Shire of Mundaring Libraries and KSP Writers' Centre are proud partners of the annual Mundaring Poetry Competition.

Poetry Competition 2022

The winner of the Mundaring Poetry Competition 2022 is Samantha Boswell for her poem “Inter-generational Gardening”. The theme of this year's competition was "New leaves, unfurling".

Caitlin Maling who judged the competition said in her report that the winning poem is “a wonderful poem tracing patterns of family through the gardens tended lovingly by the speaker’s ancestors”. She said that the poem “celebrates as it eulogises those lost, reminds us that even as ‘the season resolves’ there will be a ‘renewing next spring’.

Five entries were highlighted as very strong poems: “Ngoolyak” by Rosanne Dingli (last year’s winner), “Eight Years On” by Claire Langford, “Full Circle” by Ian Reid, “Clementines” by Emma Jayne Wilson, and “Synthesis” by Scott Patrick Mitchell. Caitlin writes that each of these poems “displayed what is one of the most slippery – yet important – qualities of poetry: voice”, and that the voice of a good poem, as these showed, “feels deliberate and engages the reader in conversation”.

You can view the winning poem and judge’s report below.

 Inter-generational Gardening by Samantha Boswell

Late 1960s
Gathered round Aunty Winn’s semi, Uncle Perce still with us in squadron rows
of hollyhocks, foxgloves, anemone, bluebells and lobelia, cousins
are dispatched for the pigs’ trotters to make soup. Press-ganged
into hauling mummified limbs, butcher’s paper disintegrating
on the long return march, revolt flares. There are tears.
Then hand-to-hand combat after dinner, as Grampy conspires
                      to thrash the cousins at cards

In Dad’s trial patch on Colehurst Lane, onions, carrots and potatoes, peas,
turnips, all salvaged from rabbits and moles, trail soil from cellar to kitchen
(to his delight and mum’s alarm). Such bounty – root tendrils frilling
like lace cuffs – she could not see as any
meal. Next April,
his 30
th in the world, we emigrate

Yorick coaxed giant swedes from garden beds forked to cake-crumb with aged
horse manure. To us, visitors renting in the city, absurd bowling ball
swedes in February led to recipe scouring. After housemate Brett
crafted swede pie, we settled on braised, roughly smashed,
salty, cut with butter pats  

Before you confirm mulch and mould allergies, there is a diamond parterre
in our Perth backyard where you exult in asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes,
silverbeet, amaranth and broad beans. Rats are first to feast,
then lorikeets. Feline deposits lie furtive as Claymore mines
until our spaniel routs the neighbour’s cat, and staked
                                Tiny Toms explode
                                in pulped-seed-gore

I watch Yorick edging lawn beneath damson trees the year he dies. Uncle Hugh
pleads guilty over ancient tools wrecked while trying to help,
in imitation, hoeing the ground that Yorick tended. They were
old and worn,
he says, and the season resolves,
a marker of 70 years’ growth, done with now,
renewing next spring

Caitlin Maling – Mundaring Poetry Prize Judge’s Report

It has been a delight to judge the 2022 Mundaring Poetry Prize. I would like to highlight five very strong poems 1. “Ngoolyak”, 25. “Eight Years On”, 27. “Full Circle”, 40. “Clementines”, and 46. “Synthesis”. Each of these poems displayed what is one of the most slippery – yet important – qualities of poetry: voice. Voice in poetry is created by the combination of quantifiable poetic elements ­(for instance rhythm, rhyme, form, metaphor, description) in such a way that the poem feels as if it could only be crafted, or cast, by one maker. Even if not a speaking voice, the voice of a good poem feels deliberate and engages the reader in conversation. The poems which were less successful in the entries were often missing this indefinable element, whether through adopting forms which didn’t suit the contents or not straying from familiar images.

That is not to say there wasn’t something admirable in each of the poems entered. In fact, it was a very strong group of entries. I was particularly taken by the environmental thread running through nearly all of the poems; it seems poets are thinking very deeply about how poetry might help us fashion a new relationship with our shared ecologies, and this is commendable.

The poem which I selected as the winner in this case, was one concerned with cultivating both human and extra-than-human relationships. “Inter-generational gardening”, by Samantha Boswell of Bassendean, is a wonderful poem tracing patterns of family through the gardens tended lovingly by the speaker’s ancestors. Written in a distinctive style that edges towards a series of prose poems, each section traces a decade's growth of family and garden. It is a poem of abundance, rich in diction and attentiveness. It celebrates as it eulogises those lost, reminds us that even as “the season resolves” there will be a “renewing next spring.


Poetry Competition 2021

The winner of the Mundaring Poetry Competition 2021 is Rosanne Dingli for her poem, Flood Delusion.

Josephine Clarke, the judge for the 2021 competition, said in her report that, "There is so much raw life, deep experience poured into poetry that it was difficult to value one poem over another. It was not lightly done".

Three entries were Highly Commended. Josephine said, "All three employ rich, rhythmic language that echoes the sound of the movement they are describing. The lineation is assured and deliberate".

The Highly Commended entries are: Limestone Coast by Janeen Samuel; Pilgrimages of the Short-finned Eel by John Bartlett; and Vale Vijećnica by Marie McMillan.

You can view the poems and the judges report below:

Document Centre - Library - General > Mundaring Poetry Competition


Pictured left to right: Ginetta Evans (Library staff), Elizabeth Lewis (Chairperson, KSP Writers' Centre), Rosanne Dingli (winner), Cr James Martin (President, Shire of Mundaring Council), and Josephine Clarke (judge).