Subscriberthon 2012: Joel Ephraims on winning the Overland Poetry Prize

I think that Overland is a very important outlet for new writers, voices, and opinions inside Australia. Coming from the perspective of a poet, it is very important to have spaces where new voices and current voices can coalesce, and where other voices can talk around and sometimes from inside the more enclosed space of the poem. I think it is very important to have magazines not only presenting poetry, but presenting any kind of space which encourages the flow of counter cultures and artistic movements within Australia.

If it weren’t for magazines like Overland, these voices would find it a lot harder to get out or might stagnate altogether. With a superficial glance, it might seem that Australia does not have much of an artistic culture, but this isn’t really true. We have a thriving community of artistic expressions operating beneath the more mainstream cultures, which surface to enrich and comment. Overland is one part of this upward expression.

For me, winning Overland’s poetry prize gave me a real sense of connection to a community, culture, and movement within Australia that is alive and operating. This connection has given me a great deal of confidence within myself as an individual, and has encouraged me to develop myself further as a poet knowing that there is a platform always there for me. Financially, the prize has taken off some of the burden of being a uni student, and also given me resources to expand my writing development. I think any poet who wins the Overland prize would be very much encouraged by it. I have made friends, been invited to events, had widespread feedback from other poets, and been given more opportunities to publish – all from winning the Overland poetry competition.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Joel Ephraims lives on the south-east coast of NSW. He recently had a suite of poems published in The Red Room Company’s The Disappearing.

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