2016 Newcastle Poetry Prize Judges
John Jenkins: "Influential, as well as instructive, the NPP has helped to lift standards across the entire literary spectrum, and generally raise awareness of creative excellence in this country. The NPP emphasises the importance of locally based arts, too. As well as having a national reach, while generating work of international standard; its firmly places Newcastle as a hub of excellence. Thus, and very adroitly, the NPP helps decentralize the arts, at the same time as it fosters and re-distributes very fine work across the writing landscape."
Rod Usher: "Significant prizes such as the NPP, with its long history, are of critical value, less for the money they offer than for the way they bring poetry to public attention, and as a filter of quality. The fact that this competition can attract judges of the stature of those for this year´s prize indicates that the Newcastle is one of the nation´s most important, and that the University of Newcastle is a leader in maintaining its support for it."
Brook Emery, winner, 1999: "It is my impression that the Newcastle Poetry Prize is still widely regarded as the most important poetry prize in Australia. I certainly think of it in this way."
Join us October 22nd
to hear poems read live by
the finalists in the 2016
Newcastle Poetry Prize
- Australia's most prestigious poetry prize -
The Live Reading
will follow the prize ceremony
22nd October 2016
Watt Space Gallery
cnr King and Auckland Streets, Newcastle
The following awards will be announced by Andrew Parfitt, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Newcastle
First prize: $15 000
Second prize: $5 000
Third prize: $1 000
Local Award: $500
Harri Jones Memorial Prize (for a poet <35 years): $250
Hunter Writers Centre members' award: $200
Click to read the latest NPP newsletter
2015 Newcastle Poetry Prize winners and shortlist
Connective Tissue – Anthony Lawrence
Roman Sonnets – Jakob Ziguras
Two Blue Black crows – Shari Kocher
Winner, Local Award
Hospital Suite – Jean Kent
Winner, Hunter Writers Centre Members' Award
Seraphine Speaks – Jan Dean
and the following finalist poems were selected for the anthology:
(alphabetical order by title)
After the Storm – Luke Fischer
And the word ‘environment’ – Brook Emery
bail-time blues - Lauren Brady
By water and ground – Kevin Brophy
Charles Dodgson in Cheshire – John Jenkins
Counter-pastoral at 140 kph – Brett Dionysius
Father – Rod Usher
Father and Son - Benjamin Ward
Guinea Fowl – Todd Turner
Itinerant – Jo Gardiner
La Perouse - Myles Gough
Leopard Leper – Chloe Wilson
Mayday Lunatic Asylum – Jo Gardiner
On carrying: seven cledons – Felicity Plunkett
Saeculum aureum – Simeon Kronenberg
Seconds Before – Rod Usher
Skeleton Woman Writes a Letter – Shari Kocher
Snippets from a Soul Party – Patricia Sykes
Song Cycle of the Newly Divorced – Debi Hamilton
Songs in a Red Key – Felicity Plunkett
Taxonomy – Anthony Lawrence
Testament – Mary Jones
The Greater Silence – John Foulcher
The Stentman Sonnets – Ron Pretty
The Tent at Evening – John Jenkins
L to R: Shari Kocher, 3rd place; Professor Andrew Parfitt, Deputy Vice Chancellor, The University of Newcastle, Australia; Anthony Lawrence, 1st place, Newcastle Poetry Prize winner; Jean Kent, Local Award winner; Jan Dean, Hunter Writers Centre Members' Award; Lauren Daly, Harri Jones Memorial Prize winner for a poem by a poet under 36 years of age; Judith Beveridge, 2015 judge, Newcastle Poetry Prize.
Debi Hamilton, winner of the 2014 Newcastle Poetry Prize, spent her winnings on a month in Venice. Here is her Postcard from Venice:
Acquaalta and other fun things to do on a Monday.
Now that I have unpacked my suitcase and adapted to living through the heat of a Melbourne summer, I’ve had time to look at the emails and poems I produced on my recent month in Venice, thanks to the Newcastle Poetry Prize sponsor the University of Newcastle. The prize money allowed me the opportunity not only to take a month off, but also to slosh around in the tidal waters of an extraordinary city, getting drunk on history and spritz Campari.
The above was the title of an email I sent to a friend at the end of a day that started well before sunrise with an urgent alarm sounding over the whole city. I cannot imagine how I would have coped with my inability to read this city had I not had my iPad and Mr Google to hand. A little searching of the internet in the dark revealed that the alarm was a warning system for the acquaalta – a phenomenon which filled me with a sense of adventure, but for the locals only filled their shoes and houses with the cold water of a flood tide.
What can I possibly say about this wonderful month? Grazie, for a start. What were the highlights, I have been asked since my return. How long have you got? Renting an apartment in a city that is so ancient you don’t know how the building opposite your little writing room is still standing; discovering that restaurants could do things with seafood that were unforgettably good; asking, in appallingly amateurish Italian, for one of those orange drinks everyone seems to be knocking back on their way to work and falling in love with Campari; a whole month without cars; the sound of water against the wall outside in the night; the Peggy Guggenheim gallery; the outer islands of the lagoon; more art work than I could possibly digest; a whole month of never having to say my name; the delight and stimulation of trying to conduct my life in another language; walking for miles, riding the vaporetto for hours, having no appointments, being able to make each day up as it came. Oh, and the brightly-coloured overshoes I had to buy in order to wade through the acquaalta. I’ve brought them home. I’m ready for climate change.
Two further unexpected things occurred during that wonderful month. I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped, but quickly learned not to beat myself up - one of my writing friends put it beautifully when she said I was engaged in filling the well. The other thing was that our Prime Minister gave the Queen’s husband a knighthood. No. Sorry. That must have been a dream.
So, dear Hunter Writers Centre and University of Newcastle, mille grazie for the opportunity to replenish myself, refill the aquifer, put on several kilos, develop a new relationship with a lurid orange drink, write poems full of strange new things, and learn how to cope with the subtle rising water.
Poet Jean Kent, 2013 judge, interviewed by Karen Crofts, Director, Hunter Writers Centre (click 'play' below). Jean began by giving advice about what attracted the judges' attention and gives tips on entering the competition:
What makes an engaging poem? Jean discusses poetry. (click play)
Jean reads one of her poems (click play)