Newcastle Poetry Prize
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The Prize began from humble beginnings in September 1980, when Peter Goldman stood in the middle of Civic Park during the Mattara Festival and handed out an anthology of poetry to passers-by. The A4 photocopied collection featured poems from local Hunter writers, with contributors ranging in age from six to eighty-one.
This anthology prompted two lecturers at the University of Newcastle, Christopher Pollnitz and Paul Kavanagh, to seek funding for a poetry competition which paved the way for the first official Mattara Poetry Prize in 1981. This prize gone on to become one of the richest and most prestigious poetry competitions in the country, and is now known as the Newcastle Poetry Prize.
Today the Prize is one of the major events of the literary calendar in Australia, bringing entries from across the nation. More recently the Newcastle Poetry Prize has included a New Media prize, creating a forum for the new technology poets in the country.
Initially sponsored by the Hunter Water Board, Newcastle City Council has provided funding via its Community Assistance Program since 1995, and the University of Newcastle has partnered with Council since 2004 to provide additional sponsorship.
In 2011, the Prize celebrated its 30th anniversary and marked the milestone with readings by distinguished previous winners including Les Murray, Anthony Lawrence, Mark Tredinnick, Diane Fahey, Philip Salom, Duncan Hose, Patricia Sykes, Peter Kirkpatrick and Brooke Emery. A special anniversary anthology, Completely Surrounded, was published by Puncher & Wattman.
- 2015: Anthony Lawrence (Connective Tissue)
- 2013: Jennifer Compton (Now You Shall Know)
- 2012: David Musgrave (Coastline)
- 2011: Mark Tredinnick (The Wombat Vedas)
- 2010: Duncan Hose (An Allegory of Edward Trouble)
- 2009: Patricia Sykes (Cassandra Vegas)
- 2008: David Musgrave (The Baby Boomers)
- 2007: Mark Tredinnick (Eclogues)
- 2006: Nathan Shepherdson (Eve 1528)
- 2005: Emma Jones (Zoos for the Dead)
- 2004: Peter Kirkpatrick (Bucolic Plague or This Eco-Lodge My Prison)
- 2001/2002: Emma Jones (Fugue, or a Possible Poem) John Watson (A Jetty Completely Surrounded) Jo Gardiner (Song to the Moon) Judy Johnson (Three Faces of Shiva)
- 2000: Philip Salom (Preservation: Things in Glass)
- 1999: Brook Emery
- 1997: Anthony Lawrence (Skinned By Light & Thanatos)
- 1996: Philip Salom (Elegy for my Father) Roland Leach (East Timor) David Brooks (Back After Eight Months Away)
- 1995: Roland Leach (drowning Ophelia: the madness poems)
- 1991: Dorothy Hewett (Upside Down Sonnets)
- 1989: John Bennett (Blackwattle)
- 1988: Kristopher Saknussemm (Group of eight poems)
- 1987: Dane Thwaites (Imitations of Han Shan) Tracy Ryan (Streams in the Desert)
- 1986: Lily Brett (Poland)
- 1985: Diane Fahey (Poem of Thanksgiving)
- 1984: John A. Scott (St. Clair)
- 1983: Craig Powell (Five Pieces For a Homecoming)
- 1982: Peter Kocan (From the Private Poems of Governor Caulfield)
- 1981: Kevin Hart ('The Storm' and others) and Les Murray ('Machine Portraits with Pendant Spaceman')
New Media Winners
- : [Philip Norton] (Hypnosis)
- : [Rob Walker and Matt Walker] (Moon Anti-Poem)
- : [Jason Nelson] (Wittenoom) joint winner with [Paul White] (Don't read too much into it)
- : [Rob Walker and Ben Walker] (Bibliophobia)
- "Completely Surrounded: Thirty Years of the Newcastle Poetry Prize 1981-2011", Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle 2011
- "The Wombat Vedas", ed. Jennifer Harrison and Keri Glastonbury, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle 2011
- "Time With the Sky", ed. Jill Jones and Anthony Lawrence, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle 2010
- The Night Road, ed. Philip Salom and Jill Jones, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle 2009
- to sculpt the moment, ed. Jan Owen, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle, 2008.
- Eclogues, ed. Martin Harrison, John Jenkins and Jan Owen, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle, 2007.
- the honey fills the cone, ed. Judith Beveridge, Martin Harrison and Jean Kent, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle, 2006.
- sunweight,, ed. Judy Johnson, Judith Beveridge & Brian Joyce, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle, 2005.
- The Cool Breath Burn, (CD) ed. John Bennet, Judy Johnson & Lizz Murphy, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle, 2004.
- not published 2003.
- Unfamiliar Tides, 2001/2002.
- Time's Collision with the Tongue, ed. Peter Boyle and Jan Owen, 2000.
- The Argument from Desire, ed. Ron K. Pretty, Five Islands Press, Wollongong, 1999.
- The Nightjar, ed. John Hawke, Coal River Press, Newcastle, 1997.
- The New World Tattoo, ed. John Hawke, Coal River Press, Newcastle, 1996.
- Let Dark Memory Bloom, ed. Paul Kavanagh. Newcastle: Coal River Press, 1995.
- The Sea’s White Edge, ed. Paul Kavanagh. Springwood: Butterfly Books, 1991.
- Pictures from an Exhibition, ed. Paul Kavanagh, Mattara Poetry Prize, University of Newcastle, 1989.
- The International Terminal, ed. Christopher Pollnitz. University of Newcastle,1988.
- Properties of the Poet, ed. Paul Kavanagh. University of Newcastle, 1987.
- An Inflection of Silence, ed. Christopher Pollnitz. University of Newcastle, 1986.
- Poem of Thanksgiving, ed. Paul Kavanagh, University of Newcastle, 1985.
- Neither Nuked nor Crucified, ed. Christopher Pollnitz. University of Newcastle, 1984.
- Instructions for Honey Ants, ed. Paul Kavanagh, University of Newcastle, 1983.
- Lines from the Horizon and Other Poems, ed. Christopher Pollnitz. University of Newcastle, 1982.
- The Members of the Orchestra, ed. Paul Kavanagh, University of Newcastle, 1981.
- Newcastle Poetry Prize official site
- Hunter Writers' Centre
- Anthology Layout Design - 2004, 2005: Matthew Glenn Ward
- Anthology Cover Design - 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Matthew Glenn Ward
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