New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 winner: ‘Fallen Myrtle Trunk’ by Stuart Cooke

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stuart-cooke-picStuart Cooke lives on the Gold Coast, where he lectures in creative writing and literary studies at Griffith University. He has published collections of poetry, criticism and translation. His latest book, Opera was published by Five Islands Press in 2016. Stuart Cooke is the winner of the 2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize.

‘Fallen Myrtle Trunk’: Zalehah Turner interviews Stuart Cooke

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New Shoots Poetry Prizes: the Shortlists

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Rochford Street Review and The Red Room Company are proud to announce the shortlists for the New Shoots Poetry Prizes. Thank-you to everyone who submitted. All submissions were inspiring and thought-provoking. There was an interesting range of styles and forms used to express a variety of plant-based themes; all of which deserve commendation. The winning and highly commended poems will be announced on 1 December and published in Rochford Street Review.

New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016

‘Anneslea fragrans’- Magdalena Ball
‘strangler fig’- Chloë Callistemon
‘Aboreal sorority’- Anne M. Carson
‘Antarctic Beech’- Stuart Cooke
‘Fallen Myrtle Trunk’- Stuart Cooke
‘The Cootamundra Wattle’- Penelope Cottier
Corymbia ficifolia’- Anne Elvey
‘What is commonly called a weed’- Jeremy Gadd
‘sensurious’- Ian Gibbins
‘Coirëflower’- Shaneen Goodwin
‘White mangrove (Avicennia marina subsp. australasica)’- Annie Hunter
‘vitis vinifera’- Miguel Jacq
‘Sheoak’- Mike Ladd
‘Tears of Stone’- Mohammad Ali Maleki
‘Agapanthus’- Moya Pacey
‘On Seurat in my back yard’- Frances Rouse
‘Sufficient Harvest’- John Karl Stokes

New Shoots Royal Botanical Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016

‘our primitive lives’- John Bennett
‘Green warriors’- Jenny Blackford
‘Sydney Rock Orchid’- Kathryn Fry
 ‘How Deep is Your Love’- Julie Maclean
‘Leaving Wilona’- John Karl Stokes

Download a pdf of the shortlisted poets

Selection panel: Dr Tamryn Bennet, Director of The Red Room Company and Zalehah Turner, Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review

Plant a seed of inspiration in your mind’s eye and let it grow into a poem

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Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

Featured Writer Mohammad Ali Maleki: Biographical Note (curated by Zalehah Turner)

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Flowers from Mohammad Ali Maleki’s garden on the fence of the Manus Island detention centre

 

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Mohammad Ali Maleki with a rainbow lorikeet

Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener living in detention on Manus Island whose poem, ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was published in Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. His poems have been translated from Farsi by Mansoor Shoushtari and edited by Michelle Seminara and Melita Luck. His poems question the justice and cruelty of a world in which countries are devastated by war and any hope of asylum, for those that survive the journey, is cruelly taken on, or before, arrival. Mohammad Ali Maleki’s poems are emotive tales of life in detention which often employ plants as metaphors. Mohammad Ali Maleki enjoys gardening and has planted a beautiful garden behind his room on Manus Island. A remarkable sign of endurance despite the odds.

 

 

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Mohammad Ali Maleki’s garden, behind his room on Manus Island


Michele Seminara on ‘The Strong Sunflower’ and the origins of Discoursing Diaspora on Verity La

In terms of “the origins of Discoursing Diaspora, it was always my intention to set up some sort of ‘project’ on Verity La, encouraging the publication of writing from refugees and migrants. (I rather ambitiously announced this in my first post as editor of the journal, under the banner ‘Writing from Exile’: http://verityla.com/behind-the-scenes-at-verity-la/). Initially, the plan was to get poet and social activist, Janet Gailbraith to run the project. She was interested, but for one reason or another (mostly our combined busyness!) it never really got off the ground.

Then, at the beginning of this year, I was contacted via Facebook by Mohammad, asking me to help edit his poetry. When I saw how important the ability to express himself and be heard by the Australian people was, it reignited my determination to get the project going. I was fortunate to have co-editor Ramon Loyola step in to assist me. This was important, since I’ve never personally experienced diaspora. So, it wasn’t something I wanted to run by myself; that just didn’t feel appropriate. Mohammad’s poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the first to be published on the project. So yes, his contacting me was an absolutely fundamental part of making it happen! I feel he’s a very determined, strong, wise, and humble man, and I’m so glad his poems are gaining a wider audience,”- Michele Seminara

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‘Untitled’, photomontage by Mohammad Ali Maleki

Featured Writers Part 1: Mohammad Ali Maleki- Curated by Zalehah Turner
‘Hope’, ‘The Golden Wheat’, ‘Dry Land’ and ‘The Strong Sunflower’ by Mohammad Ali Maleki
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Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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Calls for submissions for the New Shoots Poetry Prizes

Red Room Company twitter banner FINAL 14 July 2016Calls for submissions for the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 and the New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016

We want your plant inspired poetry!

The Red Room Company, Rochford Street Review and Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney call for submissions for the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 and the New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016. Poets are allowed to submit up to three poems for either prize. All poems must be previously unpublished, no more than 100 lines in length or 3-5 minutes of audio or video media and on the theme of plants. Poems to be considered for the New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016 must relate specifically to plants in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Submissions to either prize must include the full name of the poetry prize in the subject line of the email or in capitals on the top of the cover letter, if applying by post. All submissions must be received no later than, 12pm 31 October 2016.

One winner and one Highly Commended poem will be chosen for each prize. The winners and the Highly Commended poems, in both categories, will be published online in issue 20 of Rochford Street Review and on The Red Room Company website. All submissions will be published on the New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney website*.
As well as publication, the winners will receive a Corban & Blair Fernery journal and a poetry anthology from Puncher and Wattmann. The Highly Commended poets will also receive a Red Room Company Unlocked anthology of poems and New Shoots seed pack.

The Red Room Company and Rochford Street Review encourage a diversity of voices, expression and poetic forms. We welcome all poets, emerging, established or just beginning a poetic journey and poems in any medium. However, while we encourage an open format, the submission must be considered to be poetry by the judges and the judges retain the right to disqualify a poem if it does not meet this criteria.

Selection panel:
Dr Tamryn Bennet, Director of The Red Room Company and Zalehah Turner, Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review

Plant a seed of inspiration in your mind’s eye and let it grow into a poem

Winners to be announced 1 December 2016
and will be notified by email or post where an email has not been provided.

The New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 is committed to encouraging entrants inspired by plants throughout Australia. However, The Red Room Company and Rochford Street Review would also like to encourage poets inspired by plants in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. No preference is given to either theme or prize.
If you have already submitted plant inspired poems to The Red Room Company and wish them to be considered for either prize please email contact@redroomcompany.org
* poems for the RBG must be suitable for a public site.

Submission Guidelines:

1. All poems must be on the theme of plants.
2. Only site specific poems relating to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney will be considered for the New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016.
3. Entrants must be residents of Australia and 18 years or over at the time of submission.
4. The poem must be the entrant’s original work.
5. The poem must be unpublished and remain so until, 1 January 2017 after the winning poems have been published.
6. The poem must not exceed 100 lines in length if page poetry.
7. The poem must be 3 to 5mins if an audio or digital video recording.
8. Audio recordings of slam, performance or spoken word poetry must be MP3s.
9. Digital video recordings should be compressed in to a zip file and attached to an email. Use Dropbox if necessary.
10. As the poems are to be judged anonymously, the poet’s name must NOT be written anywhere on the page or file containing the poem.[1] However, all poems must be accompanied by a cover letter containing the poet’s name and current contact details.
11. The poem should be a Word document, in Times New Roman font, 12pt font size, single line spacing.
12. All poems to be considered for submission must have a cover letter with the name and contact details of the poet including, a phone number, an email address and a current postal address.
13. All submissions must also include a bio of 50 words and a photo of the poet.
14. All submitting poets are encouraged to take a photo of themselves surrounded or next to the plant or tree that inspired them. However, this is not an essential requirement for submission.
15. The subject line of the email or headline in the cover letter for postal submissions MUST include the name of prize the entrant wishes the poems to be considered for:
a) for GENERAL plant inspired poems, the subject line or heading MUST contain the words NEW SHOOTS POETRY PRIZE 2016 in capitals.
b) for site SPECIFIC Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney plant inspired poems, the subject line or heading MUST include the words: NEW SHOOTS ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN SYDNEY POETRY PRIZE 2016 in capitals.
16. Entrants can submit by using The Red Room Company’s New Shoots Poetry Prizes submission form  or by email with the name of the prize in the subject line addressed to contact@redroomcompany.org or by post addressed to
The Red Room Company,
PO Box 1105,
Surry Hills,
NSW 2010
17. Poets are allowed to submit up to three poems for either prize. Each poem must be attached as a separate document or file. DO NOT include all the poems in one document.
18. The judges’ decision is final.
19. Copyright will remain with the authors.
20. Submissions must be received by 12pm 31 October 2016 or post marked no later than, 19 October 2016.

[1] IMPORTANT: For submissions through New Shoots Poetry Prizes submission form guidelines 10, 11 and 12 DO NOT apply.

Read the New Shoots poems  published in Issue 19 of Rochford Street Review
Find out more about the New Shoots commissioned poets: Biographical note on New Shoots poets
Read more about New Shoots from Zalehah Turner at Rochford Street Review
New Shoots- The Red Room Company