Showing all posts tagged: poetry

Edgar Kunz: how long does poetry stay in the minds of readers?

19 September 2023

Baltimore based American teacher and poet Edgar Kunz writes about the hardships of making a living as a poet, while also wondering how long his poetry will stay with his readers:

I’ve been using my writing to hustle a life: a place to live, a salary, some measure of stability. But poetry resists those interests. It’s not about hustling. It’s not about productivity. It’s not even, in the end, about making anything. Most of us will have little to show for the hours we spend at the desk. Hardly any of our poems will be read in twenty or thirty years.



Poets Theodore Ell, Harry Reid, win 2022 Anne Elder Award

13 May 2023

Canberra based Australian translator and author Theodore Ell, and Melbourne based writer Harry Reid, have been named joint winners of the 2022 Anne Elder Award.

Established in 1977, the award is named for late Australian poet, and former Borovansky Ballet dancer, Anne Elder, who died in 1976, and is presented for the first published book by an Australian poet. Beginning in Sight, by Ell, and Leave Me Alone, by Reid, where published in 2022.

Ell was on a diplomatic posting in Lebanon in 2020, with his wife, at the time of the catastrophic Port of Beirut explosion. Although both survived the blast, the house they lived in was destroyed. Ell wrote an essay, Façades of Lebanon, about the incident, which won the 2021 Calibre Essay Prize.


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Jarad Bruinstroop wins unpublished poetry 2023 Val Vallis Award

3 May 2023

Some late news to hand, Jarad Bruinstroop has been named winner of the 2023 Val Vallis Award for unpublished Australian poetry, with a poem titled Fragments on the Myth of Cy Twombly.

Bruinstroop’s debut collection of poetry, Reliefs, is due to be published by the University of Queensland Press later this year.


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The 2023 David Harold Tribe Poetry Award

4 April 2023

Entries are open until Monday 29 May 2023 for the 2023 David Harold Tribe Poetry Award. With a prize of twenty-thousand dollars, it is Australia’s richest award for original, unpublished, poetry of up to one-hundred lines in length. David Tribe was an Australian humanist and writer who died in 2017.

The prize was created in 2005 as part of the David Harold Tribe Awards, to recognise excellence in Australian fiction, poetry, philosophy, sculpture, and symphony, with a prize for each segment being awarded every five years. In 2018, the last time the poetry award was presented, Grace Heyer and Ella O’Keefe were named joint winners.

More information about the prize, and how to enter, can be found here.


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2023 Val Vallis Award for unpublished poetry entries open

8 February 2023

Entries are open for the 2023 Val Vallis Award for an unpublished poem, until Sunday 26 February 2023. Named in honour of late Queensland poet, lecturer, and opera critic Valentine Vallis, who died in 2009, the award recognises unpublished works, by Australian poets, of no more than eighty lines.

Dan Hogan, a poet based on the NSW Central Coast, won the 2022 award with a work titled Aduantas.

Update: the 2023 award winner was named on Tuesday 2 May 2023.


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A poet laureate will need to bolster interest in Australian poetry

4 February 2023

By 2025 Australia will have a poet laureate, who will presumably be selected and appointed by the proposed Writers Australia peak body. As with many aspects of the National Culture Policy which was unveiled last Monday though, details remain thin on the ground for now.

For instance, how long would an incumbent serve, and what exactly would their role be? Poetry, certainly in Australia, is a niche form of literature, given less than five percent of the population chooses to partake of written rhyme, so one of the mandates of an Australian poet laureate would be to bolster interest in local poetry.

This is something Sarah Holland-Batt, professor of creative writing and literary studies at Queensland University of Technology, advocated for when making submissions to the National Cultural Policy:

“An Australian poet laureate would elevate the status of Australian poetry domestically and internationally,” Holland-Batt says. “Australian literature can struggle on the world stage so there would be a soft diplomacy element to it.” She said the laureate would be an advocate for Australia and Australian writing and the benefits would be beyond only poetry. “It would be a big boost for Australian literature to have someone with that authority invested by the state.”


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Poetry by American poet laureate Ada Limon headed for Jupiter

3 February 2023

Now if Australia had a poet laureate, which it will by 2025, perhaps their work would be winging its way through interplanetary space towards Jupiter. Instead, verse composed by American poet laureate Ada Limón, will be engraved on Europa Clipper, a NASA space probe scheduled for launch in October 2024, to study Europa, one of the giant planet’s largest moons.

The spacecraft is set to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in October 2024 and by 2030, it will be in orbit around the gas giant. It will conduct multiple flybys of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, to gather detailed measurements and determine if the moon has conditions suitable for life. Europa is thought to contain a massive internal ocean and is considered one of the most promising habitable environments in our solar system, beyond Earth.


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The National Cultural Policy and the role of Writers Australia

1 February 2023

Among initiatives announced this week in the Australian federal government’s National Cultural Policy, is the formation of Writers Australia, a body that will, according to the policy document, “provide direct support to the literature sector from 2025.” Writers Australia will be part of a new peak arts investment and advisory body to be called Creative Australia, which will represent an overhaul of the current Australia Council for the Arts.

While the finer details are still to be made public, it is known Writers Australia will, among other things, administer the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and make appointments to the (kind of) newly formed role of Australian poet laureate.

It can also be presumed Writers Australia will work to address remuneration for Australian authors, who according to recent research earn about A$18,000 per annum for their work. Australian workers need to earn at least A$25,675 per annum to be living above the poverty line. The income of local writers is a point underlined by Sophie Cunningham, Chair of the Australian Society of Authors (ASA):

“We’re thrilled to see the Government’s affirmation that artists and authors should be paid fairly for their work. This is fundamental to a fair and sustainable arts sector. As I and many other authors made clear in our submissions to Government, authors do not fall under the protection of awards or industrial agreements and, as freelancers, have to negotiate on a case by case basis to be paid fairly. We welcome the recognition of the ASA’s recommended minimum rates of pay in cultural policy.”

While supporting writers and literary organisations through funding, Writers Australia will take a proactive role in boosting incomes for writers and book illustrators, by raising their profile, and growing local and international audiences for their books. One way of achieving this could be to encourage broader promotion of Australian literary awards, in the same way the British publishing industry enthusiastically backs the Booker Prize.

In the meantime poetry can look forward to more prominence in Australia, through the creation of a poet laureate, an appointment Writers Australia will make. There has not been an Australian poet laureate since 1818, when Michael Massey Robinson, a British convict, held the role for about two years.

Poetry is a poorly appreciated form of literature in Australia, with just three and a half percent of local book readers indicating they are inclined to read works of poetry, according to recent research by Amazon Kindle.

Dropbear, a collection of poetry by Melbourne based author Evelyn Araluen, and winner of the 2022 Stella Prize, had sold in the order of fifteen thousand copies as of August 2022. In comparison, Apples Never Fall, by Sydney based novelist Liane Moriarty, was the bestselling book in Australia, with sales of just under two-hundred thousand copies, in 2021.


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Vale Australian poet Antigone Kefala

6 December 2022

Antigone Kefala, an Australian poet of Greek-Romanian heritage, died on Sunday 4 December 2022, aged 92. Kefala was only two weeks ago named winner of 2022 Patrick White literary award.


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Antigone Kefala wins 2022 Patrick White literary award

27 November 2022

Antigone Kefala, an Australian poet of Greek-Romanian heritage, has been named winner of the 2022 Patrick White Award.

In 1973 Patrick White became the first Australian author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and he used the prize money to create an award for Australian writers. The winning author is usually an established writer who administrators of the prize feel has been not been adequately recognised during their career. Further, the winner is selected, rather than being nominated, so the prize could — in a sense — be regarded as a lifetime achievement award.

If you’re a fan of poetry, and aren’t familiar with Kefala’s work, now might be the time to become acquainted with her free-form verse, that has variously been described as “minimalist” and having an “almost metaphysical detachment.”


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