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2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize

Andy Kissane and Belle Ling, joint winners of the 2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.Andy Kissane and Belle Ling, joint winners of the 2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.Andy Kissane and Belle Ling are the joint winners of the 2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, worth a total of $8,500. This is Australia’s premier prize for an original poem. Andy Kissane's winning poem is titled 'Searching the Dead', and Belle Ling's winning poem is titled '63 Temple Street, Mong Kok'.

The winners were named at a ceremony at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne on 18 March 2019. 

This year’s judges – Judith Bishop, John Kawke, Paul Kane – shortlisted five poems from almost 900 entries, from 28 countries. The shortlisted poets were John Foulcher (ACT), Ross Gillett (Vic.), Andy Kissane (NSW), Belle Ling (QLD/Hong Kong), and Mark Tredinnick (NSW). 

Porter Prize judge Judith Bishop (representing the judges) commented:

‘In Belle Ling’s “63 Temple St, Mong Kok”, other voices are rendered equally as vividly as the speaker’s own. Together they create the generous and gentle texture of this exceptionally resonant work.’

‘Andy Kissane’s “Searching the Dead” recounts a moment in Australian history – our soldiers’ involvement in the Vietnam War – that has not been captured before in this way. This dense, strongly physical and evocative poem grips the reader’s mind and body, and that imprint remains long after reading.’

About the shortlisted poets:

John Foulcher has written eleven books of poetry, most recently 101 Poems (Pitt Street Poetry 2015), a selection from his previous books, and A Casual Penance (Pitt Street Poetry 2017). His work has appeared in Australian magazines and anthologies for more than thirty-five years, and he has received and been shortlisted for many awards. He divides his time between Canberra and an old Catholic church which he is renovating near the town of Braidwood in New South Wales.

Ross Gillett is a Melbourne-born poet who now lives in Daylesford. In 2010 he published a chapbook of old and new poems – Wundawax and other poems – with Mark Time Books. His next book will be published by Puncher & Wattmann later in 2019. He has won numerous Australian poetry awards, including the Broadway Poetry Prize, the FAW John Shaw Neilson Award (twice), and, most recently, the 2018 Newcastle Poetry Prize.  He has been twice shortlisted for the Blake Poetry Prize. Ross’s previous career was with the Victorian Public Service, finishing as a project manager for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in Ballarat and Daylesford, where he specialised in the implementation of native title agreements.

Andy Kissane has published a novel, a book of short stories, The Swarm, and four books of poetry. Awards for his poetry include the Fish International Poetry Prize, the Australian Poetry Journal’s Poem of the Year and the Tom Collins Poetry Prize. Radiance (Puncher & Wattmann, 2014) was shortlisted for the Victorian and Western Australian Premier’s Prizes for Poetry and the Adelaide Festival Awards. He recently co-edited a book of criticism on Australian poetry, Feeding the Ghost. His fifth poetry collection, The Tomb of the Unknown Artist will be published in June 2019. He teaches English and lives in Sydney.

Belle Ling is a PhD student in Creative Writing at The University of Queensland. Her poetry manuscript, Rabbit-Light, was awarded Highly Commended in the 2018 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. Her first poetry collection, A Seed and a Plant, was shortlisted for The HKU International Poetry Prize 2010. Her poem, ‘That Space’, was placed second in the ESL category of the International Poetry Competition organized by the Oxford Brookes University in October 2016. She was awarded a Merit Scholarship at the New York State Summer Writers Institute in 2017.

Mark Tredinnick is a poet, essayist, and teacher. He is the author of The Blue Plateau: A Landscape Memoir, which won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award), and Fire Diary, a book of poetry that won the WA Premier’s Book Prize. Beyond these, Mark is author of nine other acclaimed works of poetry and prose. Mark has also written several books on writing itself. He was co-winner of the 2008 Calibre Prize for his essay ‘A Storm and a Teacup’, and he won the Montreal Poetry Prize in 2011 and the Cardiff Poetry Prize in 2012.

Click here for more information about past winners and to read their poems.

We look forward to offering the Porter Prize again in 2020.

We gratefully acknowledge the long-standing support of Morag Fraser AM, and the support of ABR Patrons. The print is donated by Ivan Durrant in honour of Georges Mora.