Columns
Business in Southbank Image

Business in Southbank

Australian first hits DFO South Wharf
Read more >>

St Johns Southgate Image

St Johns Southgate

The pain of true beauty
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Red tape and further delays to amendments
Read more >>

Metro Tunnel

Tunnel boring machine assembly underway at Anzac Station
Read more >>

Federal Politics Image

Federal Politics

Why Magnitsky Act is important for Australia
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Short-stay abuse despite resident’s VCAT win
Read more >>

Southbanker Image

Southbanker

Not all a bed of roses
Read more >>

Port Places

Fishermans Bend: the first quarter 2019
Read more >>

Housing Image

Housing

We are leaving an intergenerational time bomb for our children
Read more >>

History Image

History

Building with Wunderlich
Read more >>

Safety and Security

Safety and Security Day
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Self-soothing: First Aid for when you’re stressed and burned out
Read more >>

Skypad Living Image

Skypad Living

Vertical living views – an agent’s perspective
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Some shade for Lashie
Read more >>

Southbank Fashion Image

Southbank Fashion

Spring racing in Southbank
Read more >>

Street Smarts Image

Street Smarts

Power Street – Southbank
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

City Rd death trap
Read more >>

The joy of winning

05 Feb 2020

The joy of winning Image

Words by Rhonda Dredge

Melbourne writer and academic, Amanda Johnson, won the prestigious Peter Porter Poetry Prize last month and she was present at a Southbank ceremony to read her winning poem.

The poem My Father’s Thesaurus is addressed to her dad who contracted Alzheimer’s.

Ms Johnson makes light of the topsy-turvy world he created for his family and carers.

“You watched the piano and played the sunset,” she read. “The district nurse was trying to poison you.”

When she and her mother drove him home from the test among paddocks and cattle, “we hung our heads and hid the report in the glove box.”

Ms Johnson said she would use the $9000 prize money to help bushfire victims or reforestation in the Otways.

Short-listed poets and their friends from around the country gathered quietly in the Assembly Hall at Boyd Community Hub for the announcement.

The prize is donated annually by the Australian Book Review (ABR), which has offices in Boyd.

The ABR poetry editor made a speech then the short-listers read from their work.

The poems were modest, possibly to suit the mood of the moment, for poetry, according to John Hawke, the ABR poetry editor, is in institutional decline.

He cited the threat to UWA Press and the removal of the chair of Australian literature at Sydney University.

“We’re seeing poetry disappear from Saturday newspapers,” he said.

Despite these gloomy observations, ABR received more than 1000 submissions for the annual prize.

Mr Hawke compared reading the submissions to listening into a national conversation.

“There is certainly an evident attention to pressing social issues, but the approach is deeper,” he said. “It’s not just polemic. In the best poems we received every detail is saturated with lived experience.”

Ross Gillett read from South Coast Sonnets, a series of poems in which the narrator and a friend were buffeted by winds in a coastal setting. “Call it the eternal southerly.”

They took a dusk walk. “Above us clouds were turning into scraps of themselves.”

Mr Gillett told Southbank News the poem was about Peterborough.

Julie Manning read Constellation of Bees, an informational and didactic poem about a beekeeper who visited her to capture native bees.

Others on the short list were Claire G. Coleman with That Wadjela Tongue and Lachlan Brown with Precision Signs.

Stay in touch with Southbank. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Southbank Local News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.