Julie Lewis Literary Award for Poetry


Tomorrow sees the Gala Day at Peter Cowan Writers Centre where the Julie Lewis winners will be announced and short-listed poems will be read by the poets and guest-readers. As Perth’s a little far for me for a Sunday afternoon drive (about 2,700 km) I’m honored to have my clearing the caravan park read by Kevin Gillam, a poet whose work I’ve admired for some time.

I hope the day is a huge success.

pushing my own cart

It’s a nice letter for any poet to receive. My poem Crying at the poetry reading (to appear in Red River Review in November) has been nominated by editor Michelle Hartman for the Pushcart Prize. This prize is a pretty big deal in the States & I’m not sure how many Australians have been nominated previously (novelists M J Hyland & Nam Le spring to mind but the only poet I know of is Alison Croggin.) Of course it’s only a nomination, but it would be gratifying to be in the book, not to mention the excellent company. Thanks to Red River Review for nominating me.



























In the excitement of winning the Open Your Mind poetry competition I forgot to mention the Mental Health Coalition’s other great initiatives. Jude Aquilina and Ken Vincent have edited a short-list of last year’s entries to produce an excellent anthology called Mindfields. (All the poets are listed HERE.) I have a piece in it called The Autistic Boy.

There’s also an excellent, diverse, mental health-related multimedia website called mindshare which I recommend you check out.

two faces have i

The Roman god Janus had two faces – one looking to the past and one to the future. I used this theme to write a poem about the power of self-talk in my life. The poem’s just won the Open section of Open Your Mind, the SA Mental Health Coalition’s poetry competition for Mental Health Week. The prize was a beautiful abstract painting by Sue Morrizi which has my poem forming part of the image. (The title is stolen from the 1963 Lou Christie hit!)
Thanks to the Coalition for my prize, but more especially for the work that it does for people coping with mental health issues and the many programs and events which help to destigmatise the whole mental health area.
The poem can be read a number of ways – choose you own way…





                                    two faces  have i
he lives in my skull                                         this two-faced Janus.
Self-Doubt.                                                         Self-Talk.
you’ve failed.                                                   you can improve.                                
Irrational                                                          Rational
you’re worthless.                                            you’re a good person.
this eternal conversation          between           two faces in my head.
one looks to the past                                        one to the future.
i’m not good enough                                       look what I’ve achieved.                      .
i’m an imposter.                                              celebrate success!                              
                                 Give yourself credit.
                                May the best man win.

finding the poem


Thanks again to Sandra Thibodeaux and all the other participants for the Finding the Poem  Masterclass at the South Australian Writers Centre on Wednesday night. The standard of the poems was very high and Sandra’s insights into improving structure were very valuable. If this workshop’s available in your city – just do it.






[photo credit:  Excursions into the World of Books]