Shortlisted for the New Shoots Poetry Prize

I was shortlisted for the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016. The theme was for a plant of the author’s choosing. Mine was the grape vine :)

Below is the poem, since I don’t think it’s getting published anywhere by the organisers…

vitis vinifera

we don't differ wildly,
  grounded but growing up quickly,
tree climbers clawing for the sun
  chasing that eureka moment

and sometimes prevented: bent back,
  tied down or shuddered sideways,
a slavish twist to your cordons -
  'trained' too generous a word.

wonder were I to dig my toes in
  as beachgoers do at shoreline,
would they uncurl and plunge thirsty
  under waves of hostile season,

delve the dry depths for new vigour;
  burrow and blush all Cambrian
shades of this bedrock.
  would I, too, burst my buds in throes

of springtime swollen - green skin yearning
  to be stolen by hot veraison days;
feel my fruit soften to sugar
  when acids ask to dance

til they tumble into fist, crushed
  by human, harvest or happenstance
- ink bleeding between knuckles
  into barrique and sleep,

then    to glass
  and into mouths
  and into minds
  and mornings.


Won the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Prize

I won the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Prize (in the ‘open’ category) for 2016, with my poem ‘flower of distant season’.

Here is what the judges had to say:

‘We loved the way the poet wrapped a story around this artwork, addressing it directly, creating a relationship with it, whilst never becoming overly anthropomorphic.

Its unusual structure and line pattern, six by two lines, and the elegant use of enjambment carries the reader onto the next miniature verse, in a way reinforcing the individuality and delicacy of the panes of glass. A beautifully considered and crafted poem, worthy of the first prize.’

Thank you to the judges for awarding my first and only prize for poetry.

The poem was based on the art piece ‘I found you in the garden. Someone left you there’ by Hannah Bertram. You can see the art here. The poem had to be a maximum of 12 lines, which was more challenging that I expected, even though I don’t write ‘long’ poems.

Here is the poem:

flower of distant season

did you reflect on the possibility
 that your glass could still

bloom, gift organic beauty to grime,
 stack your chances on the mosses

that comspire to dress you?
 these layers were sand once, no

use denying it: your hue still
 hints ocean, but is opaque about

soft clarity of youth - fluids that
 moved you before winter overlapped,

etched a memory on stiffening skin
 some flower of distant season.