2015 Judith Wright Poetry Prize shortlist

The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize is one of Australia’s most significant prizes for new and emerging poets; with support from the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, the competition awards a first place of $6000 and runner-up prizes of $2000 and $1000, as well as publication in Overland’s first edition of 2016 (available after the Easter break). In its ninth year, the competition continues to attract hundreds of outstanding new poetic works from across Australia and New Zealand.

new MRF logo-2015 Now, Overland’s retiring poetry editor Peter Minter and Overland’s new poetry editor Toby Fitch have finished blind judging the competition and, after deliberation, have selected a shortlist of eight poems.

Overland and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are very pleased to announce the 2015 shortlist:

 ‘in civilization diminishing’g_burrowes_image

This poem’s techno-capitalism is giddy with greed, leaving insufficient sustenance for the planet and little time even for those we love.

Geraldine Burrowes’ first collection, pick up half under, was published as part of The Rabbit Poets Series in June 2015. Earlier that year she received a Highly Commended in the Tom Collins Prize WA. Her poems have appeared in various journals, online and in print. She is also a visual artist.



‘Swarm’ deals explicitly with the implications of Colony Collapse Disorder and honey-bee populations dying out, but also seeks to re-frame our view of ecological concerns away from simply man’s destruction of ‘nature’, to humanity’s destruction of the ecosystem that we ourselves are a part of.

Emily Crocker is a poet/student derived from south-west Sydney. She has since found a home in the Wollongong spoken-word community. Although often writing about ecological concerns, she is also influenced by the familiar aesthetic of suburbia and the ability of everyday happenings to help us better relate to each other.


 ‘Old Growth / High Definition’dh_1

In ‘Old Growth / High Definition’, two people wander through the forest, contemplating where notions of ‘growth’ intersect with nature/our nature.

Dan Hogan is a writer and teacher living in Sydney where he co-runs a reading series called ‘subbed in’. His work has appeared in various places online and in print, including Shabby Doll House, The Lifted Brow, and LEFT. He can be found on Twitter at @packetofchips.


Helga‘Three Synchyses in a Single Malt’

I wanted to push and play with the possibilities of language whilst exploring pathways to memory using sensory images associated with place.

Helga Jermy is an English-Estonian poet and social worker currently living in northwest Tasmania. Her work has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies including Rabbit Journal, Australian Poetry, Regime Magazine, Cordite and Fire Flood Drought. Winner of Australian Poetry ‘Poem of the Year’ 2013 (from Australian Poetry ‘poems of the week’).


Vito Milana - Overland photo‘Invasion (thirty-five towns in Australia circa 1900)’

This poem offers a glimpse, through a number of vignettes of some Australian towns, and their inhabitants, at the turn of the twentieth century.

Vito Milana is a high school English and Psychology teacher from Melbourne. He was the winner of the 2014 Shoalhaven Literary Award, and his 2015 poem infinitum was published as part of the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Awards. Vito’s poetry also featured in the 2015 Anthology When ANZAC Day Comes Around.



‘alkaway’ is an extravagantly priced water filtration whose touted health benefits form part of this poem about the linguistic and sensory environments of extrusion-moulded late capitalism.

Ella O’Keefe is a poet and researcher who lives in Melbourne. Her poems have appeared in Cordite Poetry Review, Text Journal, Steamer and Best Australian Poems. Her chapbook Rhinestone was published by Stale Objects dePress in 2015. She has made radio pieces for national and community broadcasters and is Audio Producer for Cordite Poetry Review.


Omar Sakr‘Not So Wild’

‘Not So Wild’ is an unravelling of adolescence, of boyhood in the suburbs, of landscape and longing.

Omar Sakr is an Arab-Australian poet whose work has featured in Meanjin, Overland, Cordite, Mascara Literary Review, and Tincture Journal, among others. He’s been shortlisted for the 2014 Judith Wright Poetry Prize, as well as the 2015 ACU Poetry Prize. He is currently guest-editing Cordite Poetry Review 54.


Jakob Ziguras Photo‘Jet Lag Song Nets’

A sequence of ‘sonnets’ too exhausted to rhyme, evoking my conflicted response to my birthplace (Wrocław, Poland), as seen through a haze of jet-lag, upon my arrival there, at the beginning of last winter.

Jakob Ziguras was born in Poland in 1977. His first collection, Chains of Snow (Pitt Street Poetry, 2013), was shortlisted for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His second book is forthcoming with Pitt Street Poetry in May 2016. His currently working on his third book and translating Polish poetry.

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