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History

Administered by the Victorian branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers; awarded annually, as the Anne Elder Award, for the best first book of poetry published in Australia.

Winners

2017 winner y separately published work icon Bone Ink Rico Craig , Ulladulla : Guillotine Press , 2017 13390527 2017 selected work poetry
2015 winner y separately published work icon Aurelia John Hawke , Carlton : Cordite Press , 2015 8623953 2015 selected work poetry

'In his retelling of the myth of Orpheus – where Eurydice is described as ‘the profoundly obscure point to which art and desire, death and night, seem to tend’ – Maurice Blanchot charts the relationship between poetry and loss, by which to desire is to necessitate, even to invoke, obscurity: to confine the object of desire, along with the poet, to song; to translate life into word, and, through word, into dream. In this conception, to write is always to admit to, but also to dwell with, loss – to experience the loss of a once-loved person as a mode of living. When Nerval writes that dreams are a second life, he not only refers to the dreams we experience in sleep, but also to the dreams that arise as a consequence of lost desires, dreams perhaps thwarted by chance: of lives once meant, but never lived.

'These lives often coexist with our own as lost alternatives, counter-experiences or impossible possibilities; they lie within the everyday like a subtext, or a haunting. To transmute desire into language is to erect a monument to that desire, to announce it as permanent, but also to profoundly transform both the subject and the object of desire: to confine them, in their relationship, to the monument and the tomb. Since evocation presupposes loss or absence – as Mallarmé showed – then to write is to desire something that continually slips away, and must once again be invoked in a series of repetitions and beginnings that both conjure and obscure. '–John Hawke' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon Circumnavigation Cathy Altmann , Montrose : Poetica Christi Press , 2014 7186928 2014 selected work poetry
2013 winner y separately published work icon Confessional Box Vanessa Page , North Hobart : Walleah Press , 2013 Z1937792 2013 selected work poetry
2012 winner y separately published work icon Body Language Elizabeth Allen , Sydney : Vagabond Press , 2012 Z1914602 2012 selected work poetry

'Body Language is a strong debut collection. Rather than heralding the sudden arrival of an exciting new voice in Australian poetry this book represents a voice that has been there for some time but is only just now confident enough to speak up and make itself heard, for Allen has been a silent participant and observer in the Australian poetry scene for some time. Here she writes about everyday experiences – doing a crossword, studying a bunch of flowers, watching a bird out the window – as they are refracted through the prism of the poet’s mind with all its obsessions, anxieties and peculiar sensitivities. Allen writes about grief and how we repeatedly make sense of absence, with moving accuracy. Her poetry is mindful and grounded in the body, but it also goes off on unusual imaginative tangents. These poems take us from Sydney to Italy, from the psychiatrist’s office to the hairdresser’s; there is sex, love, and friendship, and even Kate Moss makes an appearance. Allen’s poems are concerned with emotional rather than factual accuracy.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2011 winner y separately published work icon The Weather of Tongues Mags Webster , Cottesloe : Sunline Press , 2011 Z1856137 2011 selected work poetry
2010 winner y separately published work icon An Absence of Saints Rosanna Licari , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2010 Z1713221 2010 selected work poetry
2009 winner y separately published work icon The Striped World Emma Scully Jones , London : Faber , 2009 Z1584907 2009 selected work poetry (taught in 1 units)
2009 winner y separately published work icon Aria Sarah Holland-Batt , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2008 Z1522089 2008 selected work poetry
2008 winner y separately published work icon View from the Lucky Hotel Sandy Fitts , Parkville : Five Islands Press , 2008 Z1547418 2008 selected work poetry
2007 winner y separately published work icon Fresh News From the Arctic Libby Hart , Carindale : Interactive Publications , 2006 Z1305828 2006 selected work poetry
2005 winner y separately published work icon Rainswayed Night Max Ryan , Byron Bay : Dangerously Poetic Press , 2005 Z1248616 2005 selected work poetry
2003 winner y separately published work icon Cut Lunch Chris Andrews , Charnwood : Indigo , 2002 Z973114 2002 selected work poetry
2003 winner y separately published work icon Extraction of Arrows Kathryn Lomer , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2003 Z1057785 2003 selected work poetry
2002 winner y separately published work icon Flight Animals Bronwyn Lea , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2001 Z902652 2001 selected work poetry
2000 winner y separately published work icon The Garden of Delights Arthur M. Spyrou , Pyrmont : Monogene , 2000 Z792096 2000 selected work poetry
1998 winner y separately published work icon I/T : selected poems 1980-1996 Amanda Stewart , Surry Hills : Here and There Books , 1998 Z797598 1998 selected work poetry
1998 winner y separately published work icon Outside Temple Boundaries Jane Williams , Wollongong : Five Islands Press , 1998 Z429303 1998 selected work poetry
1997 winner y separately published work icon Night Reversing Morgan Yasbincek , South Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1996 Z225143 1996 selected work poetry
1996 winner y separately published work icon Dumbstruck Marcella Polain , Wollongong : Five Islands Press , 1996 Z225041 1996 selected work poetry
1995 winner y separately published work icon Michelangelo's Prisoners Jennifer Harrison , Collingwood : Australian Scholarly Publishing Black Pepper , 1995 Z32780 1995 selected work poetry
1993 winner Bird Dream Terry Whitebeach , 1993 selected work poetry
— Appears in: Four New Poets 1993; (p. 265-358)
1992 winner y separately published work icon Abundance Nicolette Stasko , Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 1992 Z553175 1992 selected work poetry humour
1990 winner y separately published work icon Verandahs Jean Kent , Sydney : Hale and Iremonger , 1990 Z441038 1990 selected work poetry
1990 winner y separately published work icon Raft : Poems 1983-1990 Barry Hill , Ringwood New York (City) : Penguin , 1990 Z60472 1990 selected work poetry
1989 winner y separately published work icon Conversing with Stones Mark Miller , Wollongong : Five Islands Press , 1989 Z17548 1989 selected work poetry
1988 winner y separately published work icon The Rearrangement Alex Skovron , Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 1988 Z494673 1988 selected work poetry
1987 winner y separately published work icon A Hunger to be Less Serious Sarah Day , North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1987 Z367121 1987 selected work poetry
1986 winner y separately published work icon Boy with a Telescope Jan Owen , North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1986 Z389398 1986 selected work poetry
1986 winner y separately published work icon A Crowd of Voices Stephen J. Williams , Kew : Pariah Press , 1985 Z400571 1985 selected work poetry short story
1984 winner y separately published work icon Under Mount Egmont and Other Poems Max Richards , Newtown : Neptune Press , 1983 Z548235 1983 selected work poetry
1984 winner y separately published work icon The Truth about Unicorns Doris Brett , Milton : Jacaranda Press , 1984 Z363622 1984 selected work poetry
1983 winner y separately published work icon The Cold Front David Brooks , Sydney : Hale and Iremonger , 1983 Z372284 1983 selected work poetry
1982 joint winner y separately published work icon Readings from Ecclesiastes : Poems Peter Goldsworthy , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1982 Z201819 1982 selected work poetry
1982 joint winner y separately published work icon Trader Kate and the Elephants Kate Llewellyn , Unley : Friendly Street Poets , 1982 Z132641 1982 selected work poetry
1981 joint winner y separately published work icon The Hotel Anonymous : Poems Jenny Boult , Adelaide : Bent Enterprises , 1980 Z515890 1980 selected work poetry
1981 joint winner y separately published work icon The Division of Anger : Poems Gig Ryan , Glebe : Transit Poetry Allbooks Distribution , 1980 Z109306 1980 selected work poetry
1980 winner y separately published work icon Pompeii Deep Fry Richard Lunn , Beecroft : Randolph Press , 1980 Z239955 1980 selected work poetry
1979 winner y separately published work icon The Hum of the Old Suit : Poems Les Harrop , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1979 Z455961 1979 selected work poetry
1978 winner y separately published work icon Invitation to a Marxist Lesbian Party Lee Cataldi , Sydney : Wild and Woolley , 1978 Z260409 1978 selected work poetry
1977 joint winner y separately published work icon East : Poems 1970-74 Laurie Duggan , Clifton Hill : R. Kenny , 1976 Z435526 1976 selected work poetry
1977 joint winner y separately published work icon At Last No Reply Graeme Curtis , St Lucia : Makar Press , 1977 Z47499 1977 selected work poetry
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