Dunedin’s young poets shine
We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Dunedin Secondary School Poetry Competition, judged by David Eggleton.
- First: Beth Lynch, Year 9, Logan Park High School, for “WW1“
- Second: Molly Crighton, Year 10, Columba College, for “Like so many shadows“
- Third: Christian Tucker, Year 12, John McGlashan College, for “Poem: 1 – 1“
One poem was highly commended: “Sunrise” by Molly Crighton.
Congratulations to Beth, Molly and Christian, and thank you to all who entered.
2015 Dunedin Secondary Schools Competition Judge’s Report, by David Eggleton, Editor of Landfall.
Firstly, congratulations to all the students who submitted entries to the 2015 Dunedin Secondary Schools Competition. Most were generally well written and some were excellent. Poetry is about what we feel, what we experience, using the best words we can to encompass that feeling, that experience, that knowledge. Reading the entries, I found that all the poets understood this, but some were better at putting this into practice, responding to the opportunities but also the demands of the craft, the demands on them as writers.
By this I mean that many poems began well, but a few lines in they started to stumble, to get tripped up by the high standards they set themselves, or by the difficulties of the metre, or the expectations of the rhyming schemes, or by an inability to resolve the patterns of imagery so that the poem made a satisfying resolution: got to where it wanted to go.
Subjects covered included families, pets, sports, funerals, lakes, the moon, the sea, sunset, and so on, often as mood pieces and I have to say that there were very few comic or light-hearted poems, most were grim, intense and even anxious in their concerns, and to some extent this is reflected in the finalist poems.
Poetry is a wonderful art form when done well. It gives us license to write lyrically about how strange the world really is and how wonderful it is without being laughed at or put down for it. Poems should be about wishes, dreams, colours, new ways of saying things, making discoveries, being inspired. We write poems to help us to explore and understand being alive.
So to the finalists and the prize-giving. These poems I found did best at ending as strongly as they had begun; they sustained their momentum, they used fresh and interesting imagery and they didn’t stumble or falter, or at least hardly at all in terms of what they set out to do. They are good poems, which stand up to being read again and again, and they also stand up to being read out loud. The literary future in the hands of young writers such as these looks bright and full of promise.
National Poetry Day has long been celebrated in Dunedin by a public event featuring well-known and award winning poets. This year the event was held on Friday 28 August 2015 and featured Dunedin’s David Eggleton, 2015 Burns Fellow Louise Wallace and Wellington poet and musician Hinemoana Baker.