Poetry Shelf noticeboard: winners of 2021 Poetry New Zealand Student Poetry Competition

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Massey University Press is thrilled to announce that you can now read all the winning entries from the 2021 Poetry New Zealand Student Poetry Competition here.


The first prize winners will be published in Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2022, releasing in March next year. Congratulations again to all the winners of the competition, and thank you to everyone who entered. 

This year’s winners are:

YEAR 11:

FIRST: Jade Wilson ‘Café Vienna’: closely observed, drawing resonance from sensory detail, sustained & involving voice that creates intimacy.


SECOND: Jade Wilson ‘Balancing Shadows’: sustained image-focus & emotional resonance, & again showcased an arresting reflective voice.


THIRD: Kaia Nahi ‘The Hypnosis of the Flame’: gets a hypnotic & energetic effect from personification, & shows a real awareness of the compelling power of word choice.


COMMENDED: Frauke Haase ‘Little Stars’; Mandrie du Preez ‘untitled’; Mia Fraser ‘White Snow, White Wind, White Hair’.

YEAR 12:

FIRST EQUAL: Ocean Jade ‘Route Back Home’: some stunning intensity & rhythmic movement, vivid focus on evocative imagery, conveying a strong sense of voice, energy & story; AND Sarah Kate Simons ‘Gossip’: sustained use of dynamic form & imaginative focus to colourful & original narrative effect.


SECOND: Sarah Kate Simons ‘In Yourself’: power in sound-play & execution, exploring language & meaning with vibrant intelligence & sensory force.


THIRD EQUAL: Shima Jack ‘Develop & Structure’: extremely inventive form, used to potent ends to generate intensity & impact; AND Sarah Kate Simons ‘Hospital’: arresting connections in imagery, mature & graceful voice.


COMMENDED: Lily Stoddart ‘Living Beneath the Sky’ & ‘Shark Hour’; Ocean Jade ‘Jailbird’.

YEAR 13:

FIRST: Caitlin Jenkins ‘South’: electric attitude, rhythmically voiced, vividly detailed, with a tough tone of pride in its streets & its identity.


SECOND: Penelope Scarborough ‘Today I (my sister’s cigarettes)’: brave compelling piece that uses sustained structure to zero in on a story with sharp emotional impact, containing disturbing encounter through concrete detail; real intensity & heart in this story.


THIRD EQUAL: Amelia Kirkness ‘Unmaking my New Boots’: powerful metaphor at its core, observed with striking sensory skill & political awareness; AND Lucy Barge ‘Ever after’ & ‘Staining the Silence’: both lean honed & vibrant poems, making striking edgy use of form to generate intensity.


COMMENDED: Judy Fong ‘Steps’; Amelia Kirkness ‘Evil Make Believe’; Freya Turnbull ‘apology to the butterfly that lived’; John Pain Yesterday ‘When I stopped’; Grace Fakahau ‘4 tha culture’.

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