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2020 Newcastle Poetry Prize

The 2020 Newcastle Poetry Prize is now open for entries

Judges are Mike Ladd and Judith Beveridge

Sponsored by the University of Newcastle there is a $25,000 prize pool and a chance to be published in the 39th anthology 

Why not Purchase a past anthology and enjoy some excerpts from past finalists below.

Once Wild 2014 book cover NPP 2019 book cover for Soft Serve Coastline 2012 Book Cover

Always going home (a domestic cycle)
by Karina Quinn
Give (I cannot be separate)
It is almost unbearable, 
the nearness of these children. The feeling
that they are trying to swallow me.
I want more than anything to be 
out, and away, 
and at exactly the same time I cannot bear 
to leave them, so 
soft, so beaming beautiful 
shining like silver underwater shot 
by the sun. At exactly the same time 
I want them to climb back 
inside of me, and I into them, as if 
we could consume each other, as if 
our bodies have never been entirely 
separate. As if we are made of dough, 
and by pushing into each other, we will 
incorporate; we will mix. 
We will be made into a new thing full 
of air and yeast and warmth. The space 
between us elastic with give.
Excerpt from Hex
by Connor Strange 

The night is alive with dust
in harbour light. Gene Vincent’s son-
in-spirit, Ian Dury, is on the radio, kicking blues
from the word rhythm. I am doing my best
to keep from drowning in a maelstrom

of disorder. What is my name? Where are
the ones I have silenced with imagining?
Turn up the volume. I will not falter.
The night is coal-black and still.
Excerpt from The River Running Shallow
by Mark Tredinnick 

And at the bend a foretaste of the evening
Pools and wells, and I swim the scent of ages
Past, the learning way down deep in things,
And I feel a coolness like the dawn upon
My skin.
               The sky, meantime, premeditates
Some rain, which, as I turn, deigns to fall,
Desultory, a while, upon the descant
Chat of children after dinner, beyond
The hedge . . . 

And step by step my mind relents,
And night becomes a house where all I carry
Puts itself to bed—three children, tired 
Now of being every sound that heard them
In my head, and every way they were not
Here, but were the rehabilitated
Sense the river running shallow in deep
Banks made of where I found myself,
Accompanied each step by all I love.
Before they sleep my children read me this:
Grief is proof of love; it lets you walk
“The sweet music of your particular heart”
In step with all you thought you’d lost—but can’t.
Excerpt from A disco in the bush
by Adam Gibson
[Parnngurr, W.A. 9pm]

There’s a big mob
gathered in from Punmu
and Jigalong, east from Warakurna,
over from Kunawarratji and
up from Parnpajinya, here for the funeral,
having arrived in battered cars
that you can’t believe survived that road
and dust-sprayed Toyotas
that now sit like emperors
in the hot late-July sun.

The red dirt is rusted,
no shade beneath the trees with
all the lower branches
ripped off for firewood and
dogs fight amongst each other
as the service is conducted
on the red flat earth
in the centre of community.

Then night falls
and the kids emerge, creeping out
to the sound of music
pumping from DJ decks
in the community hall,
the new supply shop operator
spinning the tracks, he’s cool,
while torches are flashed
in the dusty darkness and
dozens of faces line the walls.

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