for organising this competition, which gives writers of all backgrounds the potential to expose their work to a wider audience.

This year’s theme – ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ – gave writers plenty of scope in terms of subject matter. Indeed, we received poems on just about every topic imaginable: nature, work, love, death – even haemorrhoids. (By the way, to the writer who entered that poem, hold it aside, because I think next year’s theme is Gastro-Intestinal Ailments.)

Many entrants even tackled the theme more literally and attempted philosophical pieces or poems that explored the nature of the universe.

Regardless of the subject matter, there are certain things I try to look for when judging any writing competition. Mainly, I am hoping to hear something I haven’t heard before – a startling image, a unique metaphor – a vision of the world that is fresh and perhaps unusual. I hope I have succeeded in my choices for this year’s winners.

It is customary (maybe even compulsory) to offer a couple of quotes at this stage of such a speech, so I have these two to offer. Both mirror the thinking I brought to the judging process:

Rita Dove suggests that ‘Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.’

Salman Rushdie says that: ‘A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.’

Now there were numerous categories and, unfortunately, due to the small number of entries for some of these categories, I was unable to select a winning entry. These categories are poems by residents of the District Council of Mallala, and poems by Secondary School students.

In the Primary School category we received several dozen entries and, for me, the standout poem was ‘The Journey of the Murray’ by Laura Zdanowicz, who has bravely attempted a rhyming poem that remains fresh and appealing to the last line. (I believe we will be hearing Laura read her poem this afternoon.)

I have also offered Commendations to Isabella Somerville for ‘Playground Autism’ and Kelly Pocock for ‘The beach’.

The Open Category received over 70 entries, and it is hoped that the three winning entries meet the need for ‘mystery’, to ‘name the unnameable’.

But first some Commendations – these are all very good poems that didn’t quite make the final three. Firstly, I would like to commend Brenda Eldridge’s ‘River Of Light. I was also impressed with Gavin Austin’s ‘Adrift’. The third commended poem is ‘Everythings’ by Kevin Gillam.

Now to the winners - rather than attempt a dissection or interpretation of these poems, I will read a brief excerpt from each. Unfortunately, as the winning poets live interstate, they cannot read the poems themselves. I hope my readings do them justice.

Third Prize goes to John Egan for his poem ‘The Velvet Zero’. And the first stanza:

Beyond the desk lamp,

its green shade,

the multiple slash

of sharp venetians

and the shrouded night

that covers knots of trees

and walls of rough brick

with nothing,

the void –

the velvet zero

clicking

into space and time,

spinning into now.

Second Prize goes to Kevin Gillam for his poem ‘rebreving’. These are the opening two stanzas of the poem:

I have interest only in breathing,

in taking a cupped palm of unthoughts,

aerating them,

feeling them swarm then empty in

all hemispheres

an interest in rhythms of moons

and leaving, how the tides

create a gush of idea,

how grief is its own pond,

wind shirred, waiting

for reason

First Prize goes to a second John Egan poem, ‘The City and the Stars’. I’d like to read the second stanza of John’s poem.

Beyond the city a universe

of galaxies and stars, the black hole

of extinction, the stellar furnaces

of creation, heat and life –

electrons that dance a thin corolla

around the scrum of nucleus

and the flicker of photons

fired from stars that plunge

towards crescendos of nothing,

the vertigo of infinity

and the limits of the mind.

Congratulations to John Egan and Kevin Gillam for their winning entries in the Open Section, and Laura Zdanowicz for her winning poem in the Primary School category.

Thanks again to Carolyn Cordon for organising the competition, and to all the entrants who continue to make the competition a notable poetry event on the yearly writing calendar.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Poetry at the Pub - Prince Albert Hotel Gawler

Don't forget, poetry is back at the Prince Albert again on the last Sunday of the month - 28 March 2010, 2.00pm.

The usual crew will be there, and with extra excitement - we're announcing the winners of Adelaide Plains Poets inc. poetry competition. Winning entries will be read, the poetry judge will enlighten us re what he was looking for, there will be live music and there'll still be an open mic for everyone who puts their name in the book.

I can't wait to catch up with you all!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Poetry event in Goolwa

A friend of mine Max Merckenschlager has asked me to help spread around the news on the following event. Max and his lovely wife Jacqui have always supported Adelaide Plains Poets Inc , and I am more than happy to support Max and Jacqui for this event.


Babblers

readings and poetic songs

In the Park with the Rotunda

Cadell St, centre of Goolwa S.A.

Saturday 24thApril, 2010

2pm to 3pm

a free concert

featuring the poetry and poetic songs of

Max & Jacqui Merckenschlager

award-winning S.A. writers

traditional rhyming and freeform verse

songs from their musicals and more, including

“Giddyup Donkey”

“Guantanamo Bay”

&

“Sorry Day Song”

50 ‘Reconciliation’ handout CDs containing Sorry Day Song

& 2006 national championship winning bush poem Men Of Skins

A National Poetry Festival event.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Poetry Reading - Gawler

On Sunday 31 January, history will be happening. The Gawler Poetry at the Pub readings begin under new leadership, and the first one is going to be fantastic I think.

There will be the guest poet - Teri Louise Kelly, and Eddy Burger and Maurice McNamara will drop in on their way back home in Melbourne. Add to that the usual great poets plus some who have said they'll come up from the big smoke in Adelaide, and it should be a good crowd.

Anyone can read their own poetry there, just pay your gold coin donation and put your name in the book. There will be a raffle, great staff, enthusiastic committee members and lots of fun. Bring two copies of your poem, if you want you work to be considered for the annual Poetry Reader and don't forget to put your name on your poems!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bush Slam, Some People Just Don't Get It!

I just read about one viewer of the ABC's wonderful Bush Slam program, who was outraged that there were non-rhyming poems on the show! After I stopped tut-tutting and shaking me head, I heaved a heavy sigh. Not that old one again! 'If it doesn't rhyme, it's not poetry!' Rubbish!

If someone writes or performs something and calls it poetry, then it is poetry! It truly is that simple. Poetry in the bush takes many forms, not just the bush ballad form so loved by people in love with Patterson and Lawson. And the Bush Slam television show was created to introduce the city to the country, and judging by how the country people in the show have voted, they have been loving the poetry that connects with their lives. They weren't fussed about the rhyming or not rhyming in the poem, they were concerned about the connection.

A good poem is a poem that reaches out and says something to you. This is what Bush Slam has done, and I congratulate the ABC so much for producing this show.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bush Slam Our ABC

Well Aunty ABC has done something wonderful! They've brought the country and the city together and shown the wonders of the former to the rest of Australia. This program on channel Two and 7.00pm is an absolute treasure, once to follow and view over and over again.

The poets connect with the town they visit for three days, write a poem about the town and have their work judged by the people of the town. It is clever, sincere, moving, wonderful. I commend the ABC for having to courage to run with this wonderful program and I hope they do another series, and another, and another!

Aunty, you've done us proud and I thank you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Entries closed!

The entries for the Life, the Universe and Everything competition have closed. Stay tuned to this site for more information. I can tell you that the winners will be announced at the March poetry reading at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler.

I am quite please with the quality of the entries received, but I am sad that teenagers don't seem to think it's cool to go in a competition where they can express themselves and be listened to attentively by at least two adults, me and the competition judge. And hey, there's money in it too!

I am hoping for a better response for the next poetry competition that Adelaide Plains Poets Inc have. Details will be on this website later on this year.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Poetry competition closing date extended

The closing date for the Adelaide Plains Poets 'Life, the Universe and Everything' poetry competition has been extended to 15 January 2010.

That is it. If the entry isn't wending it's way to the competition secretary by then, you've missed out and you'll have to wait until later this year for the next competition.

Entries are rolling in well enough, not as well as last year, but there have been some wonderful poems cross my desk. Thanks to everyone who has entered this competition and supported Adelaide Plains Poets Inc over the years they have been doing this.

I'm a bit excited about the next competition and rest assured, details will be on this website as soon as they are available.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Poetry Competition Closing Soon!

Adelaide Plains Poets Inc remind all Australian poets that the 2010 Poetry Competition closing date is 8 January 2010. So basically, if you want to enter the competition, you need to get your entry in soon.

The entry date might be extended a little, because of the postal issue around Christmas time, but entries that arrive too late will be returned to sender.

There is a prize pool of over $500.00, and classes for adults, primary school students and high school students. If you want to put an entry in, simply cut and paste the entry form and send it in with your poem/s along with the entry fee (for adults only, no entry fee for student classes).