Announcing the winner for the 67th Blake Poetry Prize
The Blake Poetry Prize challenges contemporary poets of disparate styles to explore the spiritual and religious in a new work of 100 lines or less. The poetry prize is delivered in collaboration with Western Sydney literacy organisation, WestWords and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. The judges for the 67th Blake Poetry Prize were multi award-winning poet and winner of the 2013 Blake Poetry Prize, Anthony Lawrence, Juan Garrido Salgado, a Chilian Australia poet who came to Australia in 1990 fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his activism, and the immediate past Blake Poetry Prize winner Judith Nangala Crispin. This year the Prize attracted over 500 entries from across Australia and internationally from countries including Germany, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. The winner receives a prize of $5,000.
The winner of the 67th Blake Poetry Prize is
Simone King for her poem Surfing Again
Simone King is a poet, writer and editor who lives on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm/Melbourne. Her poems and reviews can be found in Rabbit, Cordite, Plumwood Mountain, Right Now and several print poetry anthologies. Simone won first prize in the 2021 Woorilla Poetry Prize (Judith Rodriguez open section) and received prizes for her poems in the 2018 Australian Grieve Writing Competition, the 2019 June Shenfield Poetry Award (highly commended) and the 2020 Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize (commended). Simone co-edited What we Carry: Poetry on Childbearing, Recent Work Press, 2021.
This is a graceful and moving account of coming to terms with loss. The language is economical, elegant and authentic. It does not shelter behind the opacities of abstract or elevated language, but rather conveys bravely, and with great vulnerability, the lived truth of loss and of honouring the dead.
Creating life within its language this poem is a wonderful deep breath. I wonder if Marquez’s love may be a reminiscence of returning from his journeys into loneliness and the loss of a loved one.
This prose poem successfully and indelibly creates a moving story of travel, loss and homage to friendship using language that avoids sentimentality yet embraces raw emotion. A fine example of how restraint can be luminous and lasting.
Pencils from Heaven by Castlemaine based poet Kirsten Krauth.
The judges said, “A well-crafted and delightful poem, which grounds high spiritual truths firmly in everyday experience. Clever line breaks carry the internal rhythms of this poem without the need for conventional punctuation. The language is candid and direct, relatable– bearing witness to our own time and the many images which accompany our lives.”
Read here: KKrauth_Pencils-from-Heaven
Watch Kirsten reading her poem here: KKrauth reading Pencils from Heaven
Rogue Objects by Gershon Maller.
The judges said, “The voice here is unusual and adventurous– truthful to the inner vision of the poet with all the risk that entails. The poem is multilayered, abstract and strange. With every reading more levels of meaning emerge. Its images are of a vast and miraculous world, something beyond the limits of language, but partly glimpsed–the way one might glimpse a football field through breaks in a hedge.”
Watch Gershon reading his poem here: GMallor reading Rogue Objects
Also on the shortlist
I Will Never by Jennifer Harrison
The judges said, “Filled with strong emotions and grief the poet’s deep voice is a lament for the world and for how relationships break down both in the virtual and the real, within ourselves and with nature. Combining intense emotion with technical grace and skill, this poem stands out for its willingness to embrace loss and beauty simultaneously, and in so doing offers us a template for hope in challenging times.”
Read here: JHarrison I-Will-Never
Watch Jennifer reading her poem here: JHarrison reading I Will Never
Flat Rock, September by Mark Tredinnick
The judges said, “Embracing love, memory and joy this beautiful poem is placed within the poetic rhythm of today’s world, and its dialogues.
A beautiful poem elegantly crafted in couplets. The language is musical and reverent, paying homage to our literary forbears, replete with
evocative, shining images.”
Watch Mark reading his poem here: MTredinnick reading Flat Rock, September
Everything Must Go by Meredith Wattison
The judges said, “This is an elegantly rendered thank you to the real worlds, and the literary worlds, that nurture us. Its language is graceful and economical, beautifully structured and rhythmic. Through familiar images this poem reminds us that we construct ourselves, every day, from the impressions we surround ourselves with.”
Watch Meredith reading her poem here: MWattison reading Everything Must Go
The Blake Poetry Prize is presented in partnership with Liverpool City Council and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre: