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Wesley Michel Wright Prize in Poetry
Subcategory of Australian Centre Literary Awards
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The Wesley Michel Wright Prize in Poetry is open to authors or composers of original verse or poetry in the English language. Entrants must be Australian citizens. Poems can be no less than 50 lines up to a maximum of 500 lines. To be eligible, poems must have been published within the last 12 months from the closing date in either book or journal form (print or electronic).

The Prize is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne.

Source: Sighted: 3/12/2013.


  • Administered by the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts. The annual Wesley Michel Wright Prize in Poetry is awarded to an author or composer of original verse or poetry in English and is open to Australian citizens. Each applicant must submit for assessment an appropriate poetic work. The prize is awarded by Council, on the recommendation of a selection committee appointed by Council on the recommendation of the Faculty of Arts.

    Source: University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts website, (sighted: 07/12/2009)

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon After the Demolition Zenobia Frost , Melbourne : Cordite Press , 2019 16947976 2019 selected work poetry

'This book has multiple fire exits. This book has too many keys. You can climb through a window into this book. Some of these poems are not on the lease, and you are willing to take it all the way to the Residential Tenancies Authority.

In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard says ‘a house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability’. These poems ask what proofs of stability we build when our homes and selves are in perpetual flux.

After the Demolition is about rebuilding as much as it is about taking apart. It is about moving, and about moving on – what we leave behind, and what we attach more firmly to ourselves. When a place is gone – because we’ve given the keys back, or because the locks are lopped off – our attachment can drive us towards saudade, nostalgia, replication. We mythologise the flaws of our past haunts and past lives, and this determines the ways we start over when everything is air rights.'

Source: Author's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Look at the Lake Kevin Brophy , Glebe : Puncher and Wattmann , 2018 14451231 2018 selected work poetry

'These poems were written across 2016 when Kevin Brophy was living in the remote community of Mulan, home to the Walmajarri speaking custodians of the Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) around Lake Paruku (Lake Gregory in many maps) in Western Australia.' (Summary)

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon On the Outskirts John Kinsella , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2017 11496393 2017 selected work poetry

Inspired by the natural worlds surrounding Tübingen in Germany, Cambridge in England, the village of Schull in southwest Ireland and the West Australian wheatbelt, Kinsella explores through his poems the protection and valuing of human and animal life, and the environment itself. Reflecting on how the local and international are in constant flux and exchange, these poems consider the plight of refugees, the degradation of the natural world, militarisation and the tensions of global violence. As Kinsella contemplates the failure of public memory to memorialise and adequately face the horrors of the past, he reflects on the unresolved issues of history such as Nazism (Germany) and colonisation (Ireland and Australia).

Influenced by William Blake's poetry and art, in particular Dante’s Divine Comedy, Kinsella evokes in his poems a strong relationship between the visual and textual. On the Outskirts is a work of strangeness and alienation, but also a work in which a light of redemption is sought — a rehabilitation in the human character and the healing power of 'nature'.' (Publication abstract)

Year: 2017

winner y separately published work icon Flute of Milk Susan Fealy , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2017 10716651 2017 selected work poetry

'The collection is in two parts, with each one interrogating love, loss, gender and aesthetics. The poems refract these themes through personal experience, as well as through a broader cultural lens. Some of these works are direct responses to the act of reading literature. The hallmark of this collection is precision with language: these works are always present and vivid.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2014

winner y separately published work icon Tempo Sarah Day , Glebe : Puncher and Wattmann , 2013 6700413 2013 selected work poetry

T'ime and motion are undercurrents in these new poems by Sarah Day. Her subjects encompass the commonplace in the Australian landscape: the remnant beak of a raven, tree shadows in urban streets, industrial cranes and mowing-machines, as well as the exotic or peculiar: the world seed bank in Norway, artefacts in Pompeii, Graeco-Egyptian funeral portraits, the landscape paintings of John Glover, the Earth as seen from elsewhere in the Milky Way. These poems, individually and collectively, invite questions about the enigmatic nature of past, present and future.' (Publisher's blurb)

Works About this Award

The Overflow Rosemary Sorensen , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 6-7 December 2008; (p. 8)
A column canvassing current literary news including brief reports on several awards: the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Wesley Michel Wright Award for Poetry and the Newcastle Poetry Prize.
Shelf Life Rod Usher , 1986 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Age , 13 December 1986; (p. 15)