A poem with strong imagery and a twist at the end has won the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition. Yuval Says by Elizabeth Honey took out the top prize of $150. Second prize of $100 went to This Magic Night by Neridah McMullin and Jenny Erlanger won the $50 third prize for Footloose.
Who is Outside? by Jodie Davidson and Orang-utan Crying by Ken Williams were highly commended and special mentions were made of Not Out by Neridah McMullin, Goldfish Troubles by Melanie Hill and I Am Fire by Marsala Strachan.
The competition, sponsored by Dianne Bates, attracted 61 entries from around the country. Judge Claire Saxby said it was fascinating to have the opportunity to read work from such a wide range of poets.
“Poetry is a wonderful form that has the power to provoke and entrance. It is a fabulous playground for everyone who loves words,” said Claire.
“There was a wide range of topics explored in this competition, from the global to the very personal. Some were very serious, others were funny. The winners offered poems full of imagery and story, used poetic devices well and used the right words in the right places.
“Congratulations to each and every entrant for their hard work, imagination, playfulness and sincerity.”
In her report Claire noted that many poems started strongly but lost their way or weren’t completely finished.
“Sometimes it was the grammar, spelling and punctuation that was distracting,” she said. “In other cases, the end didn’t match or answer the beginning. Poems should end as strongly as they begin.
“Titles work best when they add an extra layer to the poem. Some titles also appeared in first and/or last lines – diminishing their strength.”
Rhyme was used in the vast majority of poems and Claire offered advice for poets choosing this form of expression.
“When done well, rhyme is a powerful tool,” she said. “Rhyme is like the icing on a cake – to be considered only after the baking is done, the cake cooled and the layers assembled.
“Rhyme challenges seen here included: ‘convenient rhymes’ where words were inserted more for their sound than their appropriateness; and ‘inversions’ where sentences were arranged to suit the rhyme scheme rather than the content.
“In other poems, rhyme limited the arrangement of lines. Rhythm within these rhyming stanzas was also sometimes uneven. Reading work out loud can help, but it can be even more helpful to someone else read the poem out loud. Then the poet can hear where the rhythm needs more work.”
The winning, commended and special mention poems will each be featured as a Poem of the Day, accompanied by the judge’s comments.
All entrants will receive the judge’s comments on their submissions.
Competition results also appear in BuzzWords Magazine.