The first Judith Wright poem I ever read was Night After Bushfire, eons ago in a high school English class.
There is no more silence on the plains of the moon
and time is no more alien there, than here.
Sun thrust his warm hand down at the high noon,
but all that stirred was the faint dust of fear.
Charred death upon the rock leans his charred bone
and stares at death from sockets black with flame.
Man, if he come to brave that glance alone,
must leave behind his human home and name.
Carry like a threatened thing your soul away,
and do not look too long to left or right,
for he whose soul wears the strict chains of day
will lose it in this landscape of charcoal and moonlight.
Before then, I had never really considered myself a poetry fan, but I instantly fell in love with Wright’s powerful descriptions of the Australian landscape. Soon after, I allowed myself to fall into the fantastical world inhabited by Plath and Keats, Frost and Dickinson. And though I’ve never had the courage to pen much poetry myself, I find reading it a fantastic source of inspiration when drafting prose in any genre.
There are plenty of submissions and competition deadlines coming up for those braver than I in the poetry stakes.
Fullers Bookshop, Island Magazine and the UTAS Schools of Philosophy and Geography and Environmental Studies have teamed together to present The Place and Experience Poetry Prize, a new national poetry award with a prize pool of $2000.
The Karrinyup Writer’s Club Inc are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a writing competition, which closes on May 21st. The two sections are fiction and poetry and first prize is $300 in each. Application forms are a must, so email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Biannual literary magazine Blast accept poetry until July 31st for their spring/summer issue. If wanting to send some critical writing and literary criticism, shoot them an email with a 300 word synopsis of your work before sending them the full piece.
Page Seventeen have submissions open from April 1st to June 30th for their 8th Issue. Entries for their Short Story and Poetry Competition and Cover Image Competition will also be accepted from April 1st to June 30th. Prize money is up for grabs, and 10 of the best stories and up to 15 of the best poems will be published in their 8th Issue.
For something a little different, The Australian Poetry Centre are running the What Comes First Competition. Creative types will have the chance to write the lyrics for a new hit single. Entries are open until September 30th, and winners get a ton of prizes, including the chance to work with ARIA award-winning composer James Roche, and airplay of their song on Australian radio stations!
Otolith are accepting fiction, poetry, essays, photographs and art until April 26th.
The Dot Dot Dash submissions deadline is fast approaching on April 30th.
And of course, here at Ricochet we welcome short fiction, poetry and artwork from published and unpublished authors until April 30th (we may be extending that deadline, so never fear if you haven’t had the time to get something together – stay tuned for more news.)
On the literary festival circuit, The Sydney Writers Festival have released their 2010 Program Guide. Featured are an array of acclaimed fiction authors, including Lionel Shriver, Peter Carey and Colm Tóibín. For Victorians, the program for the Emerging Writer’s Festival launches in two days. In the meantime, they are looking for volunteers – a great way to get a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the festival, and get free access to some of their events!