What the judges said

As a panel we had diverse views and came from different cultural backgrounds and ages – this was a wonderful thing for us and a great opportunity to expand our own horizons.

We were impressed with the overall quality of the poems – and the connection of many of them to the theme of “change”. We were particularly affected by the poems exploring relationship to country, memory, loss, and responsibility. We noted that several poems tried to make sense of the human lifecycle by connection to objects such as toy buckets and teddy bears, and to the evolution of human technology and the passing of time through obsolete equipment.

The panel appreciated the poems that captured smaller everyday moments – an afternoon at a football match when we all come together to barrack, the Australian obsession with our automobiles, a tense horse race, and a pair of shoes that symbolise the complexities of race in Australia.

In the end, the poems – fought over and argued for – that we chose for prizes did three things really well:

  • They used poetic devices to connect to the reader and expand the idea of change
  • They explored big ideas – sometimes with a small object such as chewing gum and sometimes with the eternal and immeasurable night sky
  • They had unique voices that resonated with the panel in clever or emotional ways

The panel would like to make special mention of the quality, sophistication and depth of the first and second prize poems from the years 4-6 bracket. They could have sat within the 7-8 age range comfortably.

In closing, we feel privileged to have had the opportunity to read, consider, and judge this wonderful selection of poems from our peers in South Australia – please keep writing and thinking – we need brave voices like yours to provoke us, give us new perspectives, and to connect us to the things that matter.

We sincerely hope that this is a new tradition – some of us are inspired to write for the 2021 Poetry Takeover!

Enjoy all the winning entries in our special glideshow

2020 History Festival Poetry Takeover Winners