The Ken Vincent Poetry Competition 2017

Write a poem on the theme ‘In the wild’.

Entry is open to all South Australian residents in three age categories:

  • Adult – anyone 18 years or over, 60 lines maximum.
  • Youth – anyone 13-17 years inclusive, 40 lines maximum.
  • Junior – anyone 12 years or younger, 30 lines maximum.

(Age as at 4 August 2017.)

Entrants can interpret the theme as broadly as they wish.

Prizes are:

1st prize – $200; Runner Up $100  + copy of anthology for winner and runner up

1st prize $75;  Runner Up $50; + copy of anthology for winner and runner up

1st prize $50;  Runner Up $25; + copy of anthology for winner and runner up

All winners, runners up, and some shortlisted poems will be professionally published in the 2017 Poetry Festival Anthology!

Tea Tree Gully Poetry anthology 2017

Prizes will be announced at the Closing Ceremony at Tea Tree Gully Library on Wednesday 29 November from 6.30pm.

To enter:

  • Pick up an entry postcard from the Library, fill out your details, attach your poem and drop it off at the Library
  • Alternatively you can email your entry with your contact details directly to

Entries open Thursday 1 June and close Friday 4 August at 5pm.


Terms and Conditions

  1. All entries must relate to the theme ‘In the wild’. How your entry relates is open to interpretation.
  2. Entries must be unpublished, original, and in English.
  3. Maximum of 2 entries per person.
  4. Each entry must be submitted with name and contact details of author.
  5. Entry form must be dated and signed by author. Youth and Junior entries must be signed by a parent or guardian and include full contact details.
  6. The author’s name must not appear on the poem page if emailed as an attachment or hardcopy.
  7. Title of poem must match that on the entry form.
  8. Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday 4 August. Late entries will not be accepted.
  9. Entries will not be returned, and no responsibility is taken for entries, so authors should keep their own copy.
  10. Entries, once received, cannot be altered or withdrawn.
  11. Awards are given in the following categories: Adult, Youth, Junior. Prizes are awarded for first, and second place in each category.
  12. It is a condition of entry that entrants grant City of Tea Tree Gully and North Eastern Writers Incorporated a non-exclusive, personal, perpetual, royalty free license to publish (print or electronic), broadcast, edit and adapt the entry for future promotion or publication.
  13. It is entirely possible that no prize may be given in a category if the entries are not of a publishable standard.
  14. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  15. All entrants are welcome to the award ceremony at the City of Tea Tree Gully Library on Wednesday 29 November, 6.30pm.
  16. The City of Tea Tree Gully and the North Eastern Writers Inc are not responsible or liable for any damage, theft, personal physical or psychological injury relating to, or resulting from your participation in this competition.

Congratulations to all those who entered 2015’s Ken Vincent Poetry Competition. We received a record 158 entries from children, youth and adults across South Australia.

The standard was extremely high and Poet-in-Residence Louise Nicholas, who judged the poems, said they were the best she had ever had to read.

The winners were announced at a special Poetry Festival Finale at Tea Tree Gully Library on 16 November 2015.

Below are our winning poems.

Well done everyone.

Junior – First Prize: Jacob Ladner

Sparks of Light
Light is seen through the night
The stars and moon so bright
Oh how I love to see the sight of
the twinkling stars at night

The light of day I just have to say
The blue sky
The thunderbolts
The car lights
They give me many reasons to say

Light is terrific okay

The spark of a machine
The spark of life

The glory of God so bright

The Northern lights so green
the front of a TV screen

Oh how so bright is the light
That smiles down day or night

I just have to say wow

The light breaks darkness
in the corner of the room
It takes over
I just have to say boom!
The explosion of a bomb
The lights on a stage
Even the next page!
It helps grow plants
And gives lots of life
The explosives on a rant
It helps ya see your wife

Gees so many things

Just from little spark of light.

Junior – Second Prize: Holly Martin

How sunlight makes me feel
Singing and dancing to my favourite song
Under shady trees playing all day long
Nice and cheerful on a springy trampoline
Like I’m light as a feather or a bouncy jumping bean
Ice cream and watermelon, juicy and sweet
Green grass to skip on with my friends, in bare feet
Happy days in bright places makes me feel free with glee
This is what sunlight means to me!

Youth – First Prize: Shaneen Shahzad

Black Holes
I almost wish you atoned,
Screamed ‘clemency’ for your
Pandora’s box, regretted,

‘sang your fiends to their graves’,
gave subtle nods to definite calls.
I almost wish you did as expected.

Indignantly I wished you cried,
Howling at the top of your lungs
At least pain showed you were affected.

Dragging your matriarch down –
She drowned in her own tears –
I almost wish you watched her, dejected.

My kinsfolk as an infant, held my hand when
I was scared, but your destroyed bonds of trust
Left me a girl on a lonely bridge, unprotected.

You’ve completed three trials,
Three conducts, three lies, and now
you’re a puppet to your demons, darkly perfected.

But I wish you knew my restlessness
whilst the moon hides from dawn, and heard
my pleas your charcoal heart were cleansed, resurrected.

I search your face frantically, through my solemn vigil,
and through my dreams, almost wish I
could say I see in your eyes the light
from my candle flame, reflected.

Adult – Equal First Prize: Helen Lindstrom

First light. The mourners are in my yard.
They wind, like an iron chain, through the gate
and up the path. They’ve trampled the rosemary.
My cat, Peter, refuses to go outdoors.
We watch from the shadows as strangers
collapse and weep on each other.
I feel weighed down.
Light of my life.
I know you’d have had compassion for them.
You were a stickler for that sort of thing.
The Son of God; food or wine proffered just in time.
The Light of the World.
But I’ve got nothing to offer.
I’m just a link
and I’m broken.

Adult –  Equal First Prize: Jules Leigh Koch

First Rough Draft
I walk through an industrial landscape
in the painful adolescent hours
before sunrise

above the sky has sobered up
but the high tension wires
are still dripping
with conversations
long after the rain has fallen

traffic lights turn
city streets are windblown
with electric light

leaves have formed

the first rough draft
of autumn


6 thoughts on “The Ken Vincent Poetry Competition 2017

  1. Pingback: Tea Tree Poetry Festival 2015 | tea tree gully poetry festival 2015

  2. It’s wonderful that Ken Vincent whose poetry and stories will live forever in our hearts has been commemorated by having the Tea Tree Gully Poetry Competition named in his honour. Congratulations all at Tea Tree Gully who did this. I feel that Ken’s benign spirit hovers about the Library every time I go there, and I hear him chuckle (albeit humbly, for Ken was ever a humble man) that the poets of the Gully are writing for him.


  3. So pleased that Ken is being remembered in this way. His own mischievous sense of humour lives on in his own writings; his dedication to written expression, whether poetry or prose, is a continual spur for us all to ‘have a go’. Very special shoes to fill!


    • Hi Ashton,
      You certainly can post your entry in. Post it to:
      Tea Tree Gully Poetry Competition
      C/- Tea Tree Gully Library
      PO Box 571
      MODBURY SA 5092

      Look forward to your entry.


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