• Noel Rowe Poetry Award 2017: Shortlist and Winner

    Noel Rowe Poetry Award 2017 Shortlist

    Chris Armstrong – Silage
    Chris Brown – Hotel Universo
    Shey Marque – Keeper of the Ritual
    Audrey Molloy – Envy is a Daylily
    Kerri Shying – Know Your Country
    Thom Sullivan – Carte Blanche

    Winner: Thom Sullivan – Carte Blanche

    Judges: Vivian Smith, Jane Gibian, Elizabeth Allen.


    Chris Armstrong – Silage

    Bio Note: Chris Armstrong's poetry has appeared in numerous Australian literary journals including Griffith Review, Cordite, Foam:e, Overland and Plumwood Mountain. Chris was runner-up in the 2015 Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets and received an ASA Emerging Writers Mentorship in 2014 for the poetry manuscript The Watershed, which was published as a chapbook in March 2017. Chris originally trained as a journalist and holds a Master of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) from UoW.

    Judges’ Note: Chris Armstrong’s poems take their place in a long developing line of Australian bush, nature and wilderness poems, best seen in the work of Douglas Stewart and now brought up to date by the writer’s ecological awareness. They display a remarkable precision of observation and a clear direct voice, the language immediate and forceful.

    Saving cod
    Two fishermen
    on the tip of tongues of rock
    cast lures to the river
    with whip and flash
    silver cuts the air
    and my wildness
    snaps loose in a flinging arc
    above the pool of secret breathing.
    We whistle down the chute
    and slide by them
    with a tight-lipped motion
    deep paddle strokes
    and calling the cod to follow us
    to ease their slow bodies
    beneath the cover of our boat
    and together we escape
    quietly quietly down the river.



    Chris Brown – Hotel Universo

    Bio Note: Chris Brown is a poet and teacher living in Newcastle. His poems have appeared in Australian journals, newspapers and anthologies. He is a past winner of the Roland Robinson Literary Award for Poetry. His chapbook "slender Volume" is forthcoming (2017) from Bulky News Press.

    Judges’ Note: Chris Brown’s work was one of the more experimental volumes submitted. The poems contain many literary references and some sophisticated puns and excellent word play through out. They possess a delightfully cynical knowing voice intercut with self-awareness.

    tea leaves
    to lavender
    dregs to
    filter drip
    in tropic
    light to
    come in
    and burn
    sweep floor
    fix the tap
    Bottles set dogs
    off race out race home
    catch you in bed
    with no one
    pretend nothing
    ring mum
    Ask foregiveness
    when you do
    write to tv
    that wants
    so much
    of me
    tell world how busy
    tell you
    read breton
    read Breton
    forget milk
    Don’t go out
    now not now
    no leave it
    “go without”
    lift the dress
    lift bonnet
    write the poem
    look it up in the old pink
    pages dial number
    mark the page
    leave a message
    await reply



    Shey Marque – Keeper of the Ritual


    Bio Note: Shey Marque is an emerging poet from Perth, Western Australia, with a PhD in molecular pathology and MA in creative writing. A former medical research scientist, and literary program coordinator for The Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, she is currently Coordinator of Hospital Poets Australia as part of The Katharine Susannah Prichard Foundation Inc., and has research interests in the impact of poetry on state positive affect in the health workforce. Her poetry has been recognised through various awards, including twice winning the KW Treanor Poetry Prize, and is published in Australian literary journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Westerly, Meanjin and Award Winning Australian Writing. Her first chapbook, Aporiac, was published with Finishing Line Press, USA, in 2016.

    Judges’ Note: Shey Marque’s poetry is enjoyably lyrical and musical. It demonstrates an exciting use of Spanish and South American surrealism. The poems, several of which explore creativity and the creative process, have a strong individual voice with a lilting sense of rhythm.



    Occasional False Memories of Black Monday (19th October 1987)
    pillow, duvet, nap
    is not spoken — it’s a lure word to check if you’re awake
    awake to error, and prediction can be just as faulty as memory recall
    recall a grandmother crowned homecoming queen five decades late
    late is better than never, she says, after all it was the great depression
    depression is the stock market plummeting like a wingless plane
    plane crash? She does remember something falling from the sky
    sky is blue, morning is chilly, simply the start of another week
    week long a man is living inside a billboard, he waves to you
    you offer a pillow and for the homeless a donation of food
    food crops are failing in Ethiopia despite all that August rain
    rain won’t help Moscow’s potatoes, so they repurpose alcohol plants
    plants’ little straw skeletons stop the growth of tumour
    tumour leaves a first lady, she eats papaya, her left breast missing
    missing cellist Jacqueline du Pre already, she’s dying today
    today is still in the dark after a night of stormy weather
    weather man didn’t see it coming and will never live it down
    down spills from my newly-washed duvet split in two
    two trains collide in Jakarta, people left clinging to platforms
    platforms of oil in the Persian Gulf are set on fire by US
    US number one hit song from Michael Jackson is Bad
    bad planning loses our rain forest a world heritage status
    status of women’s legs rise with waistlines high on dresses
    dresses by Lacroix are ‘pretty, witty and gay’ says he
    he receives a pelting of carnations from the people
    people super-glue themselves to a security tower in protest
    protest at Pine Gap as a ten-year lease draws to a close
    close weave, texture, grain, shag, warp and woof, nap
    nap, yes, although I’m sure I heard sleep on your lips as well
    well one out of four words in this poem could be misleading




    Audrey Molloy – Envy is a Daylily

    Bio Note: Audrey Molloy was born in Dublin and grew up in Blackwater, County Wexford. She now lives in Sydney, where she works as a medical writer and editor. Her poetry has recently appeared in Australian Poetry Anthology, Orbis, Ink Sweat & Tears and Headstuff, and is forthcoming in Cordite and Overland. She was short-listed for the 2016 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year and for the 2016 Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets.

    Judges’ Note: Audrey Molloy’s varied and emotive collection focuses on mother-daughter relationships and skillfully explores the many dimensions of female experience and the life of the body. Along with moving poems about the ambiguous influence of institutional religion on children, the experience of depression, loss, and love, comes light-hearted satire on the trials of parenthood and growing up.


    The Speed of Dark

    I pour maple syrup into yogurt and swirl;
    the amber ribbon stretches, a frozen waterfall,
    from bottle to bowl
    and spirals into creamy oblivion—
    many centuries pass.

    I peg   unpeg   peg, three sizes of socks;
    they droop comatose, sailors on a penny-hang.
    Only my wits flap—
    the scene unchanged though ice caps
    melt. Freeze. Melt.

    I chop shiny apples and taut dark plums
    in seven-year shifts like sleeping cicadas.
    The blade is keen
    but my brain-edge dulls,
    needs grit to sharpen it.

    Just let me be while I swirl, peg, chop!
    Don’t rupture my flow with your turbine whine,
    your bicker and snot,
    your kicking like cornered foals.
    O darkness, come!

    On this black plain that stretches bare
    to all horizons like a lake at night,
    far behind me: three small trees
    twisted from earth into trunk and limb—
    they orient me.

    Days melt into their croques monsieur
    years fly by, thick as hungry bats
    but not the dark hours; the minutes stagger
    until sleep, when the clock swings to life
    like a metronome.




    Kerri Shying – Know Your Country

    Bio Note: I have three Roland Robinson awards and an Inclusion Award in the Hunter Region; I am disabled and run a free writing workshop with Octapod in Newcastle for writers with disability. I have some other poems accepted this year including in the Henry Kendall Poetry Award Anthology, and I was shortlisted in the Helen Ann Bell Bequest 2017 for a version of this book. I publish almost daily on the 365plus1 blogspot and have a small chapbook in the machinery with Mr Kit Kelen. I received the NSW Writers' Centre Grant for an Emerging Writer for this year. It pays for my kibble and my paper, and is a joy. I belong to the Wiradjuri people, with Chinese forbears. It gets complicated.

    Judges’ Note: Kerri Shying’s poems seem straightforward at first but build into a powerful and captivating whole. A vigorous exploration of the narrator’s Chinese and indigenous heritage, these poems are direct and immediate in their voice and form. These poems effectively explore the stresses of contemporary life alongside a deeper spiritual dimension.



    waken in the warm
    scent of yesterday’s tea

    holding to the curtains
    woven in the winter mornings

    where the raising goes
    harder   the gristle in me

    whinges I take the crutch
    of the blue sky the black

    and white peewits waiting
    at the boat ramp with the coffee
    and I rise


    Thom Sullivan – Carte Blanche

    [WINNER of the NRPA 2017-8]

    Bio Note: Thom Sullivan was born in 1982. He grew up on a farm in Wistow/Bugle Ranges in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia and studied Arts and Law at the University of Adelaide, and Social Science at Swinburne University, Melbourne. He had a short collection of poems, Airborne, published in New Poets 14 (Wakefield, 2009). Since then he has edited or co-edited seven published books of poetry. His poems have appeared in a range of books and journals, including The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc, 2014 & 2015), Australian Love Poems (Inkerman & Blunt), Cordite, Transnational Literature, Otoliths, Tincture, The Independent Weekly, Eureka Street and Australian Book Review (the 2016 South Australian 'States of Poetry' anthology). He lives in Adelaide, where he works in public policy.

    Judges’ Note: Sullivan presents a sharp collection of quietly spoken poems dealing with the complexities of human relationships in a vanishing world. The manuscript has considerable formal variety from spoken interior monologues and reflections to a series of imagistic notations. It also demonstrates a thoughtful and exciting use of punctuation and syntax.

    Summer Dam
    Long weeks, its eye crusts over,
    squinting hard against
    the noondays’ aching light –
    by late December, the hollow socket
    is plated shut by scales of yellow silt.
    Muzzling cattle dribble strings
    of hot saliva – their bellows
    echoing on into the haze.
    A mob of kangaroos
    hammers off across the paddock –
    riding the shoals of brittle grass,
    breasting them like waves.
    This poem was previously published in Eureka Street.



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