Lovely news: my poem Crown of Stars has just been awarded third prize in the Open Poetry section of the Banjo Paterson Writing Awards, run by Central West Libraries in Orange, New South Wales (writing as Jo Mills ~ details of other poems can be found in the Awards and Publications sections of my blog, including Walyunga and Orpheus, in the Desert, which won the Banjo in 2008 and 2011 respectively, and Ledge Beach, which placed third in 2009).
This year’s place in the Awards is particularly pleasing (and to me, funny), since I’ve been mostly focused on novels. So much so, that I had nothing ‘right’ to enter in the Banjo this year (which is for poems with an Australian theme, flavour or content). Crown of Stars ‘arrived’ as a stream of consciousness onto the screen two days before the entries closed. This meant I had to express post the poem (ordinary post taking three days from Western Australia to New South Wales). Unfortunately, I managed to just miss the post from my nearest post office, so found myself driving down the hill through peak hour traffic to get to a larger post office before close of business…and having a good laugh at myself along the way!
When I passed this tale on to the convenor yesterday, she said ‘It’s good to see such a high level of commitment’.
Ah, the joys of poetry! Thank you, dear Muse. I love you.
The results can be found here. I’m looking forward to reading the first and second prize winners when they are published on the Library’s website. You can read my poem below:
Crown of Starsdesert wind at night strands silt-lines colour of blood she walks barefooted gathers velvet wings so old only the land remembers how her bones were carved in wandjina days her face painted crowns of stars on walls ochre stains this town of ghosts casts sentinel shadows iron corrugations rust salt of the earth sand runs snakes on wind no roads left under wedgetail shadows no sky colour of blood in this darkness she walks crescent sliver silvering Isis of the south searches dust-storms this empty doorway free-standing recalcitrant carries silhouettes trick of the eye she fancies stoops under the lintel finds velvet wings flutter round the lamps grey moth-spirals countless as her memories ephemeral bodies relinquish names they dwelt here gone now sand chased their tracks colour of blood veiled stubborn human prints land remembers older days tall shapes roamed unformed hills desert wind at night into waiting arms she walks barefooted her face painted gathers velvet wings