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School students nationwide invited to write a poem about Canberra

By johnboy 15 May 2009 55

I’m not sure this is a good idea.

Chief Minister Stanhope has announced that the The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards will include a Centenary Of Canberra section in which students across the country will be invited to write a poem about what they think of their nation’s capital.

    The award is for the best poem ‘telling your story about the nation’s capital and how Canberra tells Australia’s story’.

    Mr Stanhope particularly encouraged ACT students to get involved and to write about their city and what it means to all Australians.

    “The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards consistently attracts more than 11,000 entries from around the country and this is a unique way of engaging school children at this early stage in the lead up to the city’s 100th birthday,” Mr Stanhope said.

We can only hope the local students make the most of the opportunity.

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55 Responses to
School students nationwide invited to write a poem about Canberra
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Granny 5:34 pm 21 May 09

Oh, no – the one that would have been Mauritius, absolutely!

Clown Killer 5:22 pm 21 May 09

I was going to say, when I first met her she lived in Mauritius … but I’m guessing you’re talking about post #46

Granny 5:18 pm 21 May 09

It had excellent social comment, I thought!

: D

Clown Killer 5:17 pm 21 May 09

Granny, a poet I aint … well not a drunk one at any rate

Granny 4:57 pm 21 May 09

Oh, c’mon! That’s when all the best posts are made!

Clown Killer 4:53 pm 21 May 09

Gee, I just read the thread again. All I can say is: I have got to stop posting here when I’ve been up drinking!

Granny 4:43 pm 21 May 09

Personally I’m torn between Mr Evil’s offering at #8 and astro’s masterpiece of haunting simplicity at #38.

Jim Jones 4:14 pm 21 May 09

GB – that’s awesome. I used to teach poetry, and that’s EXACTLY the experience I had.

GB 4:10 pm 21 May 09

Perhaps some guidance about poetry is needed.


“Introduction to Poetry”

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

[“Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins, from The Apple That Astonished Paris. © University of Arkansas Press, 1996. Reprinted without permission, but for a good cause].

Clown Killer 10:49 pm 16 May 09

With my most sincerest apologies to Dorothea McKellar:

The love of waterfront and avenue,
Of green and shaded streets,
Of ordered parks and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of Melbourne trams,
Blue surf and Bondi cigars –
I know but cannot stand it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a fire-burned territory,
A land of sweeping taxes,
Of unkempt public spaces,
Of droughts and water restrictions.
I love her public art,
I love her blue-green lake,
Her speed cameras and her parkways –
The under-funded land for me!

Her stark and empty schools,
All ready for the auction,
The sadly-missed libraries,
The facade of consultation,
Green lawns we have no more
Where weeper hoses once coiled,
An orchestra’s without funding,
And Katie wasting time.

Core of my heart, my territory!
Barr’s pitiless ambition,
Hargreaves – drunk at the wheel
Will we see democracy die –
without opposition to regather,
for incompetence just one cure
a real live opposition,
or no real choice again.

Core of my heart, my territory!
Land of the data centre,
or pick a project of your own
those NIMBYS wont allow it.
Over the thirsty greed,
of self interest and land value,
The filmy veil of greenness
That sickens all free men.

An tax-hearted territory,
An awful, lavish land –
All you who try to love her,
You will not be forgiven –
Though she holds many splendours,
when Stanhope finds a way,
he’ll tax you’re fcuking arse off
My god you’re going to pay.

ikarus 9:26 pm 16 May 09

canberra canberra the capital city
okay for a while, overall pretty sh#tty…

astrojax 1:28 pm 16 May 09

canberra is such a strange place
a bastion for the whole human race
it’s a government town
growing broad not running down
and a good place to get right off your face

I-filed 12:26 pm 16 May 09

There once was a girl called Katie
Who was blown up thanks to a Chief. Min. named Katie
After much hatie
Canberrans installed a new Head ‘Tatie
But now we’ve a nasty Vice Chief Katie.

Clown Killer 12:09 pm 16 May 09

Hey, I mightn’t be good, but at least I’m quick!

trevar 11:41 am 16 May 09

Oh dear, they’re not getting any better:

A clever young lassie from Holt
Believed she could lead a revolt
She followed the Chief
And caused him some grief
By piercing his heart with a colt

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