2022 Creatrix Prize Winners

2022 Creatrix Haiku Winners

Selected by: Coral Carter, Rose van Son, Barry Sanbrook and Gary De Piazzi

First Prize

heated debate
even the fence
is barbed 

Debbie Strange
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada            
Creatrix 56

Second Prize

cancelled event—
my dress hangs 

Jaya Penelope              Creatrix 54

Highly Commended

Aussie outback
inverting the umbrella
to catch rain

Maureen Sexton              Creatrix 56

cooking for one 
she leaves the door 

Gregory Piko                  Creatrix 55


dead gum
twice a ghost

Natalie Cooke                 Creatrix 57

bus shelter     
a rusting trolley and I 
share the shade 

Nathalie Buckland          Creatrix 56

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Selected by: Peter Jeffery OAM, Allan Padgett and Mitchell Thompson (Leonard James)

First Prize

Choose: Six Voices  by Chris Hipwood     Creatrix 54

Equal Second

Doors     Closing by Jan Napier                Creatrix 56

Equal Second

Bucha March 2022 by Virginia O’Keefe  Creatrix 57

Highly Commended

the publican’s daughter by Mike Pedrana                  Creatrix 54


Sound Effects by Traudl Tan                     Creatrix 56


Kimberley Thumbnail Sketches by Chris Palazzolo      Creatrix 55




Choose: Six Voices is a rowdy, disturbing, but ultimately redemptive poem, beautifully written by a poet with a very fine eye for detail, a pungent grasp of opposing behaviours, a deep interior feeling for the political and social momentum of the everyday, and a sharp appreciation for and of the moment. Chris makes his point, and hard, yet refrains from proselytising. 

He asks us to choose the awfully common habit of procrastination, but follows it with a single short line, three ordinary words, which conclude this brilliant poem with a bang – while pointing to the future and how to conduct it. It is here, so be here now. No, he does not say that, but I think it can be implied:

Choose to do it tomorrow.
 your future.


Equal second place, Jan Napier’s ‘Doors Closing’ is a poem of both suspended animation and its own locomotion. Whilst it playfully toys with sound repetition, slant rhyme and anaphora, delivered with Napier’s signature wit and evocation, on closer inspection this poem is more than a stream of consciousness but a kind of feedback loop. The path of the poem’s voyeurism constantly dissolves into carefully planted speculations, and hungry for more, comes crawling back for more of the observational. This is potently matched with the nature of a train journey, from origin to destination, whose bric-a-brac of passengers can only wait between a past and future, encapsulated by the very train carriage itself. Also of note, is the fine attention to phonetics, line spacing and form, which treats the reader to their own voyeurism both ear and eye can only relish!


One of the key purchases for the new born infant is the pram marked by its elegance for public display and its mobility and Virginia has the happy gift of speaking of the bare bone necessity that the poor peasant has of making maximum and inventive uses for any property she can amass. In this poem we have the pram moving in a cyclic pattern from birth to death with the proud presentation of the new-born son to his funeral bier with in between the bringing in of food and wood. Similarly, the mother stretches her pennies to buy her son a bike which gives him a freedom to range far further than she could ever walk and yet it is also a revenue spinner with its carry -all basket for so many odd jobs it enables. Caught up in the virility of his youth the boy takes himself off in the mad jingoistic rush to an outlying town to recruit and then bring himself hurriedly back to the possible safety of his mother’s humble cottage and orchard once he has experienced the horror of war and leads his desertion. Tragically he is captured and is shot and the pram allows her to carry his corpse to bury him at a pear tree and to weep in daily sorrow.


In a beautifully modulated way the poem balances the very real tensions of a life caused by the abusive nature of a father whose toxic jealousy and outright violence explodes as they drive  away to a motel after closing time at the raw country pub where the parents are the money making component of the publican in their roles as enforcer-of-the peace and odd job man and the flirtatious barmaid that keeps the money rolling in with drinks over the bar.

For public appearance’s sake the publican keeps the boy in the hotel and out of the car until closing time. Through circumstance the boy finds himself in the relative quiet and refined mores of the publican’s mansion near his blood and guts pub at the behest of Veronica. who stirs him with her older sexual attractiveness and her great narrative power of apocalyptic prophecy. In short, the high life has its own tensions and pressures with Veronica’s sister handling her own Shirley Temple princess qualities and trampolining emotions.

But Veronica’s almost perverse story of apocalypse has its own satisfactions for the boy in a surprising manner.


The run from Kununurra to Perth is captured beautifully in his meditations at each of his resting places with short pungent meditations that truly capture the quirky nature of the sketch book even if besmirched with the Pindan dust and the scatter splatter of the occasional clay patches and semi- billabongs that he pushes through

Chris Palazzolo’s poem ‘Kimberley Thumbnail Sketches’ is a suite of four parts surveying landscape and scanning frustrations, where the unforgiving nature of a desert is instead callous by its own timeless scope, climate and climate change are both formidable giant and feverish babe, history is neither fact nor narrative but given the portmanteau forgottenremeberedforgotten, while part four society is sharply juxtaposed by a confusion forced to live on top of fellow confusions. I quite like the feel of this grouping and its connectedness makes it a true cycle of your northern experience. The narrow couple word patterning is like Amber Joy’s orchid poems for me.


In poem ‘Sound Effects’, Traudl Tan delivers a hushing aural experience to every careful and precise whisper. The poem reminds reader how supernatural the natural is, how dark night can be, and ultimately how much darker history can be.

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First Prize

Choose: Six Voices

Choose your persona, Rick Grimes, Robert Neville−Max Rockatansky.
Choose everyman for himself.
Choose a long-range petrol tank—
Choose toilet rolls—ammunition—Ventalin
Choose a diet of non-perishable goods and bottled water—
Choose who you’ll eat first
Choose a Colt Python .357 Magnum
Choose man’s best friend, structure and triple-redundancy.
Choose beyond Thunderdome.

Choose to tap out early.
Choose to take comfort from the thought that you weren’t such a bad bloke.
Choose not to make a fuss.
Choose to leave everything to your cat—including your cat.
Choose eight loved ones to comprise your cortege.
Choose to go quietly into that good night.

Choose to be the fifth guy in the elevator.
Choose 1.4 metres—
Choose to be that prick because some armchair-epidemiologist told you it’s all a load of
Choose to know more than the World Health Organisation.
Choose to ram your unsolicited rhetoric down everyone’s throats—
Choose to know that you know best.

Choose to rally round.
Choose to always look on the bright side.
Choose to check on Doris, the old lady next door.
Choose to put a teddy bear in your window—and one in Doris’s window too.
Choose to knit face masks for frontline workers at Great Ormond Street.
Choose to take the expert’s advice over the pundit’s.
Choose to ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.

Choose hysteria because your hair salon’s closed.
Choose to lament the collapse of the injectables market as the world is brought to its knees.
Choose to play out your vacuous life through an endless pantomime of histrionic social
Choose a diet of junk values and a veneer of tat.

Choose a novelty Zoom background.
Choose to drink on the job because it feels good and because you can.
Choose to make your internet service provider the scapegoat for your being a lazy bastard.
Choose ‘skip-intro,’ —choose one more episode—choose one more—choose another.
Choose to do it t o m o r r o w.

Choose your future.

Chris Hipwood

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Equal Second

Doors                Closing

the train

      spooling through afternoon’s cumulus gloom      tubular    inclusive

       almost its own movie    view matchstick silhouettes in lit windows 

the train

       looping between stations     phone viewers    the curious      the furious

      the cuties     the chewers      the rubes    the fruity    those sudoko doers 

the train 

      cruising swan mute     no whistle whoo whooing      no rackety clackety   

      tunnel’s plunge    a rush    spooky confusion     a blinding conclusion.

the train

      fluting tuned out commuters to home smoke   to who    is she a shrew 

      brand new computer    booze    TV news     lamb ragout    ooh coochy coo.

the train    

      losing velocity     night city a fusion of mood and idea 

      illumination without rumination      all passengers please 

                                                                                                       alight here.     

Jan Napier

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Equal Second

Bucha March 2022

When he was born she carried him home in her arms
wrapped in a shawl knitted by her mother.
As he grew older she wheeled him in a battered pram
handed down by her sister, 
its wheels sometimes stuck in the ruts of the road.
At ten he rode a bicycle with large wheels
and a carrier for kindling at the rear. 
They had no need of a car,
everything they used they grew in a plot out the back.

When the soldiers came she was pruning the pear trees,
her old bones sturdy on the wooden ladder,
sure in their stance and wielding the saw, familiar, steady.
She heard the guns, her world trembled.
When dusk came she used the wheelbarrow
to carry him home wrapped in a rug woven by the family.
She buried him in the plot where the potatoes had grown,
laid the ladder over him and, then, only then,
did her tears rain beneath the pear trees.

Virginia O’Keeffe

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Highly Commended

the publicans daughter

some publicans didn’t like the thought of me sleeping in the back of my parents
yellow ford parked out front where
mother served beers
and father bashed the drunks.
this one was no different.

(since he owned the most violent pub
in our small town)

he made sure i slept indoors until closing time.

on the outskirts
east it splintered.
legged with numerous snake-drunk dirt tracks.
a pub in the middle of no where with tentacles;
red strips of foot-fat scaling pathways sprawling into the spinifex-pregnant levee banks
that mothered itself into the
squinting sharp chirping heat.

built beside the slim-dusty-glass-smashing-blood-splotched pub stood
a double story regal homestead. the publicans house.
it shadowed haughtily like a rook on a broken chessboard.
and thats where i met veronica.
the publicans daughter.

i was eleven and she was fifteen
and as she led me to the family room,
i was excited to have company instead of echoes and thuds and pillow-less cold back seats.
she was tall and broody and i was lean and head bowed.
what i remember most that night was veronica telling me a story.
her younger sister, a shirley temple mantle-piece picture was preparing for bed when she
heard it too.
she burst into tears and trampolined her heavy fear
through the creaking mouth of the hallway passage
into the slamming chamber
of her room.
but me,
i glowed warm like a mothers smile.
under the dim undusted light of a chandelier
veronica convinced us that the world was going to end soon.
excited I asked when.
perplexed she repeated soon.

later that night I was back into the cold stiffness of the back seat car.
as always,
he would drive home drunk and knuckle scarred and
she would be pleading her innocence to his slurring accusations.
as always he begins to hit her.
her soft head thuds against her passenger window.
her screams normally cause me to urinate as i
spring up from that back seat,
and with my little vinyl patterned imprinted arms,
begin splintering him with little fists of nothings,
but all to protect her.

but this night i didnt.

this night i curled up tight, trying to squeeze her screams and tears out of my head and
replacing it with hope!

i was thinking of what veronica, 

the publicans daughter  
told me.

that the world was going to end soon.                                          

                                                 and then finally, finally,

                                                                                              he would stop hitting her.

Mike Pedrana

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Sound effects

no wing beat heard nor swish of feathers
just a sudden midnight shriek
close to dome-tented
imagined security,
more heart-rending, human-like wails
follow in tone and crescendo
then in dread and fear I hear
bone chilling screams slash like daggers,
assault the cosiness of a dream-filled swag

such haunting, eerie sounds
of deepest anguish and
utter desolation
cause instant trepidation,
gone the memory of a star-studded sky
whispering flames of a camp fire
sending aromatic cypress pine waft
over hot mugs of black tea
shared in good company

now cautious venture in the dark
instantly reveals the rushing
whooosssh of a feathery get-away
bush stone-curlews’ flight
swiftly splits the night
their calls in the Kimberley
are believed to be
spirit voices of children
crying for their mothers

could it be that we might see
bush stone-curlews, like children,
            afraid of the dark?

Traudl Tan

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Kimberley Thumbnail Sketches

1. Geology

The amount of Earth out there 
pulls on me, sends my phrases
chasing echoes of some hollow conceit.

All of it out there – the dirt, the loose stones,
the rock piled on rock – doesn’t judge
or hector or engage in any way 
with any of it; it doesn’t see, it doesn’t
hear, doesn’t feel; chthonic, in-itself
 it has not lain for 100s 
of millions of years, nor will it lay for 100s 
of millions more; that is human conceit.
It is forever now, always and evermore Now.

2. Climate

You can forget how big he is
when he sleeps under that bright 
dry blue and cold mist stars.

But when he wakes you realise again
how small you are; that shift before all
your senses at the step of your door
is the swell of the Land rising 
to his monstrous green and savage self,
a Gaian fever bursting seed, egg and womb.

For the next five months 
he will be awake, his metabolism will race 
at a steady 42° Celsius, his mountains 
will take lightning strikes 
and reptiles will rule the night.

3. History

Here nations of the mind
jostled on gestures and agreements 
and songs and fights which were all 
worked around
forgottenrememberedforgotten etc
because time didn’t exist, only Earth.

Here nations of the mind woke to time
in a surveyor’s glass – a ghost 
cleaved to the Law of book and gun – 
and strange animals grazing the Earth. 
From chain, stock and saddle 
they watched time’s bills 
threshed like husks off the grain of the Earth.

Time begat wages – wages begat labour – 
labour begat time etc – the Earth 
was engridded with road, fence and dam. 
Loosed, nations in negative slide 
across the Earth, losing skin on rigid edges.

4. Society (and me)

The boom boxes are the night’s 
racing heartbeat. It is a sleepless animal – 
it stinks of rot and smokes and bat. 

I try to sleep, under fans, without sheets,
but wakefulness draws me to my lawn. 
I hear a nation in negative burn energy 
all hot foetid night – the squeals of chasy kids
(who play while my kids dream)
give me the chill of the alien.

Chris Palazzolo

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