Scrawl Poetry Highly Commended Selections

vicbooks’ Scrawl Poetry Competition on National Poetry Day

Of the many entries we had (almost 200) our judge, Jenny Bornholdt, selected these five poems for high commendations.

Chunuk Bair by Jessica MacKenzie
Poetry by Selina Powell
Daybreak by Selina Powell
Grandma by Birgitta Swanberg
Daylight by Genevieve Fowler

Jenny had this to say of her choices:

“I chose these poems because in each of them, the writer has successfully ‘made’ a poem out of thought, or experience, rather than just setting those things down on a page. These poems have been ‘written’. Attention has been paid to language and to the shape of the poem and to the way the words behave within the poem. These poems don’t ‘say’ what they’re about – they approach things from different directions, they are surprising , odd, inventive and unsettling.”

Special mention should go to Selina Powell who, through the anonymous process of judging, had two poems selected. We don’t have much in the way of funds for prizes for the highly commended selections but we’ve put together some books and free coffees for these entrants.

Congratulations Selina , Jessica , Birgitta and Genevieve.

Chunuk Bair by Jessica MacKenzie

You think of him
in terms of things you know;
a cross between
your dad and grandpa,
tall and strong, dark hair,
brown eyes and a thick black moustache
above his upper lip;
a little cynical,
witty, clever, a family man,
porridge for breakfast
and mutton for tea,
and then you think of The War.

You think of mud
and holes you dug,
the smell of hot metal
and straining barbed wire fences,
the rabbit you shot yesterday
with your birthday .22
and how easily the skin peels off,
and the thickness of the blood.
You think of the taste
of moldy bread,
and the smell of dead rats
in the walls in winter,
and the sound your brother made
when the horse caved in his cheek one day,
and how it didn’t heal
quite right.

Poetry by Selina Powell

A man tries to escape poetry
but poetry escapes him. Her room is empty

a paper rope
hanging out the window.

He hears of her in conversation –
salon worker by day, blues singer by night

her stage name is Cliché. Every so often
he catches a glimpse of her at the traffic lights

throwing words like lassos from her van, saying something
about a bat out of hell, clear as the light of day.

daybreak by Selina Powell

day breaks bird song
day breaks the mountains
day breaks the braided river
day breaks the kauri trees
takes their fronds and copies
their patterns on the forest floor
day splits the clouds into cookie cut outs
each heart trying to find its armadillo
each mermaid trying to find her car

day breaks a window
then a shadow
lying across your oblivious
sleeping hand day rolls sleeves back
saunters across lawn
and day breaks the sleep of my dog
dreaming his dog
twitching dreams

day acquires super powers and is several places at once
day moves so fast day breaks the speed of sound
and approaches the speed of light
but cannot break its
all time personal record

when day goes swimming
day doesn’t get wet the water gets day
day invented water day’s hidden talent
is invisibility day has the greatest poker face
of all time day is Luke Skywalker’s
real father day does not sleep
day waits day waits for

Grandma by Birgitta Swanberg

on a dark winter’s morning.
A small jar of bright orange ecstasy,
glowing on the bench.
Sweet, succulent peaches,
savored perfection.
A moment of sadness,
reflected in the glass.
When you’re gone,
who will preserve summer?

Daylight by Genevieve Fowler

We had life by candlelight
in musky dark,
by great gulps and kisses –

and the sunshine’s just fine, now.
Just lovely.

I’m just
getting used to the daylight.

We want to thank Booksellers NZ  for their kind help in supporting this competition, and for their grand organising efforts for National Poetry Day.

and for their support of student writing.


3 thoughts on “Scrawl Poetry Highly Commended Selections

  1. Janet Keen says:

    Yes like the choices.. I have cut and pasted them into my poetry collection as examples of writing I resonate with. They have inspired me to write some haiku about my recent trip to Noosa .
    I know a poem is dead to me when I don’t feel like writig one back in reply.

    Cheers Janet Keen


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