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 winners and highly commended

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CONGRATULATIONS to the winning and highly commended poets in New Shoots Poetry Prizes!

Rochford Street Review, The Red Room Company and the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney are proud to announce and congratulate the winning and highly commended poets for the New Shoots Poetry Prizes. Congratulations to New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 winner, Stuart Cooke for ‘Fallen Myrtle Trunk’ and Magdalena Ball for the highly commended, ‘Anneslea fragrans’. Congratulations also go to the New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016 winner, John Karl Stokes for ‘Leaving Wilona’ and John Bennett for the highly commended, ‘our primitive lives’.

The four, award winning, plant inspired poems were published today, 1 December in the current issue 20, of Rochford Street Review and on The Red Room Company website. Interviews with the poets discussing their poems will be posted in the next few weeks.

Congratulations also go to one of poets shortlisted for the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016, Mohammad Ali Maleki, whose poem, ‘Tears of Stone’ has been given, special commendation for extraordinary work in extreme circumstances and published in Rochford Street Review.

The prizes are a joint initiative of The Red Room Company, Rochford Street Review and the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney with the selection panel comprising of the Director of The Red Room Company, Tamryn Bennett and Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review, Zalehah Turner.

The New Shoots Poetry Prizes offered eco warriors to plant loving poets the chance to create poems around The Red Room Company’s plant inspired poetry project for 2016, New Shoots. All submissions will be included in an e-book anthology (forthcoming).

John Stokes, the winner of the New Shoots Royal, Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016, wished to pass on his “thanks to the organisers and the judges; with a special thanks to [his] fellow writers for making this such a rich and interesting exercise.”

New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016
Winner: 
Stuart Cooke – ‘Fallen Myrtle Trunk
Highly Commended: Magdalena Ball – ‘Anneslea fragrans
*Special Commendation: Mohammad Ali Maleki – ‘Tears of Stone

New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016
Winner:
John Karl Stokes – ‘Leaving Wilona
Highly Commended: John Bennett – ‘our primitive lives

New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016

Winner:Fallen Myrtle Trunk’ by Stuart Cooke

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Stuart Cooke

Stuart 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.

 

 

Highly Commended: Anneslea fragrans’ by Magdalena Ball

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Magdalena Ball

Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer, interviewer, and the editor of Compulsive Reader. She has been widely published in literary journals, anthologies, and is the author of several books of poetry and fiction. Her most recent work includes, the novel, Black Cow (Bewrite Books), and the collection of poetry, Unmaking Atoms (forthcoming, Ginninderra Press).

 

 

 

*Special Commendation:Tears of Stone‘ by Mohammad Ali Maleki

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Mohammad Ali Maleki

Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener living in detention on Manus Island whose poem, ‘Tears of Stone’ was shortlisted for the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016. Mohammad Ali Maleki is the featured writer in current issue of Rochford Street Review. His poem, ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was originally published in Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. Mohammad Ali Maleki’s poems are translated from Farsi by Mansoor Shoushtari and edited by Michelle Seminara and Melita Luck. Mohammad Ali Maleki’s poems are emotive tales of life in detention which often employ plants as metaphors. He also enjoys gardening and has planted a beautiful garden behind his room on Manus Island.

 

 

New Shoots Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Poetry Prize 2016

Winner: Leaving Wilnoa’ by John Stokes

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John Stokes

John Stokes is renowned internationally for his passionate campaign for plain-speaking in literature. He has won, been short-listed, or long-listed for many prizes including, longlisted for both the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s and Montreal International Poetry Prizes in 2014 and 2015, respectively. His third book, Fire in the Afternoon was published in the Poets and Perspectives series by Halstead Press in 2014 and won the ATC Writing and Publishing Awards 2015 for best poetry book of the year.

 

N.B. The judges of the New Shoots Poetry Prizes were unaware that ‘Leaving Wilona’ by John Karl Stokes was previously published in ‘Fire in the Afternoon’ (Halstead Press, 2014) at the time of the selection and announcement.

Highly Commended:our primitive lives’ by John Bennett

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John Bennett

John Bennett has won the Mattara (now Newcastle) Prize and the David Tribe Prize and is represented in Puncher and Wattmann’s Contemporary Australian Anthology. A documentary on his work was broadcast by ABC Radio National’s Earshot in February 2016. His PhD updates a Defence of Poetry and he now melds poetry and image with Photovoltaic poetry.

 

 

*Special Commendation was an award that was created after the New Shoots Poetry Prizes submission guidelines were written

Selection panel: Dr Tamryn Bennet, Artistic 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.

Submissions to New Shoots Poetry Prizes have closed but the New Shoots online submission form remains open for plant-inspired poems. Poems submitted will be published on the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney website in 2017.

The winning and highly commended poems from the New Shoots Poetry Prizes can also be found on The Red Room Company‘s website.

-Zalehah Turner

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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

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

Fallen Myrtle Trunk

in the temperate forests, the wet
.              sclerophyll forests, where the wind
.                               moans in yourm leaves, a storm beating
.                                         in muffled drums at the entrance
.                                                  to the underworld, the lands
.                                                           of Gondwana, motherland of Australia,
.                                                               South America, the hundreds
.                                                                of years creeping, the moss about youm creeping
.                                                                 the growling thunder, the black sou’-wester
.                                                                 —by youm all this recedes, falls
.                                                                 like wilting springs

.                                                                 aged into agelessness, less
.                                                                 than age, giant
.                                                                 fullness, monoforest
.                                                                 bulk
.                                                                 of years and slowness
.                                                                 hint of snake while touch crumbles
.                                                                 like chocolate flakes, vibration vanishes
.                                                                 in yourm tomb, tombing
.                                                                 yourm slumber rots, beachwards
.                                                                 a giant petrified in light

.                                                                 imperceptible scuttle scattered
.                                                                 deeply, cavern hymns at
.                                                                  cave hertz, yourm august
.                                                                    specific music, cylindrical fugue
.                                                                       of dark brown scales, closed soft pink
.                                                                           to reddish grain, edified with mountain
.                                                                              ash memory, guardian of closed passage
.                                                                                    pillar of larger sky, of facts like clouds
.                                                                                                          their sky ways wending

 

youm known the songs of lonely places
.             the ways of wet and wind, youm moan
.                          of fire, unless the flames come slowly
.                                      for yourm return to drowsy
.                                                droning, the intoning
.                                                        of the wizard priests
.                                                              the sough of the southern seas
.                                                                 youm’re the stage before the sea
.                                                                 the ground’s stage, for all sea-yearning

.                                                                 yourm limbed stances
.                                                                 form too slowly for change, beneath
.                                                                 such gestures the black flock shelters,shadowed
.                                                                 in yourm underside, that invisible realm
.                                                                 of canal venom and webbed vein

.                                                                 to the light youm present carpet bridge, seedling
.                                                                 lives held by yourm unfolding descent, dark-
.                                                                  plumed monarch, ebony laced
.                                                                   with wing, by the mountain rills
.                                                                     down to the parched saplings
.                                                                        on the shore of a receding lake
.                                                                            youm know too much
.                                                                                of that escarpment beyond, rest
.                                                                                   pray, yourm beast prepares for return

 

while everything frizzes, shifts
.                 brushed and squeeze, sway
.                                     youm remain sound-
.                                                 like, a solid gradient an always
.                                                         line, travelling
.                                                             and unravelling through the same place

.                                                                yourm skin mimics lake ripple
.                                                                grooved rivulets criss-cross like thickened years
.                                                                currents of stone into softer solid
.                                                                edging damp, ripples merged with moss
.                                                                the land’s dry, soft with moss
.                                                                a surface of crawling speckleds, blood legs and
.                                                                black bodies, orange-like
.                                                                 fruiting bodies protruding from
.                                                                  yourm furry, whaled bulk

.                                                                   moss colony, moss scape, the stick shade
.                                                                     of a seedling wobbles
.                                                                      on yourm chest flecked with sonnet,leaf voltas
.                                                                                                their dark green, lost brilliance

 

then fresh reds, pinked to orange faded
.           ragged, triangled teeth
.                           and fruits of three small
.                                         winged nuts, subtle flourish
.                                                  of yellow-green catkins, now a mouthing
.                                                          eddy where a bough broke off
.                                                              airborne spores of wilt lulled by such knots
.                                                                have settled on yourm wound

.                                                                 one branch, there, pleads help
.                                                                 by reaching, others
.                                                                  arch hardened spines around gravity’s slide
.                                                                   while youm host the epiphytes
.                                                                     while the termites elaborate
.                                                                       yourm runnelled intentions
.                                                                         while moss slowly fingers, surrounds
.                                                                              slowly devours these juts of twig
.                                                                                    slowly devours its own ground
.                                                                                         which youm perform patiently for it
.

-Stuart Cooke


‘Fallen Myrtle Trunk’ contains echoes of the following poems:
‘Mountain Myrtle’, by Marie E. J. Pitt
‘Out of Sorts and Looking at Elms’, by Simon West

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Stuart Cooke

Stuart 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

new-shoots-poetry-prizes-no-submission-date