Given Words is delighted to announce the winners of the ‘Given Words’ poetry competition for National Poetry Day 2017.
The winner of Best Poem is Elizabeth Brooke-Carr for her poem All this and the winner of the Under-16 category is Hannah Earl for her poem A Magical Visit.
They will receive a copy of the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook 2017, courtesy of Massey University Press, and Lonesome When You Go by Saradha Koirala, courtesy of Mākaro Press, respectively, and their poems have been translated into Spanish and published on Palabras Prestadas. They will also be included in the forthcoming collection ‘Palabras Prestadas 6’ to be published in Spain.
In the run up to the competition we asked Kiwis to send us words via video and from these we chose the five words: exhilarated, static, finish, kaitiakitanga and biscuitchip. You can see the video of the five words here. All New Zealanders and NZ residents then had until National Poetry Day 25 August to write a poem that included these five words. The competition was judged by New Zealand poet and artist, Charles Olsen, who commented on the entries:
“I have enjoyed many of the images created such as a couple (I assume) who ‘huddled into curiosity’ as they contemplated a find on the beach; the sea – Hinemoana – ‘daggered with a cracked splinter of ice’ bringing a different take on climate change as does another poem pointing out ‘this earth is not our mother/fond and ever-forgetting’; the topical reflection on the elections with ‘media static posing as fact’; a reflection on life and death as ‘paua eyes weep tears of rain’. Kaitiakitanga was not an easy word to fit into a poem and I liked the originality of ‘the kaitiakitanga of your days… slips from you’, in The Finishing Time, and the delightful ‘kitchen floor act’ in Our Dog Pleads for Food. The poem All this stood out for me because it tells a simple story full of wonderful details. A conversation with a gull on a windswept beach introduces the concept of kaitiakitanga and we move on towards a second conversation and unanswered questions…
“I was also impressed by the creativity of our younger poets and was particularly drawn to the opening imagery of Songbird where the unexpected phrasing has something of the otherworldliness of birdsong. In the end I have settled on A Magical Visit with its vivid imaginary world – the way poetry can open thought spaces – and the particularly creative way the five words have all found a place within the story.”
We invite you to read the winning poems along with the other poems received.