2012 Creatrix Prize Winners


Congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 Creatrix Poetry/Haiku Prizes from Issue 15 to Issue 17.

Thank you to Sunline Press, Fremantle Press, Crow Books and Tantamount Press for donating the prizes.
Thank you to all of the poets who contributed and to Peter Jeffrey, Chris Arnold and Zan Ross for judging the Poetry Prize and Rose van Son, Meryl Manoy, Amanda Joy and Gary De Piazzi for judging the Haiku Prize.


Creatrix Poetry Prize Winners

First Prize – Sally Clarke

ruined pianos – number one

Second Prize – Allan Padgett

The Wheatbelt Turns To Dust

Joint Third Prize – Jan Napier


Joint Third Prize – Julie Watts

First Flight

Highly Commended – Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Cracks and Gaps

Highly Commended – Derek Fenton

Hook, Line and Sinker


Creatrix Haiku Prize Winners 

First Prize – Coral Carter

oranges ripen
half hidden among leaves
—the setting sun 

Second Prize – Sally Clarke

leaves sprout
from a blackened stump
charity bin overflows

Third Prize – Gary Colombo De Piazzi

heron poised –
its rippled likeness
the only movement

Highly Commended – Meryl Manoy

the sea breeze
flattens bushes
ocean swells

Highly Commended – Kevin Gillam

nothing as cool
as the other side
of the pillow

Highly Commended – Graeme Butler

an old jam post
invisibly extended
the Mopoke


First Prize

ruined pianos – number one
for ross

the first he found in a
farm storeroom
weather warping for years
asked for the generator
to be switched off
was given one hour
to record stretched strings
distorted stops/starts
arrested original
knew he’d found
something new
worthwhile exploring
unearthly heavenly nesting
drifting spherical
unattached spacious/specious
brief planet encounters
beyond imagination
travelling faster/slower
than thought/light
into dark night
beyond into other nights …
slack wires cryptic
calling elliptic looping wilderness
floating edging irresistibly
unfettered satellite time
plucking star music
staccato pizzicato alongside
catchy earthbound burrowing
kangaroo hopping boomerang
woomera didgeridoo
tapping message sticks
mixed occasionally with
salon sing-alongs from past days
before the old piano came to rest
awaiting new discovery
another state

Sally Clarke

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Second Prize 

The Wheatbelt Turns To Dust

The rocks here flatten out like lizards, they crawl
across the drought-beaten landscape like metal
reptiles, they lie in desperate wait
for soaking rain, to catch, to hold, to harvest
the wetted sky.  But that water-laden

sky passes over yet again,
past the red stripped earth
and the baking rocks
and the York Gums and the Jam –

shedding leaves and even life itself,
as water shuns the central wheatbelt,
and livelihoods sink into the bitter dust of dreams.
For the birds, the eagles which in times past
curled lazily overhead on shifting currents of warm
rising air, pallid cuckoos parasitised
others’ nests, rufous whistlers sang their melodies,
and grey butcher birds mimicked their birdly friends:

for them, all this has paused.  There is a dreadful
nothingness in the air – except for the cold stars
far above, which sent their light in particles of despair
as their own spectral fires went out. The parching

wheatbelt turns to dust, and hopes and dreams
become cannibalised by incessant
showers of promise –
and no rain falls.

Allan Padgett 

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Equal Third Prize


Today I am foreign to everything
squinch down inside my thoughts
see them scorch   burn    die.
The Farmer’s Almanac in the kitchen
recounts February     there’s a red
heart around the fourteenth.
My health professional argues
for September.
Jack’s favourite parka still lives
behind the door     smells of the mints
he always chewed.
The sun has cooled to Baltic amber.
Goosepimply in a sundress
I pull my cardigan closer
score a minus for awareness.
Rain is crystal spicules
my heart a cindery black thing
that when you find it after the inferno
crunches like kindling underfoot.
His rubber boots have perished too.
I climbed the mountain
found it flaky and brittle at the edges
couldn’t keep a hold    slipped back.
It is dark yet in my valley
but the world has fast forwarded
to clover and new calves.
The rain begins again. I get wet.
Even umbrellas are interim.

Jan Napier

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Equal Third Prize

First flights

The fork in the gum tree
is a triangled window
through which I see

young parrots
strengthening wings in play.
They are too far away to hear

but I can see their crimson heads
nodding rubies
lime green wings        flashes of jade.

In the olive leaves
their plump young bodies         yellow plums
on bouncing branches

and I don’t need to hear
to recognize their romping joy
cocky banter         the pause

as they push themselves forward
into unknown thermals
the rush           flushing out each wing.

He has packed his bags and kisses me
steps off the driveway with his raucous friends

and they fall into the updraft
with much whooping.

Julie Watts

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Highly Commended

Cracks and Gaps

She is mercury and active as boiling water.
Nothing can hold her and nothing can stop her
in the floating, moving dance of what we have become.

There is subtlety that I cannot understand.
It has grown into her features, into her face
to glove her movements.

She flickers through my life
sweeps the sting of her touch across my heart
only to settle indifferent in our bed.

We converse as strangers with movements
that rarely mesh on paths occasionally crossing.
Bound by threads that refuse to break.

Her touch is elusive but I cannot walk away.
There is too much history, too many connections
and the fault is difficult to track.

This metronome life moves us back and forth
to a tempo that is strange, each breath
as essential as the next, as impossible to ignore.

There are cracks in both of us
that ointments won’t relieve and some days
are too wide to bridge

but I still long to hold her, dance together
and shout away the fears in this crazy life
of tacks and gaps that we have become.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi 

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Highly Commended

For Fatima Meer: sociologist, anti-apartheid activist, friend and biographer of Nelson Mandela, who taught me the most valuable lesson of my life during a tutorial in 1965.

She played us like a tiger fish-
We hardly felt the hook at all,
leaping out of the water,
ecstatically, as she gave us line.

Sitting serenely in her sari
she suggested that we accept
that it is the colder climates
which produce superior civilizations.

She let us run with it a while
and then started to wind us in
from our false sense of security,
whites wallowing in certainty.

She talked of Mesopotamia,
Mexico, Egypt and India
so carefully, so clearly,
that we didn’t notice how close

we were to the boat and gaff.
Just as Madiba* had his gaolers,
she dropped us on the deck in a flash
gently removing the hook.

She threw us back over the side
to struggle in the raging rapids
as she and her friend, Nelson,
swam strongly against the current.

She died just over a year ago
but the scar of her fishing hook
remains on my cheek like a brand.

 Derek Fenton

*Nelson Mandela.
Accepted by Quadrant.

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