Thanks to everyone who entered the inaugural Poems in the Waiting Room competition. Sending poems out into the world is an act of bravery. It’s all too easy to say ‘ I’m too busy’, or ‘ oops I’ve missed the deadline’, or ‘what’s the use I’m not going to win anyway’. Every entrant is a winner – you made the effort, created a poem and met the deadline.
Congratulations to the four prize winners. Their poems will appear in the winter edition of Poems in the Waiting Room.
First prize: Dunedin’s Emma Neale for An Inward Sun
Second prize: Joan Norlev Taylor from Blenheim for Women Reversed
Third prize: Catherine Fitchett from Christchurch for Temptation
And the D-scene prize for the best unplaced poem from a Dunedin resident went to Carolyn McCurdie for At the crib in July
After reading all 273 poems from 115 poets, twice, I selected about 30 poems. From these, I eventually selected 12 poems. These 12 met the following requirements: They had a certain smoothness and complete-ness. They were all well-turned poems – like polished pebbles. They appeared perfectly formed; consistent; pleasing; satisfying. Nothing jarred or impeded the eye and brain’s track along the lines. There were no mistakes. They were fresh and robust. They didn’t confuse. The last lines did not disappoint or leave me hanging.. The poems didn’t merely describe, but developed an idea and took me somewhere. They were not too simplistic or sentimental. They didn’t rely on cliché. They were clear without bordering on prosaic. They didn’t preach or moralise.
It was extremely difficult to select three winners from the final 12. Any of those poems could have won. However, in the end I am satisfied that I made the right choices for the winning three.
‘An Inward Sun’ – a well-worked poem containing fresh, vivid images which continued to delight, no matter how many times I read it.
‘Women Reversed’ – a thoughtful poem that uses language well; each line cleverly and expertly develops the situation it is describing.
‘Temptation’ – A gentle poem, deceivingly simple its light touch deftly winds the reader towards the surprise of a very fine last line.
Kay McKenzie Cook
A bouquet of thanks to Kay for her time and effort in judging the competition. Many thanks to the late Sylvia (Tui) Badcock, Speech Communication Assn. Otago, and D-scene for sponsoring the prizes.
Information about the 2013 Poems in the Waiting Room competition will be posted here in October.