Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award 2015

Last month a poem I wrote for the Nillumbik Shire Council ekphrastic poetry award was judged ‘highly commended’.

I wrote a poem, How to paint a sigh, in response to an untitled landscape by David Moore. All the winning and highly commended poems have been published onto postcards and can be found at various locations around the Nillumbik area. They are also available online with the judge’s report. I recommend that you read the judges report if you are thinking of entering next year, it’s a great resource. This year’s judges were Helen Lucas, Steve Smart and Karen Throssell. Their comments were:

I loved the title of this poem from the start – how does artist evoke a sigh? Both artist and poet create a wonderful serenity; the poet develops this by references to the senses, imagining the soft sound of the artist’s brush on canvas, the scent of the eucalypts. This work is an excellent example of an ekphrastic response.

Copy of Nillumbik S.C. Postcard via file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/Ekphrasis_2015_DL_postcard.pdf

Copy of Nillumbik S.C. Postcard via file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/Ekphrasis_2015_DL_postcard.pdf

The awards evening was beautifully run. There was a small gallery of the work which was a great opportunity for some of the writers to see the art works for the first time (most of us viewed the works online). All of the poems were read by actress Debra Lawrance (Home and Away, Please Like Me) with images of the artwork projected behind. The awards were presented by Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Cr Helen Coleman.

Melissa Watts with CR Helen Coleman. Photo via Nillumbik Shire Council.

Melissa Watts with CR Helen Coleman. Photo via Nillumbik Shire Council.

This was such a shock, and a great boost to my confidence, given that I have had a ten year gap in writing poetry and only took it back up for the Ballarat Writers ekphrastic poetry projects. (In fact when they first started I opened the opportunity to submit vignettes as well as I was too nervous to write poetry.)

The night was a bitter-sweet night for me, I kept thoughts of my fellow Ballarat Writers ekphrastic poet Pamela Miller close by. Pamela had passed away earlier that week, she was such a great writer and participant in all of the Ballarat Writers ekphrasis projects.

Melissa Watts with artwork - David Moore, Untitled. Photo via Nillumbik Shire Council.

Melissa Watts with artwork – David Moore, Untitled. Photo via Nillumbik Shire Council.

The competition is open each year to writers all over Australia so keep your eyes peeled for next year.

Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award Ceremony 2015: Melissa Watts (commended), Lyn Chatham (2nd Prize), Sandra Renew (commended), David Kelly (commended), Jo Wilson Ridley (commended), Helen Bradwell (3rd prize), Helen Lucas (judge), Mayor Cr Helen Coleman, Steve Smart (judge), Karen Throssell (judge), Debra Lawrance (special guest reader). Photo via Nillumbik Shire Council.

Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award Ceremony 2015: Melissa Watts (commended), Lyn Chatham (2nd Prize), Sandra Renew (commended), David Kelly (commended), Jo Wilson Ridley (commended), Helen Bradwell (3rd prize), Helen Lucas (judge), Mayor Cr Helen Coleman, Steve Smart (judge), Karen Throssell (judge), Debra Lawrance (special guest reader). Photo via Nillumbik Shire Council.