ACT Poetry Prize 2003-2014

2013

In 2013 the ACT Poetry Prize was awarded for an outstanding poem written by an ACT-based poet. One hundred and twenty eight (128) entries were submitted. They were judged by a panel of poetry peers which included Ms Maureen Bettle, Associate Professor Paul Magee and Dr Adrian Caesar.

The winner was well-known Canberra poet and writer Lesley Lebkowicz, who received a cash prize of $3000 for her poem Inside. Two poems were shortlisted and received a prize of $1000 each. They were Emily Kngwarreye by Elizabeth Lawson and Stabat Mater by Libby Porter.

The poems are reproduced below with the permission of ArtsACT.

Inside by Lesley Lebkowicz (Winning Entry)

Outside the women’s room avenues unfurl
and the city floats away.
In the ward they are each other’s world.
One woman announces, over and over,
The doctor says my bones are chalk.
She speaks with shock and pride that such
a thing should choose her: a savage miracle.
Inside her, bone sheared off from itself like
limestone in a private landslide – and she fell.
Visitors arrive with fruit and DVDs.
Like the doctors they’re upright.
They talk and are loved but it’s each other
the women watch: only they know
how bones collapse like bamboo scaffolding
in some country far away.

Stabat Mater by Libby Porter (Shortlisted Entry)

He was sixteen and a half
you said.
Like small children, who announce
their slow-lived years
In fractions,
wanting to compress the days
running up to that next lovely number.

Whereas for you,
If you could stretch them
endlessly
and make a lifetime of sixteen and a half,
you would.

For you
the sweet half is the final fraction,
seventeen an affront.
There is no rounding up
to the beautiful prime.

Emily Kngwarreye by Elizabeth Lawson (Shortlisted Entry)

Her studio is kids, dogs, brushes, earth and light,
under-breath song water over pebbles.

Her eyes shine sky. Desert-swirl
centres her canvas. No other compass.

Minute hands lift to scatter Milky Ways,
desert dots pulsing red red earth.

Her now is infinite distance,
points of colour veiling story in story,

her nearest meaning
yam, rock, bird-prints,

frail eggs breaking open.
Women are gathering everlastings,

Ahalkere’s trillion stars,
while somewhere galleries

ripple and crack, pester
which way to hang galaxies?

Emily glances up.
Down.

Your business. I paint.

2012

Following a review of the ACT Poetry Prize, the ACT Government developed a number of initiatives to support poetry activities in the ACT.

  • A new ACT Poetry Prize. This prize, for a single poem, will be available to ACT-based poets and is valued at a total of $5,000 ($3,000 for the winner and $1,000 for two runners-up). Entries will open later this year.
  • A Centenary Poetry in ACTION program. Poetry in ACTION, which sees poems by Canberra based artists placed on buses, has been operating for some years. For 2013, ten poems with a Canberra 100 theme will be selected directly from the Canberra community to appear on buses during the Centenary year. The successful poets will each receive $500. Entries will open later this year.
  • Youth Poetry Slams beginning 2013 in ACT schools, valued at $10,000.

To accommodate these new initiatives the previous ACT Poetry Prize categories is no longer offered.

2011

Click the hyperlinked title to read the manuscript poem in PDF, or to find the publication in the ACT Public Library. Our thanks to ArtsACT for permission to reproduce the poems.

Rosemary Dobson Award

David Campbell Award

Judith Wright Award

Alec Bolton Award

for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet 

for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet 

for a published collection by an Australian poet

for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winner (joint)
Lang, Kristen.
PDF version of Goodbye is too small a word

Murphy, Lizz.
The Architecture of Pear

Winner
Cliff, Paul.
PDF version of Rosalie Gascoigne

WinnerShelfield, Anne.
You can only get so close on google earth

WinnerChevalier, Julie.
Darger - a sequence of poems
Commended
Dunne, Lyle.
Cattle Grids

Holt, Lucy.
Shark

Lintermans, Tony.
The Evidence

CommendedColeman, David.
Last coffee

Page, Geoff.
Immanuel

Commended
Holt, Lucy.
Patience, Mutiny

Nicholson, Anna Kerdijk.
Possession

Potter, Claire.
Swallow

White, Petra.
The Simplified World

CommendedKeates, Carmen.
Second-Hand Attack Dog

Lawrence, Anthony.
The Unfairground

Lintermans, Tony.
The World was Rumour

2010

Click the hyperlinked title to read the manuscript poem in PDF, or to find the publication in the ACT Public Library. Our thanks to ArtsACT for permission to reproduce the poems.

Rosemary Dobson Award

David Campbell Award

Judith Wright Award Alec Bolton Award

for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet

for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet

for a published collection by an Australian poet

for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winner
Slattery, Andrew.
Always Sometimes Never

Winner (joint)
Lance, Robyn.
The world inside their hide

Cottier, P.S.
Visitation

WinnerBoyle, Peter.
Apocrypha
WinnerPattionson, Jillian.
The Infinite Library

Highly Commended
Pattionson, Jillian.
The Infinte Library.(unavailable at reqest of author)

 Highly CommendedAlbiston, Jordie.
the sonnet according to 'm'
Highly CommendedMiller, Mark.
Scanning the Horizon

Commended
Kelsall, Alana.
The One Room

Leber, Michelle.
My Curious Plague of Flowers

CommendedCliff, Paul.
Salmon Trout, Moruyah Heads

Edgar, Suzanne.
An Argument

 Commended
Plunkett, Felicity.
Vanishing Point

Jones, Emma
The Striped World

CommendedTredinnick, Mark.
Rules for Walking

Shortlisted
Cronin, MTC.
POWER LAWS

Liversidge, Ray.
The lawn

Stokes, John.
After rain in various guises along Bell's Line of Road

Treddinick, Mark.
Rain at Eltham

ShortlistedShortlistedHammial, Philip.
Skin Theory

Hawthorne, Susan.
Earth's Breath

 

2009

Click the hyperlinked title to read the manuscript poem in PDF, or to find the publication in the ACT Public Library. Our thanks to ArtsACT for permission to reproduce the poems.

Rosemary Dobson Award

David Campbell Award

Judith Wright Award

Alec Bolton Award

for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet 

for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet

for a published collection by an Australian poet

for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winner
Lim, Debbie.
Fossil of Emerging Trilobite

Winner
Clutterbuck, Charlotte.
Why I Still Go To Church

WinnerHolland-Batt, Sarah
Aria

Winner
Slattery, Andrew.
The Severant

  

Highly CommendedOwen, Jan.
Poems 1980-2008

Highly CommendedHolt, LK.
Patience Mutiny

CommendedSlattery, Andrew.
Cleanse

Capes, Ashley.
Small Town

CommendedUnikowski, Isi.
At the Broinowski Gate

  

Shortlisted
Pattinson, Jillian.
Octoberman

Disney, Dan.
On Regarding Kant's Statue

Kroll, Jerri.
Vanishing Point

Shortlisted
Hampton, Susan.
How Fugues Work

Foulcher, John.
Home Truth

Shortlisted
Brooks, David.
The Balcony

Harrison, Martin.
Wild Bees : New and Selected Poems

Polain, Marcella.
Therapy Like Fish : New and Selected Poems

Steele, Peter.
White Knight with Beebox : new and Selected Poems

ShortlistedLeach, Roland.
My Father's Pigs

Cahill, Michelle.
Vishvarupa

2008

Click the hyperlinked title to read the poem in PDF. Our thanks to ArtsACT for permission to reproduce the poems.

Rosemary Dobson Award

David Campbell Award

Judith Wright Award

Alec Bolton Award

for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet

for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet

for a published collection by an Australian poet

for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winner
Jackson, Andy.
Secessionist

Winner
Kambaskovic-Sawers, Danijela.
A Migrant Writer on A Bus (Thinking of Kundera)

WinnerHill, Barry.
Necessity - Poems 1996-2006

Winner
Musgrave, David.
Phantom Limb

  

Highly CommendedHarry, J S.
Not Finding Wittgenstein

Highly CommendedKennedy, Cate. 
The Taste of River Water

Kent, Jean.
Travelling with the Wrong Phrase Book

CommendedBuck, Anna.
A Council House in Heaven
Cliff, Paul. 
Snake-Man (La Perouse)
CommendedLawson, Elizabeth.
On the Undoing of Buttons
Magee, Paul.
Like words laid down in sleep
CommendedWattison, Meredith.
Basket of Sunlight
White, Petra.
The Incoming Tide
 

Shortlisted
Andrews, Chris.
By Accident
Compton, Jennifer.
Approaching Firenze
De Laine, John.
Field Mouse
Kerr, Joan.
Gobray, bunhan bunahan, khen
Livings, Edward.
Tawny Frogmouth
Shepherdson, Nathan.
Unlike

ShortlistedLebkowicz, Lesley.
The Spy, Volodya Petrov, leaves his home...
Pacey, Moya. 
The Wardrobe
Page, Geoff. 
Dancing in a Paper Hat
Shapley, Maggie.
Changdeokgung

Shortlisted
Campbell, Elizabeth.
Letters to the Tremulous Hand

Ryan, Brendan. 
A Paddock in his head

ShortlistedLeach-Pahloski, Carolyn.
The Sorrow Bird

Ryan, Tracy.
The Argument

2007

Click the hyperlinked title to read the poem in PDF.

Rosemary Dobson Award

David Campbell Award

Judith Wright Award

Alec Bolton Award

for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet

for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet

for a published collection by an Australian poet

for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winner
Shenfield, Ann.
You Can Only Get So Close on Google Earth

Winner
Lebkowicz, Lesley Fowler.
The Good Air

Joint WinnersKelen, S K.
Earthly Delights
Fahey, Dianne.
Sea Wall & River Light

Winner
Knight, Karen.
From a Glass Kennel

   Highly CommendedShenfield, Ann.
Raised Signs

Shortlisted
Owen, Jan.
Notre Dame
Krien, Anna.
Breaking the LeaseFahey, Dianne.
Breath
Compton, Jennifer.
Regret

ShortlistedLello, Miranda.
Copan, The Ruins
Magee, Paul.
Pineapple Fish

Shortlisted
Rowland, Robyn.
Silence and Its Tongues
Cahill, Michelle.
The Accidental Cage

ShortlistedZajkowski, Maria.
From an Island

2006

Rosemary Dobson Award

David Campbell Award

Judith Wright Award

Alec Bolton Award

for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet

for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet

for a published collection by an Australian poet

for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winner
Mahood, Kim.
The Burned Town

Winner
Smith, Melinda.
Given

WinnerHampton, Susan.
The Kindly Ones

WinnerDougan, Lucy.
White Clay

Shortlisted
Stokes, John.
Three Days on the D'Entrecasteaux Channel 
Smith, Melinda.
Given

ShortlistedCeasar, Adrian.
Jazz Elegy

Fowler, Lesley.
The Rage for Air

Shortlisted
Caesar, Adrian.
High Wire

Gould, Alan.
The Past Completes Me 

Savige, Jaya.
Latecomers

ShortlistedMiddleton, Kate.
Fire Season

Skovron, Alex.
Autographs : 56 poems in prose

2005

Rosemary Dobson Award

David Campbell Award

Judith Wright Award

Alec Bolton Award

for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet

for an unpublished poem by an ACT poet

for a published collection by an Australian poet

for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winner
Metcalf, Tom.
The Good Hope

Winner
Lawson, Elizabeth.
Blue Poles

Joint WinnerBurns, Joanne.
Footnotes of a Hammock
Day, Sarah.
The Ship

Winner
Williams, Carmel.
The Butcher’s Window

Highly Commended
Lawson, Elizabeth.
Poems for a Mother

Highly CommendedKituai, Kathy.
Imagine

  
CommendedLeach-Paholski, Carolyn.
A Modern History of the EarPage, Geoff.
QuattrocentoErwin, Russell.
But Isn’t

Commended
Caesar, Adrian.
De-tox

Edgar, Suzanne.
The Ring Maker
Page, Geoff, QuattrocentoUrsich, Brian, Brief

Commended
Thwaites, Michael.
Unfinished Journey

 

Shortlisted
Fahey, Dianne.
Mirrors
Gillam, Kevin James.
Note By NoteLawson, Elizabeth.
Three Ages of Dugong

Shortlisted
Erwin, Russell.
But Isn’t
Erwin, Russell.
The Builder’s Mate
Lawson, Elizabeth.
Namadgi Argument

Shortlisted
Sykes, Patricia.
Modewarre : Home Ground

ShortlistedEberhard, Adrienne.
The Anatomy of Desire
Leach-Paholski, Carolyn.
Sermon for a Bird
Mercer, Gina.
Handfeeding the Crocodile
Oxley, Louise.
Open Water
Wakeling, Louise.
Paragliding in a War Zone
Yu Ouyang.
Terminally Poetic

2004 ACT Poetry Award for unpublished poets


Winner

Geoff Page, Geoff, The Stalinists, the Taliban

Shortlisted

Abbot, Mathew. HieroglphBarbalet, Margaret. Drought and Crow, 4pmCrawford, Annie. Country and Pnomh Penh
Crawford, Annie. TorsoHetherington, Paul. AbschiedMartiniello, Jennifer Avriel. At GungahlinPage, Geoff. Remembering the Future

2003

WinnerWebb, Jennifer. The eternity know

Highly CommendedHetherington, Paul. The place of waterKituai, Kathy. If only
Kiraly, Eulea. Diamonds

All four poems published in Muse no. 235 Feb. 2003, ACTHL Location: H 700.99471 MUSE