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BLAKE PRIZE 2017: JUDGES' COMMENTARY WINNING ENTRY

JUDGES' COMMENTARY


WINNING ENTRY

The Story of Julian who will never know we loved him: Julie Watts

Good poetry comes in all manner of different voices, attitudes, shapes and dictions. All good poetry is an attempt to utter what is almost beyond utterance. In judging the Prize we 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 shortlist revealed these worlds.

English can resonate differently in the different landscapes of experience. The challenges for a poet in Australia is both which English to use when writing, Aboriginal English, proper English, modern day English, Kriol etc., and how that English resonates within the diversity of life and its societal, cultural and physical landmarks – from Nourlangie Rock to Ruth, Boaz and Heraclitus.

The Story of Julian who will never know we loved him is a poem with a strength that fills the void of the different perspectives and understanding of the English language. It is the poem that both learned and unschooled by mainstream Australia, people who read from vastly different cultural mindsets, will share the message of this poem. The Blake Poetry Prize aims to encourage the writing of new Australian poetry, and also new readers to Australian poetry. We hope a diverse variety of poets and readers will continue to join us on that journey.

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