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but below is the information for the 2006 Award


The following are the comments on the entries from Mary Meehan of Christchurch who was the judge for the inaugural Timaru Festival of Roses Poetry Award:

Having been convenor of Aoraki Festival Literary Awards for several years and knowing there were many enthusiastic writers in South Canterbury, I was delighted to be invited to judge the inaugural poetry contest for the Festival of Roses.

What is poetry?  A collection of words put together in a particular way so as to create an image or sensation that speaks to the reader.

Hegel said "the poet gives voice to an inner world so as to strike in his audience the feelings and state of mind he experiences".

Finding the perfect words and the perfect order - the musicality is sometimes achieved in quite unusual and even inappropriate juxtapositions.  Hart Crane said he was more interested in the "so called illogical, illogical impingements of connotations of words than in the preservation of their logically rigid significance.  Nuances of feeling and observation in a poem may well call for certain liberties" (what we call 'poetic licence') enables a sharpening of reality in a higher kind of sense.

There were fifteen entries in this competition.  The suggested theme was Roses and Romance but subject was actually open, and there were poems about Christmas shopping, child's play and even Timaru's new waste collection.  The majority, in some way, alluded to the rose/romance theme - two using rose names as characters in a clever way.

Construction was varied from scanning, rhyming verse to prose poems.

Creating an image was generally well achieved but in selecting those which evoked a response it was the crucial choice of words expressed in a certain order that guided me to the winner.

I liked "at friendship's end there is an unbelievable loyalty - it lies down under the pebbles of the path, playing dead" in a poem titled 'Footsteps''Peace' tells a poignant story of a widower at his window.  He talks of "that big cream rose that Joy liked, now heavy and sprawling like his days".

"What's so romantic about a rose" has a brusque quality perfectly suggesting a warning in "Have thorns, will use".

Finally, however, in the words "It's wild and remembering, it's foolish as hell, joy on a tag, a shoestring trance" I really felt the emotion - the elation of two women caught up in joyous abandon, and it gives me pleasure to pronounce the writer of "Our Dance" is the winner.

The winning poem "Our Dance" and the two highly commended are reprinted here:

By Rhian Gallagher

Nothing has been solved or won, the loss
is where it always is
just out of view
waiting to be sprung.
There’s edge on the streets, it’s night and far

somehow in the midst of it all to find ourselves flying.
There isn’t a plan, there isn’t a cue
the apartment is small, a place of here
and this – two women step into a dance.
There isn’t a moon or a star
no reason at all.

This is our whirl
swinging out and back, this is our twofold orbit
our rap. This is a rift that we pull
a bump we make, a mid-riff ripple.
It’s wild and remembering, it’s foolish as hell
joy on a tag, a shoe-string trance.
Night has the world in its bladed claws
and we’re here without asking
simply by chance, sometimes we dance.


By Karalyn Joyce

in his conservatory
Ivan enjoys the last of the day’s warmth
bored with the mid-afternoon movie
he watches the slip of the girl next door chop willow

she brings down the axe with a force
that makes him shudder and spill his tea
a dark stain on his brown corduroys

another solo mother living off the government
but he can’t help admiring the pluck of this one
the growing pile of split wood
could be her saying to the world
just give me a chance

a few years ago he might have jumped the fence
whipped through that pile as quick as a wink
for a smile from a young thing like her

he might even have picked the girl
a couple of bits of that big cream rose that Joy liked
now heavy and sprawling like his days
under the bedroom window

he can hear the family now
it’s not your place to interfere
he rubs the wet patch
and turns back to the movie

something must happen soon

By Tracey Bingham

What’s so romantic about roses? you ask
pruning me back
spraying me
cutting my stems

just leave me alone
give me space
not competition
give me warmth
not wet feet
treat me kindly
and I will bloom

despite your harsh treatment of me
I will not be torn apart
without a fight
have thorns – will use