2017 Tom Collins Written Poetry Competition - now open

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Shelley
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2017 Tom Collins Written Poetry Competition - now open

Post by Shelley » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:36 pm

Hi All

For those interested, the annual Tom Collins Written Poetry Competition details can be found here ...

http://www.fawwa.org

As a side point, while navigating this website, I came across last year's winners in this competition, and it made me stop and ponder.

The competition is named for Tom Collins, the pen name of Joseph Furphy (1843-1912) - best remembered by most of us, I'm sure, as the author of "Such is Life", but also a writer of rhyming verse which formed part of the early body of work that was a precursor to the establishment of Australian Bush Poetry.

Yet last year's winners of the competition were all free verse. Of course, in an open competition free verse often dominates, but I think it's strange to name a competition after a particular poet with no intention of allowing that poet's style to feature in some way. The same thing seems to happen with the Henry Kendall competition - while on the other hand, the Henry Lawson and CJ Dennis Toolangi competitions do pay homage to the poets whose names they carry.

This is not a criticism, just an interested observation.

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: 2017 Tom Collins Written Poetry Competition - now open

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:22 pm

I think the reverse is usually the case, Shelley. My impression is that a region that decides to start a literary competition chooses a historic literary figure associated with the region to name it after, then holds a competition in the dominant literary form of the period - for poetry, this is generally free verse.

In 1985, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards were created. The poetry award was called the "C. .J. Dennis" award, but the winning poem was always free verse. In 2008, we started the "Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Competition". In 2011, The VPLA dropped the "C. J. Dennis" from its name. I don't know this for certain, but I am fairly sure it was done to avoid confusion with the Toolangi competition. It could be argued that we have done Dennis a disservice. His name has been dropped from a state-wide competition with prize money running into the tens of thousands, and has been added to competition held in a tiny town, with prize money in the hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, we do more than keep the name of C. J. Dennis alive. We also keep his writing alive - albeit to a fairly small audience - so it is not a bad trade-off.

The town of Gunnedah holds the "Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards" for school children. Having judged the competition, I can assure you that almost none of the student entries are written in rhyming verse.

My suspicion is that it is very much the exception for literary competitions to be held in the style of writing of the person after whom they are named simply because historic figures are chosen to name the competitions after, for reasons of gravitas, but writing styles change so much over time.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
http://www.stephenwhiteside.com.au

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Shelley
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Re: 2017 Tom Collins Written Poetry Competition - now open

Post by Shelley » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:44 pm

You make some good points Stephen - and yes, what you say makes sense.

I didn't know that about the naming change of the VPLA awards, but I believe the Toolangi competition keeps the name and work of Den alive in ways that a free verse competition never could, because Toolangi is so much more than an award "in name only" so to speak. It will always be my favourite of all the written competitions ... for so many reasons!

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: 2017 Tom Collins Written Poetry Competition - now open

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:01 pm

I am very touched that you should say that, Shelley.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
http://www.stephenwhiteside.com.au

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