FAW NSW Jean Stone 2016 Poetry Award: Judge’s Report

FAW NSW Biennial Awards

I very much enjoyed reading the entries for this year’s Jean Stone Award. The following poems were short-listed:

# 8 ‘Breathe’
#10 ‘Scattering’
#64 ‘House sitting’
#11 ‘Horse-power’

Of these #8 ‘Breathe’ was chosen as the winner of the Award.

It was quite challenging to arrive at a short list of four for this award, as the best of the poems were of a high standard that is, they were ambitious and used the resources of language in an interesting way. By ambitious I mean that the poets all reimagined the world in an original way, they had something to say and said it precisely. This is particularly evident in the winning poem, ‘Breathe’, which begins with an injunction to breathe the breaths of our country, animals, plants, ancient to modern culture. This is not a common idea and it enables us to re-imagine our (local) world in a physical way which brings with it reflection and understanding.

‘Scattering’ describes a related close attention to the world. ‘House sitting’ takes an apparently small thing (of the title) and draws us into the story and location as does ‘Horse-power’.

Many thanks for inviting me to judge the Jean Stone Award. My congratulations go to all those who entered – we need our poets now, more than ever.

With best wishes
Chris Mansell


Posted in Competition Results