Time to announce the winners
of the 2017
Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) poetry competition
The 2017 competition winners have all been notified, and I’ve emailed everyone, who provided me with an email address, to let them know the results are out. Many thanks to: Otago University Press, the art dept, and Otago University Bookshop for providing monetary prizes and book vouchers for our 2017 competition.
The winning poems will appear in the winter edition of the Poems in the Waiting Room poetry card. I intend spending some time going through all submissions and selecting any which might be suitable for a future PitWR edition. I’ll be in touch with those poets before the end of the month.
Many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. Your support will help Poems in the Waiting Room continue to provide free seasonal poetry cards to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, prisons and hospices.
The results with Jillian O’Sullivan’s comments below:
Otago University Press First Prize: “Riding West” by Kath Beattie – Dunedin
the art dept Second Prize: “Aeroplaning” by Margaret Moores – Auckland
Otago University Book Shop Third Prize: “Threads” by Samantha Montgomerie –Dunedin
Otago University Bookshop Best unplaced Dunedin poem: “Tasman Sea” by Diane Brown – Dunedin.
Judge’s comments for PITWR Competition 2017
It was a pleasure and a privilege to spend these weeks with hundreds of poems. Each had something to offer – a way of looking at the world, a voice, a tone, and layers of imagery, evocative and playful. Family, childhood and memory featured highly. I looked for poems that stood out for their use of language (writing with vigorous and accurate nouns and verbs); for a sense of structure that matched the poem’s meaning; syntax and line break that appealed to the ear and extended meaning; and for poems that went beyond a record of time and place to offer another view of the world – to illuminate. I chose the poems I returned to each time with a sense of anticipation. Their imagery and voices remain in my thoughts.
Thank you to all the poets who entered. Your faith in language to convey meaning inspires. I find writing competitions valuable. They give writers a deadline and an opportunity for a poem to arise. Each new poem offers the chance to try out a new way of saying something, to come closer to discovering what it is you have to say. As American author Toni Morrison puts it, writers learn “each time they begin anew how to recognize a valuable idea and how to render the texture that accompanies, reveals or displays it to its best advantage.”
Riding West is the winning poem for the way it evokes imagination with verve. There’s a headlong rush of muscular verbs and nouns, the details portraying not only a child’s play but the lives and characters beyond the child – the father’s careful sharpening of the axe, the mother who desires bean stakes, and what this says about their world. When play ends, the children still ‘ride west’, taking their imagination with them.
I chose Aeroplaning for the way it moves, as if bringing a camera into focus, from the image of a grandfather’s jacket and flying helmet, to his carefully labelled photographs, to the immediacy of a young woman anxious on the burning sand.
Threads is a quiet poem that rewards time spent with it. There’s a ‘rhythmic loop and pull’ to a poem ‘stitched with care’. It creates music with internal rhymes and long vowel sounds that portray the long afternoons of memory.
Tasman Sea is the best unplaced Dunedin poem. A quiet, structured and thoughtful poem, it gives parallel ways of looking at the sea, through the narrator’s two sons.
There were many other poems that brought me pleasure, among them Tomorrow’s looking good, Ki te Maunga Matauranga, The Car Has a Broken Fan-belt, A Harbour, Rumplestiltskin on Defence, The written word, and Undo.