Announcing the winners of the 2014 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize

Overland magazine and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are very pleased to announce that Melody Paloma’s poem ‘Hyper-reactive’ is the winner of the 2014 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets. The two runners-up are Chris Armstrong’s ‘Exile’ and Kia Groom’s ‘Be Were’.

Overland poetry editor and judge of the award Peter Minter writes:

Every line in ‘Hyper-reactive’ is a complete thought. Together they accumulate and crystalise in a work of art that, like a painting or sculpture, reveals moments as if they are truly timeless. Informal form becomes a horizon of possibility. I was quietly blown away by Paloma’s poem – its simplicity, accuracy and optimism – and congratulate her on winning the prize this year.

Both runner-up poems are equally fantastic. Chris Armstrong’s ‘Exile’ and Kia Groom’s ‘Be Were’ limn the extremities of substance and duration.

You can read the rest of Peter’s report, along with ‘Hyper-reactive’, ‘Exile’ and ‘Be Were’ in Overland 218, which will be out in a fortnight’s time.



Melody Paloma‘Hyper-reactive’ is in flux, a series of uncanny images and restless sensations, the poem is manic, reaching and crying out, like the lions in Brunswick, to belong and connect to place.

Melody Paloma
is currently undertaking her honours year in Creative Writing at RMIT University, her poetry has been published in Rabbit and Voiceworks. In 2015 she received a WrICE fellowship, through which she took part in a collaborative residency held in Vietnam. She is the founder and editor of Dear Everybody (IG: @deareverybodycollective), a creative collective facilitating collaboration and creative exchange between artists and writers.



Armstrong‘Exile’ was inspired by the author’s 7-day wilderness walk through The World Heritage rainforest of Washpool National Park in NSW and it aims to explore and question man’s relationship and growing separation from nature.

Chris Armstrong has had poetry published on Cordite and Eureka Street and in regional anthologies. Her first novel Blue was shortlisted for the 2005 Vogel Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her shortlisted poem forms part of a collection created as a result of an ASA Emerging Writers Mentorship awarded in January 2014.



Kia_Groom‘Be Were’ is an exploration of the transformative and dehumanising nature of trauma, and the complex dynamic between victim and aggressor, told through the fable-like conceit of a woman who transforms into a were-creature (in this case, a deer).

Kia Groom
is founding editor of Quaint Magazine, a publication devoted to representing marginalized writers. She is currently completing her MFA in poetry from The University of New Orleans, though she resides permanently in Perth, Western Australia. Her work has appeared in Cordite, Westerly, and Going Down Swinging. She tweets @whodreamedit

Congratulations to the three winners.

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

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