Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection

2020 Shortlist

Congratulations to the finalists!

Enfolded in the Wings of a Great Darkness by Peter Boyle (Vagabond Press)

Judges' comments 

Absorbing this book feels as if you’re privy to a silent act of narration. Undeniably profound, it knits its strength through frailty. It is aware of the mechanics within chance, how it sends out echoes in all directions, yet in this case they return as complete thoughts. Light/dark, life/death all in the tranquilised rhythm of a coin toss.

Lyre by Stuart Cooke (UWA Publishing)

Judges' comments 

A curation of sculptured poems ranging across Australasian oceans, coastlines, rainforest, savannahs and deserts, Lyre finds poetry in a Pacific green turtle, Western clownfish, an Eastern whipbird, a spinifex termite mound, and much more besides. Cooke’s poems are an argument against sedentary language: they animate the page like raucous magpies in the sky.

Nganajungu Yagu by Charmaine Papertalk Green (Cordite Books)

Judges' comments 

Moving with sensitivity and poise throughout devastating subject matter, Charmaine Papertalk Green offers up Nganajungu Yagu with layers of significance to its different audiences. Bold in form and unrelentingly moving, she compromises nothing in bringing violence, suppression and loving resilience to our attention. Papertalk Green’s work is timeless and timely.

Heide by Pi.O (Giramondo Publishing)

Judges' comments 

This is an epic work of art history and so much more. Frequently hilarious and always engaging, it tells the story of the development of settler art in Melbourne from its Eurocentric colonial origins through to the birth of something that might be considered Australian. Heide a major work that continually calls into attention the myth-making impulse on which so much history is built.

Throat by Ellen van Neerven (UQP)

Judges' comments 

Throat is a masterful collection that goes for the jugular. Raucous and meticulous – van Neerven takes ambitious risks and pulls them off with a deceptive ease. Their poems will undoubtedly leave a definitive punk imprint on poetry on this continent, and echo generationally throughout the blak poetry that van Neerven situates themself within.