POEM FOREST has announced its shortlist of 84 young poets from across Australia, selected from more than 6,400 entries in this year’s youth nature writing prize.
POEM FOREST plants a tree for every poem entered, creating positive climate action and amplifying the voices of young people across Australia. Now in its third year, this – competition has recieved a record amount of entries – more than 6,400 poems, planting more than 6,400 new seedlings.
Shortlisted poems span eight prize categories for students from years K-12 as well as teachers from every state and territory across Australia.
The winning poem in each category will receive $500, a book pack from Magabala Books, Pantera Press, Wonderground Journal, Pan Macmillan Australia and Murdoch Books (worth $100), a ‘Wild Things’ poster from Wollongong City Council, a poetry journal from Corban & Blair, as well as judging notes and a winner’s certificate. Winning entries will be announced on 16 November 2023.
Check out one of the Upper Secondary shortlisted poems below.
The jaw of a brother
Caitlin W, Year 12
The jaw of a brother hangs over your doorway
like a sinner.
the bliss of the risk
keeps you coming back into the cage
sleek as a seal,
still impassioned when
this churning womb claims payment.
A well-known fact: my whole life, I must swim.
A never-ending pilgrimage
keeps me breathing.
So then, what is the cruelest crime you
can commit against me? Saltwater thumps
at the boat, rhythmic as a heartbeat.
You pick up a knife, carve off my sand-paper limbs and let
them boil alongside garlic and herbs while you toss
my dusky remains overboard and
I start to sink deeper,