Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Winners of the 2019 WriteNow Dunedin Secondary Schools Poetry Competition

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Poems showcase rising stars of poetry
The winners of the 2019 WriteNow Dunedin Secondary Schools Poetry Competition have been chosen from a strong field of entries by judge Fiona Farrell, one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed and versatile writers.

Fiona was particularly impressed by Darcy Monteath (Year 10 Logan Park) who took out first prize in the Junior section for her poem ‘Overcoming grief in the form of birds’.

In her judge’s report Fiona said,

“This is an extraordinary poem, and far and away the best of all the poems, Junior and Senior, entered in this year’s competition.

The poet understands the power of metaphor, not just the birds but the landscapes they inhabit, beginning with the tarmac that is replaced suddenly round a corner by ‘everlasting fields’ and the kotuku with its ‘rounded shoulders’. The poem is a tangible realisation of the journey through grief to the moment where in a transcendent and utterly beautiful image, the poet faces ‘directly into the sun’ where bird that is also the father is ‘rising, singing’. The whole work is superbly structured and delivers real emotional weight.

A second poem submitted by Darcy was equally impressive. ‘Think White’ is superbly crafted. The poet shapes the work around that introductory ‘Think…’ then proceeds to elaborate on three words: ‘candescent’, ‘ailment’ and ‘gleam’. The result is a highly sophisticated work, by a writer blessed with an acute sensitivity to language and an artist’s eye. The three sections are drawn together to form a tantalisingly elusive narrative, through colour and form. This is a young poet to watch.”

First prize in the Senior section was awarded to Caitlin O’Brien (Year 11 Columba College) for her poem ‘Body bags on the beach’. Fiona said,

“The image of bags like ‘huhu grubs’ on the sand is arresting, and the sense of coming awake in the morning round a cold fire is perfectly timed, with that pause before the final word ‘conscious’. It takes a small moment in someone’s life and uses language and poetic form to make it very special.”

Second prize in the Senior section was awarded to Judah Nika (Year 11 Otago Boys) for ‘Life comes life goes’ and third prize to Abi Barton (Year 13 Logan Park) for ‘The Survival’.

Second prize in the Junior section was awarded to Ella McBride (Year 9 Queen’s) for ‘Candy floss skies’ and third prize to Jessie Avison (Year 9 Queen’s) for ‘Book Fish’.

Further details and all the winning poems visit here.


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