A word from the judging panel

It was another productive year for our peer judges. Judging panel mentor Bec Pannell said, ‘I think it is worth noting that the panel really had to have deep conversations about the poems as many were in very close competition. I commend the members on their generous and sophisticated considerations and discussion, and their selection of poems against the criteria. All are keen to be members of the panel again!’

Overall the judges felt the standard was high. Those who had been on the panel last year felt there was a broader selection of topics and a strong sense of form and theme. Many of the poems captured the idea of transformation in different ways. The winning poem in the older group was thought to transform the reader themselves, whilst ‘Sad and Alone’ talked about both the transformation of use and of the object through time.

The poems inspired the judges to question and wonder about South Australian and other history, and our place in the past and the present. The panel felt that the poems really connected the reader through excellent word choice and imagery that touched us emotionally; even though they are poems about history, there were ways the poems connected us personally to the objects in the present.

The judges were impressed by the big ideas across the selection such as change, love, afterlife, gratitude, interdependency, friendship, politics, curiosity, impact on the environment, and women’s rights. There were so many unique and interesting poems that it was difficult to select only a few – the panel were surprised by the variety of excellent poems, especially some in the younger age range.

‘We would like to make mention of ‘A Tale of Time’, ‘They Twirl They Twist and Leap’, ‘The Royal Adelaide Show’, The City and The Creek’ and ‘1928 Ford Model A Tourer’. We felt that they were excellent poems that really connected to the theme and the objects and we wish there were more prizes to award’.

Many thanks to our 2021 Poetry Takeover Peer Judges

Niya Singhal
Mali Harkin-Noack
Lucy Hay
Shayla Retnaraja

Enjoy all the winning entries in our special glideshow

2021 History Festival Poetry Takeover Winners