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Judith Wright Calanthe Award
or State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award ; or Poetry Collection Judith Wright Calanthe Award
Subcategory of Queensland Literary Awards
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The award title was changed to State Library of Queensland Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon Terminally Poetic Yu Ouyang , Melbourne : Melbourne University Press , 2020 19594000 2020 selected work poetry '‘Terminally Poetic is charged with desperation. It’s written from an opium den of wasted Australian stereotypes in the Grub Street of the mind. Ouyang Yu puts the alien back in Australian. No one is spared in this exposé of Australian letters, certainly neither the poet nor his reader. A book to climb up in love with.’ - Steve Brock
'‘Terminally Poetic is Ouyang Yu working through the colonial alphabet and undoing it and himself at various turns and forks in the road. This is the individuated poet - one of the most committed poets who undoes poetry as an act of principle, who asks questions of 'who's to blame' in startling and nuanced ways - counting down (or up) through the letters so we can make new words from the poems. He confronts reductionism by disowning it while experiencing it, he confronts expectations of style and mode of writing it by writing it and then laughing at himself and the expectations of his readers. Excoriating and yet strangely vulnerable, the poet takes on the poet and poetry's failure to be noticed, to matter, to be what it wants to be.’ - John Kinsella' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Heide TT. O , Newcastle : Giramondo Publishing , 2019 17275159 2019 selected work poetry

'Heide is an epic poem about history, painting, painters, patrons and the people who made art happen in Australia — from Louis Buvelot to Edith Rowan, Tom Roberts and Robert Streeton to Vassilief, Nolan, Tucker, Joy Hester, the Boyds, Mirka Mora, and Albert Namatjira, with a particular focus on the artists gathered around Sunday and John Reed at Heide in Melbourne.

'It is a poem that explores the influence of art and poetry on the psyche, and the influence of social class on both, from the upper echelons and industrialists of Melbourne, to the struggle of the working class through such artists as Alisa O’Connor, Noel Counihan and Yosl Bergner. It begins with the foundation of Melbourne, and in its epic scope traverses an encyclopaedic range of subjects, assembled from facts, quotations, proverbs, definitions, historical documents, newspaper accounts and the author’s own reminiscences. 

'Heide is about the poets and artists who put their lives on the line, the Australian preoccupation with landscape, the dominance of a masculinist aesthetic, the sidelining and denigration of Indigenous art, the struggle of women artists to assert their influence and presence, and the impact of migration on Australian culture. 

'It is a long poem made up of almost 300 poems, each bringing to life characters and incidents that are fleshed out in vivid detail and with a dramatic intensity unique in Australian poetry.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Blakwork Alison Whittaker , Broome : Magabala Books , 2018 14069202 2018 selected work poetry

'A stunning mix of memoir, reportage, fiction, satire, and critique composed by a powerful new voice in poetry. Alison Whittaker’s BLAKWORK is an original and unapologetic collection from which two things emerge; an incomprehensible loss, and the poet’s fearless examination of the present.

'Whittaker is unsparing in the interrogation of familiar ideas – identifying and dissolving them with idiosyncratic imagery, layering them to form new connections, and reinterpreting what we know.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon I Love Poetry Michael Farrell , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2017 11570289 2017 selected work poetry

'In I Love Poetry, Michael Farrell continues his affirmation of poetry as a mode for thinking: about Australia, land, and settlement, about planetary life, and about poetry’s relation to other art forms and to other kinds of writing. His poems show an aptitude for both fiction and (auto)biography. Playful and subtle in tone, they get under the skin of your mind more than in its face. ‘AC/DC as First Emu Prime Minister’ and ‘Into a Bar’ remobilise familiar Australian icons, while ‘Cate Blanchett and the Difficult Poem’ creates a scenario with the actor and Waleed Aly where reading and composition become a single act. ‘Great Poet Snowdome’ is a pervy story of kitsch involving Sydney and the pope, a recurring figure in the book who re-emerges as Pope Pinocchio. There’s a Tame Impala acrostic, a Mad Max riff (‘Put Your Helmet On’), a One Direction revision (‘Drag Me Down’), and forays into poeticising lyrebirds, kangaroos, Robert Menzies and Elizabeth Bishop. There is Sid Vicious and there are lamingtons. There is everything that loves poetry: Weet-Bix, Iron Maiden t-shirts, motorbikes, and you.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon Fragments Antigone Kefala , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2016 9635376 2016 selected work poetry

'Antigone Kefala is one of the elders of Australian poetry, highly regarded for the intensity of her vision, yet not widely known, on account of the small number of poems she has published, each carefully worked, each magical or menacing in its effects. Fragments is her first collection of new poems in almost twenty years, since the publication of New and Selected Poems in 1998, and possibly her last. It follows her prose work Sydney Journals (Giramondo, 2008) of which one critic wrote, 'Kefala can render the music of the moment so perfectly, she leaves one almost singing with the pleasure of it'. This skill in capturing the moment is just as evident in Fragments, though the territory is often darker now, as the poet patrols the liminal spaces between life and death, alert to the energies which lie in wait there. And such energies! "Up, in the blue depth / a bird cut with its wings / the light / such silk, that fell / and rose, heavily, / singing through the air.' (Publication summary)