Tag Archives: Given Words

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Given Poems for National Poetry Day 2020 – the winners

GIVEN WORDS thanks everyone who sent their poem with the five words chosen from Las Moscas (‘Flies’) by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado. They received 144 poems and have made a selection from these to publish here on Given Words. The winning poems have been selected by the poets Mikaela Nyman, Jordan Jace and Charles Olsen. (You can read about them here.)

You can read the judges’ comments here.

GIVEN WORDS is delighted to announce the winning poets. The winner of Best Poem is Stuart Airey for his poem I am a Blue Whale Heart, and the winner of the Under-16 category is Sarah-Kate Simons for her poem Attic. They will receive books courtesy of Landing Press and The Cuba Press respectively as well as being translated into Spanish and published on Palabras Prestadas. More details of the book prizes can be found here. Congratulations from Given Words, Landing Press and The Cuba Press.



Below are the winning poems. You can read the judges’ selection of the rest of the poems from adults here and from under-16s here. All the entries had to contain the words: letter, childhood, fly (the animal), greedy and dream.

I Am a Blue Whale Heart

In this current re-make of me I am becoming the heart of a blue whale
I dreamt myself an angel but this wasn’t enough
He was wondrous but stuck
like a fly in amber

You can hear a whale heartbeat from 2 miles away
which is the distance I want to be from unleavened nurse smiles
and the choice of ensure or tube

No tampering with the drip lines
Friends I am un-distending
I wonder as my zipper finds free air
whether Eve had to eat the whole apple

I liked my angel
counting calories and grams together
his feather vane minutiae

A whale heart aorta is as big as a dinner plate
Why does food have such gravity?

My angel’s face was an open letter
to each whispered treatment
our greedy midnight exercises

A whale heart – blue – is as heavy as a Lion (adult, male)
which is exactly what you need
for beautiful dying

I wish I could take my angel’s place
sleeve my childhood into the wall

When a whale dives deep its heartbeat slows
slows in the black to 2 beats per minute
just 2 beats left to still to marble

 

Stuart Airey, Hamilton

Attic

all the days of childhood collected in sepia
photographs in the crevices of
the boards watching the greedy dust
descend to settle on their faces

age has curled up their edges into love hearts
like the shape she used to replace the dots on
her i’s; tiny lopsided hearts that flood the pages
of the stack of letters resting in the bottom of
the rickety suitcase, its faded travel stickers

peeling off and flaking away like the nails on fingers
pressed to an anxious mouth and these funny little
dreams of things swirl up like moths from the piles
of outgrown clothing and fill the air with their wing powder
turning the musty scent of forgotten things into a phantom

of lily of the valley; the lid of the harpsichord crammed against
the broken dollhouse is propped open on a sewing box
and in the murk of memories there’s a song tiptoeing up the keys
— or is it just the bluebottle fly scratching its wings
against the windowpane and whining to be set free

 

Sarah-Kate Simons, age 15, Canterbury

Stuart Airey lives in Hamilton with his wonderful wife and has three children who have mostly left home. He writes poetry as therapy or possibly for more perplexing reasons. He has been a Sarah Broom finalist and was shortlisted for the Julia Darling Memorial Prize. Stuart has been published in the Molotov Cocktail Journal with a short story and third place in the Shadow Poetry Award. These successes have managed to pay for several cups of coffee. He has dabbled in multi-media performance poetry and dreams of being a jazz pianist. His poem entry for given words is an honest attempt to enter the thoughts of those suffering from anorexia as well as being more widely read.

Sarah-Kate Simons is a 15 year old home-schooled girl from rural Canterbury. Her day job consists of schoolwork and volunteering at her local wildlife park, where she gets to walk the llamas. She loves to go on biking and tramping holidays with her family, and tries her hand at all sorts of arts and crafts. She is also the proud owner of a very naughty puppy named Missy.
Sarah-Kate eats, breathes and sleeps writing in all its forms—poetry, flash fiction, short stories and novels. She can often be caught talking to thin air as she tries to figure out time travel for her latest novel or peeking into nooks and crannies in search of her next poem.

Given Words poetry competition for National Poetry Day 2017 – the winners

 

Screen shot 2017-07-29 at 5.32.03 PM.png

 

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.