Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize

2020 Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize

Susannah Dickey is the 2020 Winner.

The poems in genuine human values are an animated anti-heroic rewriting of Marlowe’s min-epic Hero and Leander, already parodied (but in quite a different way) by Byron after he swam across the Hellespont in 1810. Dickey’s verse drama and prose poems begin with H watching as L’s body is pulled out of the sea. What follows is a caustic contemporary mediation on love, obedience, hope and the future – for a young woman whose life from the point of view of those around her is already over. A (Aphrodite?) is a mocking, blaming teacher (‘this is what happens when you don’t put out’) and the priestesses seem unable to offer any useful advice. This is smart, fresh, inventive poetry, a brief but exhilarating series of encounters and interventions that muddy the waters around its protagonist and usher in an important new talent in Irish writing.

Commended

  • Stephen Sexton

Judges

  • Professor Ken Gelder (Acting director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne)
  • Emeritus Professor Kevin Brophy (Poet and honorary, School of Culture and Communication)
  • Professor Ronan McDonald (Gerry Higgins Chair of Irish Studies, School of Culture and Communication)

2018 Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize

Joel Deane is the 2018 winner.

Joel Deane's poetry gives us striking and perceptive images of the world he moves through: actual local places like Melbourne's Westgate bridge to distant locations he either visits or imagines and recreates. He charts his experiences with a vivid precision, dissecting his thoughts in ways that pay delirious tribute to the many possibilities of the poetic form. "Year of the Wasp'"(2016) is partly a chronicle of Deane's recovery after a stroke. The loss of language here becomes mythological, and is regained with an acute and critical awareness of the everyday world.

Deane's poetry can turn to political matters on the one hand, while burrowing into the most intimately fraught experiences on the other: the lonely nocturnal killing of a fox, for example. But these glimpsed moments of cruelty and suffering sit alongside a series of touching insights into human love and warmth and the celebration of a human capacity to survive and endure: 'we love this life we are leaving', he writes, 'and are unafraid of the next'. The sheer vitality of Joel Deane's poetry will no doubt invite an energetic and creative engagement with Irish poets and place through the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize.

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Commended

  • Diane Fahey
  • Simon West

Judges

  • Dr Linda Weste (Poet and Lecturer, Creative Writing Program)
  • Professor Peter Otto (School of Culture and Communication)
  • Professor Ken Gelder (Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne)

2016 Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize

James Harpur is the 2016 winner.

James Harpur is an accomplished poet with a compelling narrative voice and unpretentious style. His forthcoming book 'In Loco Parentis' chronicles family and institutional life in poetry that is alive to characters and the ways they can affect each other.

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Read about the announcement

Judges

  • Professor Kevin Brophy (Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne - Poet)
  • Professor Ken Gelder (Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne - Professor of English)
  • Professor Denise Varney (Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne - Professor, Theatre Studies)

2014 Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize

Dan Disney is the 2014 winner.

This was not an easy decision, but the judges finally awarded the prize to an emerging Australian poet whose work is sophisticated, fresh, and at times precisely located in the towns of his birthplace in Eastern Victoria. Dan Disney's beautifully produced book, and then when the (John Leonard Press, 2011) provides the basis for a reading tour of Ireland that will showcase a poetry of wit, verve and serious philosophical inquiry.

Judges

  • Professor Kevin Brophy (Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne - Head of Creative Writing - Poet)
  • Professor Ken Gelder (co-Director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne - Professor of English)
  • Associate Professor Denise Varney (co-Director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne - Associate Professor, Theatre Studies)

2012 Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize

Miriam Gamble was awarded.

The panel of judges considered her work was forthright, energetic and technically skilled. There is both darkness and a weird humour to her poetry.

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Commended

  • James Harpur

Judges

  • Chair: Professor Kevin Brophy (Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne - Head of Creative Writing)
  • Jane Crawley (Manager Arts and Culture, City of Melbourne)
  • Dr Bronwyn Lea (Senior Lecturer in Writing, University of Queensland)