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Grace Leven Poetry Prize
or Grace Leven Prize for Poetry
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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'The Grace Leven Prize for Poetry is an annual award given in the name of Grace Leven who died in 1922. It was established by  William Baylebridge  who "made a provision for an annual poetry prize in memory of 'my benefactress Grace Leven' and for the publication of his own work". Grace was his mother's half-sister.'

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2012

joint winner y separately published work icon Another Fine Morning In Paradise Michael Sharkey , Parkville : Five Islands Press , 2012 Z1869054 2012 selected work poetry

'Another Fine Morning In Paradise, Sharkey's first collections since The Sweeping Plain, recounts the droll customs of suburban and rural Cockaigne, the existential states of earthly and other paradises, and re-imagines a poet's fragmented Australia. Isolation, loss and heartbreak are never far from these projections of the good life, in poems that characteristically celebrate endurance with compassion, allusiveness and wit.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

joint winner y separately published work icon Rawshock Toby Fitch , Glebe : Puncher and Wattmann , 2012 Z1877521 2012 selected work poetry 'Using the Rorschach inkblots as metaphors, conjuring the wondrous and the monstrous in his poems, Toby Fitch brings a new vision and shape to Australian poetry. Old modes of expression "such as the mythic, the romantic, the symbolic and the surreal" are all given fresh voice and patterning. The poems in Rawshock mythologise love, anxiety, the self and city living, dovetailing inner and outer worlds with a healthy antipodean dose of absinthe and concrete poetry.' (Publisher's blurb)
joint winner y separately published work icon Autoethnographic Michael Brennan , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2012 Z1901163 2012 selected work poetry Autoethnographic tunes into the feedback loops of liquid modernity and the strange loop of the self. With an anarchic openness to anxiety, dysfunction and the endless hunger for community, Brennan's third collection offers hallucinatory jumpcuts from a dystopic near-present inhabited by casino capitalists, bonobo cultists, free market geneticists, grifters, lurkers and lovers going about their business in the aftermath of the freedom agenda. Interrogating the surreality of perpetual growth and the violent ellipses of democratic capitalism, his short narratives are jagged canticles to the beautiful monsters of language, love, friendship and family; field notes from a protean and kaleidoscopic world governed by speed and recurrence, the flows of desire and the architecture of fear; a disorientating and relentless mix of elegy, anti-poetry and post human punk. [From the publisher]
joint winner y separately published work icon The Collected Blue Hills Laurie Duggan , Glebe : Puncher and Wattmann , 2012 Z1932689 2012 selected work poetry

'In late 1980 Laurie Duggan began writing the Blue Hills poems as a kind of respite from the 'poetry wars'. The series mostly spread itself out over a number of books running in parallel with other more ostensibly 'worthy' projects like The Ash Range and The Epigrams of Martial. These poems now gathered here are at the heart of what Duggan sees as his poetic work.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

joint winner y separately published work icon The Jaguar's Dream : Translations, Adaptations, Versions, Extrapolations, Interpolations, Afters, Takes and Departures John Kinsella , Richmond : Alma Books , 2012 Z1883193 2012 selected work poetry 'In this volume of "cover" poems, John Kinsella takes the work of poets from across the centuries writing in languages other than English, including French, Russian, German, Greek, Latin and Chinese, and recreates the original works as translations, adaptations and versions. In the case of nineteenth-century French poets, including Leconte de Lisle, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Cros, there is close consideration of the traditional conventions of translation; Kinsella produces versions designed to capture the intent and design of the originals. However, with medieval poet Francois Villon, Kinsella has taken his 'criminal jargon' poems and made radical departures into a play on contemporary criminal' language. Using a vast array of interpretative techniques, Kinsella takes the reader from the intense and chthonic animal poems of the Parnassian Leconte de Lisle, who spent much of his younger life on his birth island of Bourbon (La Reunion), through linguistically innovative remakings of Tristan Tzara's Dadaist poetry, to enigmatic investigations of the brilliant twentieth-century poet of witness, fragmentation and reconstitution of language, Paul Celan' (Libraries Australia).

Year: 2010

joint winner y separately published work icon Phantom Limb David Musgrave , 2008 St Kilda : John Leonard Press , 2010 Z1549987 2008 selected work poetry

'David Musgrave’s poems are at once meditative and restless, elegant and sensual – with an energy of empathy that draws him to a wealth of subjects. They are in several kinds of free verse and formal constraint. Here is wit and melancholy in equal measure, with a dose of joyous satire thrown in.

'Waterscapes and landscapes figure strongly. Typically they move from the moment of observation to make transformative connections with emotional and imaginative states: the continual freshness of approach from one to another of these poems is a hallmark.

'Other poems meet human situations more immediately. The self, or some other, is substantiated with a generosity of feeling — and this becomes a startling quality within the strands of satire in some poems, notably ‘The Baby Boomers’. Generosity also drives — as much as an elegant form does — ‘Young Montaigne Goes Riding’. Those two extended poems are peaks in a book of exuberant curiosity.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

joint winner y separately published work icon Patience, Mutiny L. K. Holt , Melbourne : John Leonard Press , 2010 Z1690767 2010 selected work poetry

'All but four of these poems by LK Holt are fourteen-liners: free-verse sonnets if you like—certainly lyrics, but somehow massive. They have elegance, terror, surprising imaginations, humour and extraordinarily disciplined thought. The darting variety that marked her prize-winning first collection has come to a steadier gaze in her second.

'A nut-shell account of the book’s four parts might describe a movement from familial well-being—happy-being—to a concluding psalmic sufferance, through reflections on the survival-feats of boys and men, on the self-presence of young women, and on love.

'That description catches her intimate touch but not her outreach. Holt’s writing shows how the present doesn’t escape the weight, or the light, of ancient narratives. History stands inside poems of contemporary dailiness, turning them to half-epic.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

joint winner y separately published work icon The Simplified World Petra White , Melbourne : John Leonard Press , 2010 Z1690772 2010 selected work poetry (taught in 1 units)

'Like Petra White’s applauded first collection, her second begins and ends with a fable of the uncanny ordinary. Between is a cornucopia of odes: epistolary, philosophical, elegiac. These poems think through and honour the normal mysteries of fate.

'Her world is large and contemporary, anchored by a young poet’s own memories. White inhabits her poems lightly, using personal experience with wit and without self-pleading. Some of this work shows the shadow of depression: not so much expressing moods as touching on how depression dwells, finding its register so it can speak.

'A number of poems openly engage with notable depressives of literary history, but we don’t need those homages to realise that this poet is a very capacious reader. It is there in her music. Late Lowell and Bishop, along with Harwood, ghost the swift edge in her language. Beyond these, a large tradition of cadences and tropes is absorbed in her fluent free verse lines.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2008

winner y separately published work icon The Australian Popular Songbook Alan Wearne , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2008 Z1491950 2008 selected work poetry prose 'The Australian Popular Songbook is a suite (though not strictly a sequence) of 28 sonnets, other 14 liners and related verse forms such as villanelles. Each poem is inspired by a popular Australian song from circa the 1880s through to 1980. The book also includes a group of mainly narrative poems inspired by places, mainly suburbs, in Melbourne, Sydney and in one case Wollongong.'--Provided by publisher.

Year: 2007

winner y separately published work icon The Goldfinches of Baghdad Robert Adamson , Chicago : Flood Editions , 2006 Z1305059 2006 selected work poetry (taught in 2 units)

Year: 2006

winner y separately published work icon The Past Completes Me : Selected Poems 1973-2003 Alan Gould , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2005 Z1193523 2005 selected work poetry This selection of the author's previously published poetry is comprised of some 194 short, titled poems. Slight variations from previously published versions are apparent in some poems.

Works About this Award

Book Notes [6 July 1991] 1991 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 6 July 1991; (p. 41)
Foreword [15-16 September, 1990] 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 15-16 September 1990; (p. 5)
Book Notes [25 August 1990] 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 25 August 1990; (p. 73)
[Untitled] [The Bulletin, 22 July 1959] 1959 single work column biography
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 22 July vol. 80 no. 4145 1959; (p. 14-15)
William Baylebridge R. G. Howarth , 1955 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 16 no. 3 1955; (p. 122-134)