Banner Credit: Julie Watts, photography by Andrew Burns
The Blake Poetry Prize challenges Australian poets to explore the spiritual and religious in a new work of 100 lines or less.
From 2017 Liverpool City Library, in partnership with Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, will deliver The Blake Poetry Prize as a biennial event. Liverpool City Library and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre will maintain the guiding principles of The Blake Poetry Prize in continuing to engage contemporary poets, both national and international, in conversations concerning faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and non-belief. The Blake Poetry Prize is an aesthetic means of exploring the wider experience of spirituality with the visionary imagining of contemporary poets.
The Blake Prize takes its name from William Blake, a poet and artist of undoubted genius, who integrated religious and artistic content in his work. The Blake Poetry Prize challenges contemporary poets of disparate styles to explore the spiritual and religious in a new work of 100 lines or less. The Blake Poetry Prize is strictly non-sectarian. The entries are not restricted to works related to any faith or any artistic style, but all poems entered must have a recognisable religious or spiritual integrity.
The Blake Poetry Prize amount is $5000.
2017 Blake Poetry Prize Winner: Julie Watts
The winner of the prestigious 2017 Blake Poetry Prize was announced at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, with West Australian Julie Watts taking out the $5000 prize for her poem The Story of Julian who will never know we loved him.
Julie Watts has been published in various journals and anthologies including Westerly, Australian Poetry Anthology and Australian Love Poems 2013. Her first collection of poetry, Honey & Hemlock, was published by Sunline Press in 2013.
“Julie Watts’ poem is nothing short of brilliant. The religious and spiritual integrity that shines through her writing is exemplary of what the Blake Poetry Prize is all about, and we couldn’t be more excited to co-present this incredible achievement. Bravo!” said CPAC Director Craig Donarski.
“The Blake Poetry Prize challenges poets to explore themes such as faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and non-belief. The Prize starts an important conversation about who we are as human beings,” said Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller.
The judging panel consisted of three high-profile, accomplished writers, including award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke; winner of the prestigious 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize Ali Cobby Eckermann, and the winner of the inaugural Blake Poetry Prize Mark Tredinnick. They said “In The Story of Julian who will never know we loved him, the hierarchy of society is untangled in a moment allowing a glimpse into compassion and thought; a sliver of the everyday dialogue, rewritten as a reminder to us all.”
Read 'The Story of Julian who will never know we loved him'
Judges' Commentary: Winning entry
For media enquiries and hi-res photographs, please contact Genvin In (firstname.lastname@example.org / 02 8065 7363)
Photography by Andrew Burns
2017 Blake Poetry Prize
Highly Commended & Shortlisted Entries
In judging the Blake Prize, the judges stated they were “looking for poetry that was well made, fully achieved, strong and clear and enchanting in language, musical and spiritually intelligent, finished, striking and wise, fresh in perception, deeply humane in its understandings, and open to the world beyond the merely human. All poems on the 2017 Blake Poetry Prize shortlist revealed these worlds.”
Ruth’s Sisters by Alice Allan
A Poet’s Age-Old Lament by Davoren Howard
What Happens by Stephen Denham
Agatha by Libby Hart
Memory after Memory by Chris Lynch
Winter, Seed-Time, Harvest by Frances Olive
Caravaggio’s “Crucifixion of Peter” by Kim Waters
Judges' Commentary: Short-listed entries
Meet the Judges
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent and the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron Is on Parole and Nothing Here Needs Fixing. Maxine’s short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue. Maxine’s memoir The Hate Race and her first children’s picture book The Patchwork Bike were published in 2016. Her collection Carrying The World won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award prize for poetry.
Ali Cobby Eckermann is the author of the poetry collections Little Bit Long Time and Inside My Mother and the memoir Too Afraid to Cry. Her verse novel, Ruby Moonlight, won the Kuril Dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowship, the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and was awarded the Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2013. Ali was born on Kaurna Country, and grew up on Ngadjuri country South Australia and her mob is Yankunytjatjara from northwest South Australia. In 2017, Ali received one of the world’s richest literary awards, the Windham-Campbell Prize, administered by Yale University.
Mark Tredinnick, winner of the Montreal Poetry Prize (2011) and the Cardiff Poetry Prize (2012), is the author of The Blue Plateau, Fire Diary, and nine other acclaimed works of poetry and prose. Mark won the inaugural Blake Prize for Poetry in 2009. His work has also won the Queensland and WA Premier’s Literary Awards, and been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. In 2016, Mark won the Australian Catholic University’s Poetry Prize for his poem The Horse. Two new collections of Mark’s poems will be published in 2017.
The production for the 2017 Blake Poetry Prize is managed by the team at WestWords. We thank them for their professionalism and insights that they have brought to the process.
23 November - 24 December 2017 (artwork entry forms due Friday 20th Oct)
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is proud to present the annual Liverpool Art Society Exhibition, celebrating its 20th incarnation in 2017. The annual exhibition has been produced by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in partnership with the Liverpool Art Society since 1998 and continues to promote and celebrate the creative talent of our region.
The annual Liverpool Art Society exhibition and art prize inspires a diverse range of artists and artworks. In support of this outstanding commitment by our local artistic community, we are pleased to continue supporting the prestigious $1500 Casula Powerhouse Scholarship Prize and the $5000 acquisitive Liverpool City Council Overall Winner Prize. The Scholarship aims to develop an artist’s professional practice through further research and the creation of a new body of work to exhibit in the following annual Liverpool Art Society exhibition.
Deadline for entries extended: 27 October 2017 (4:30pm)
The annual Mil-Pra AECG exhibition and art prize continues to be a vital component of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre’s yearly exhibition program and we acknowledge the need to celebrate the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in our region and beyond. Open to artworks of any medium by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists of all ages living in NSW and the ACT.
For the 26th anniversary, the Mil-Pra AECG Award will be awarded to the artist whose work celebrates the theme "Sharing Our Lingo". Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is proud to continue supporting the $1000 Mil-Pra AECG Award, the $2000 acquisitive Maria Lock Award and the $3000 acquisitive Mayor’s Choice Award.
The biennial Paramor Prize is an acquisitive prize of $20,000. A shortlisted selection of finalists will be exhibited at CPAC. Winners will be selected by a panel of guest judges including: George Khut, 2015 Paramor Prize Winner Erica Seccombe and Wendy Paramor's son, Luke Paramor. Congratulations to the 2017 winners, artistic team Susannah Williams and Warren Armstrong.
A $5000 Mayoral Award will be issued to the artwork that best conveys the guiding principles of Liverpool City Council to be at the forefront of opportunity, prosperity and diversity. Congratulations to the 2017 Mayoral Award winner, Emma Fielden.
A $1000 People’s Choice Award will be issued to the artwork voted most popular among audiences.Congratulations to the 2017 People's Choice Award winner, Len Hurley.
Susannah Williams and Warren Armstrong
Fiona Kerr Gedson
Rebecca Brady and Pamela Rodoreda
Meet the Judges
Luke Paramor, son of the prize namesake and renowned local artist Wendy Paramor, donated a significant collection of her work to CPAC. Luke lives and works in Newcastle with his wife and children.
2016 Paramor Prize winner Erica Seccombe is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the Australian National University School of Art. She was recently awarded the prestigious 2017 Capital Arts Patrons CAPO Fellowship. Her practice spans from traditional and photographic print media to experimental digital platforms using frontier scientific visualisation software.
Dr George (Poonkhin) Khut is an artist and interaction-designer working across the fields of electronic art, design and health. His body-focussed interactive and participatory artworks use biosensing technologies to re-frame experiences of embodiment, health and subjectivity.
The Blake Prize will be hosted again at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in 2018. Exhibition and entry dates are yet to be confirmed.
If you wish to stay abreast of any further developments, please join our mailing list and/or keep an eye on our website.
The biennial Blake Prize engages contemporary artists, both national and international, in conversations concerning faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and non-belief. The Blake Prize is an aesthetic means of exploring the wider experience of spirituality and all this may entail with the visionary imagining of contemporary artists.
The Blake Prize takes its name from William Blake, as an artist of undoubted genius, seemed to belong to no school and succeeded in integrating religious and artistic content in his work. The Prize aims to encourage contemporary artists of disparate styles, religious and spiritual allegiances to create significant works of art which engage in relevant conversations and negotiations.
The 65th Blake Prize has three prize categories that challenge artists to investigate ideas, issues and engage audiences in conversations surrounding spiritual thought and religion in contemporary art. All the Blake Prize’s are strictly non-sectarian. The entries are not restricted to works related to any faith or any artistic style, but any work entered must have a recognisable religious or spiritual integrity.