Jo Burch announced today that out of 128 entries submitted by local poets, Lesley Lebkowicz managed to take out the annual poetry prize.
“I would like to congratulate Ms Lebkowicz on her prize-winning poem Inside selected from the 128 entries received this year,” Ms Burch said.
The ACT Poetry Prize is awarded for an outstanding poem written by an ACT-based poet and attracts a prize of $3,000, with two shortlisted entries attracting a prize of $1,000 each.
“It is also a pleasure to recognise the achievements of this year’s two shortlisted poets, Ms Elizabeth Lawson for her poem Emily Kngwarreye and Ms Libby Porter for Stabat Mater.”
We’ve got the winning entry and the runners up here:
Inside by Lesley Lebkowicz
Outside the women’s room avenues unfurl
and the city floats away.
In the ward they are each other’s world.
One woman announces, over and over,
The doctor says my bones are chalk.
She speaks with shock and pride that such
a thing should choose her: a savage miracle.
Inside her, bone sheared off from itself like
limestone in a private landslide – and she fell.
Visitors arrive with fruit and DVDs.
Like the doctors they’re upright.
They talk and are loved but it’s each other
the women watch: only they know
how bones collapse like bamboo scaffolding
in some country far away.
Stabat Mater by Libby Porter
He was sixteen and a half
Like small children, who announce
their slow-lived years
wanting to compress the days
running up to that next lovely number.
Whereas for you,
If you could stretch them
and make a lifetime of sixteen and a half,
the sweet half is the final fraction,
seventeen an affront.
There is no rounding up
to the beautiful prime.
Emily Kngwarreye by Elizabeth Lawson
Her studio is kids, dogs, brushes, earth and light,
under-breath song water over pebbles.
Her eyes shine sky. Desert-swirl
centres her canvas. No other compass.
Minute hands lift to scatter Milky Ways,
desert dots pulsing red red earth.
Her now is infinite distance,
points of colour veiling story in story,
her nearest meaning
yam, rock, bird-prints,
frail eggs breaking open.
Women are gathering everlastings,
Ahalkere’s trillion stars,
while somewhere galleries
ripple and crack, pester
which way to hang galaxies?
Emily glances up.
Your business. I paint.