The winners of the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize 2017 have been announced, and this year the winning poets (first and runner up) are both Dunedin based writers -
Winning poem: Road to Murdering Beach by Majella Cullinane (Dunedin)
Runner-up: Finding Billy Collins in the fiction shelves by Ruth Arnison (Dunedin)
Four poets also received a highly commended from judge Riemke Ensing, and these were –
Bridge – Carolyn McCurdie (Dunedin), Lumb Bank – Sarah Grout (Auckland/London), Notes from a refugee – Ruth Hanover (Christchurch), and Cambodia (a deconstructed country) – Susan Howard (Warkworth)
The Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize 2017 is in its sixth year, and rewards the winner with a $500 prize plus a week-long residency at the Caselberg House in Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula.
Auckland poet Riemke Ensing was this year’s judge, and she said of Cullinane’s winning poem Road to Murdering Beach, “I liked the confident way it addressed the reader in a very conversational colloquial voice; the way a narrative was told with minimal detail, concentrating instead on imagery to convey the ‘feel’ of the story as we plunge through ‘the charcoal sky of dusk beneath the sea.’ She added “It made me want to find out more about the past of this beautiful beach”
Majella Cullinane is a PhD candidate in Creative Practice at the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, University of Otago, Dunedin. Originally from Ireland, she’s lived in New Zealand since 2008. In 2014 she was awarded the Robert Burns Fellowship. She published her first collection, Guarding The Flame (Salmon Poetry), in 2011, and her second is forthcoming in 2018.
Ruth Arnison’s poems have appeared in journals and ezines including Deep South, Takahe, Cadenza, and Orbis. She is also well known as the editor of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ), an arts in health charity which distributes 6700 free poetry cards every season to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, prisons and hospices.
Cullinane and Arnison’s winning poems, along with Riemke Ensing’s judges report, will be published in the forthcoming edition of Landfall magazine – Landfall 234 (published in November 2017). All the winning poems will also be posted on the Caselberg Trust website www.caselbergtrust.org after Landfall is published.
The Caselberg Trust will also be hosting a Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize 2017 awards evening at the University Book Shop, Cumberland Street, Dunedin, at 5.30pm Thursday 30 November. Judge Riemke Ensing will read her judges report, and talk about this year’s entries. Winning poets will be invited to read their poems.