Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection

2019 Shortlist

Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection

Congratulations to the finalists!

Hot Take (Hunter) by Liam Ferney

Judges' comments 

Bright, funny and cerebral Hot Take’s vital imagery and percussive remake of language immerses the reader in non-stop action. Here hashtags and advertising are the new landscape with us riding shotgun through it. Ferney seems able to read the digital tape spewing from the stock-market mouth of our contemporary culture, kneading the knots that ache within the ever-bloating body of fake news.

Newcastle Sonnets (Giramondo) by Keri Glastonbury 

Judges' comments 

Academic but grounded, Newcastle Sonnets creates a shifting and dangerously mesmerising simulacrum of contemporary Australian urban life. Her audacious sequence of sonnets employs a double-edged and familiar irony interwoven with rich description, pop & queer culture, and musical (punk) language. Through whip-smart core samples of observation, Glastonbury becomes the qwerty keyboard medium for social media within Newcastle and beyond.

That Sight (Cordite) by Marjon Mossammaparast

Judges' comments 

In That Sight, 'knowledge is a single point'. Marjon Mossammaparast's poetically assured debut contemplates the many dualities inherent in a conscious life. Her poems are grounded in the everyday, committed to honesty, and full of a generous and sensitive clarity. A wonderful example of how the personal and the universal can meet each other half-way. A real find for Australian poetry.

The Lost Arabs (UQP) by Omar Sakr     

Judges' comments 

Whether with love or violence Omar Sakr’s The Lost Arabs commits itself wholly, body and soul, to poetry. He writes with sensuous passion and an almost brutal conviction. Sakr continues to explore his own space (and ours) within the poetics of defiance. Whichever way you turn the questions will remain in front of you, resonant, emotive and very current.

Blakwork (Magabala) by Alison Whittaker 

Judges' comments 

Writing this powerful makes the world afresh and urges for a complete decolonisation of the mind. A contemporary cornerstone work that gives up numerous angles and portals through which the reader can traverse its power, intellect and compassion. Blakwork has a vital, musical pulse that connected such a varied array of poems — this is such essential reading: experimental but accessible, hopeful but hard-hitting.