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National Secondary School Poetry Award Finalists Named

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
National Secondary School Poetry Award Finalists Named

22 July 2008 - Relationships, world issues, families, love, grief and individual observations are just some of the subjects explored by teenage poets in this year's New Zealand Post National Schools Poetry Awards.

But for the judges selecting a shortlist from the hundreds of entries it was less about themes and more about how the poets handled their subject.

Twelve finalists - six in each of the Best Poem and Best Lyric Poem categories - have now been selected. The winners will be announced on 22 August 2008 at a ceremony in Wellington.

This is the second year New Zealand Post has supported the National Schools Poetry Awards, run by Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters, and the first year the Awards have been expanded to include the two prize categories.

The competition, titled "Liberate Your Words", was open to all Year 12 and 13 students attending New Zealand secondary schools. This year, the Best Poem judge was New Zealand poet Paula Green, and the Best Lyric poem was judged by musician Samuel Flynn Scott, of The Phoenix Foundation.

Paula Green said she was looking for freshness and charisma as well as sincerity in the poems. "Many of the poems explored similar themes, but what marked out my top poems was not what they were about, but how they handled the subject matter," she said.

"Poetry may be based on what is truly and perhaps deeply felt, but when it also carries some kind of freshness and charisma, poetry has a chance of standing out in the global flood. I salute all the teachers and students of poetry who are finding ways to do this."

Samuel Flynn Scott said the Lyric Poem shortlist contains some great examples of the future of New Zealand writing. "I was happy to find some quality work among the entries that kept their distance from the banalities of love and sorrow that can make teenage poetry intolerable.

The shortlisted works are wonderfully short on clich and it was a pleasure to make their acquaintance." The Best Poem winner will receive a HP Pavillion dv2610TU notebook and a cash prize of $500.

Samuel Flynn Scott will adapt the Best Lyric winner's poem into a song, which will be recorded. The Best Lyric Award winner will also receive a $500 cash prize and the chance to spend time in a professional recording studio with the artist and engineer.

The New Zealand Post National Schools Poetry Awards are supported by Tearaway Magazine, the New Zealand Book Council, Booksellers New Zealand, the New Zealand Society of Authors, and literary magazines Sport and Landfall.

The finalists are: Best Poem Carlos Carbonatto-Bowkett, Wellington College, Wellington - Purple Ish Doney, St Andrews College, Christchurch - The World Instead Manon Revuelta, Epsom Girls' Grammar School, Auckland - Flotsam and Jetsam Nalin Samountry, Tamatea High School, Napier - The Parameters of Refugeeism and Flight Claire Sorrenson, Takapuna Grammar School, Auckland - fooling around Finn Teppett, Wellington College, Wellington - If, only. Best Lyric Poem Saxon Adams, St Andrews College, Christchurch - Downtown Bazaar Cara Chimirri, Rangi Ruru Girls' School, Christchurch - Passage Over Water Sonya Clark, Karamu High School, Hastings - Mrs. Potts Jimmy Garden, Wellington College, Wellington - All you can eat Taylor Hughson, Wellington College, Wellington - Molly Jennifer Yeh, St Cuthbert's College, Auckland - A pinker shade of blue.

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