We received almost 1,000 entries in this year’s Peter Porter Poetry Prize – by far our biggest field to date. Entries came from twenty-two countries. The judges – Ali Alizadeh, Jill Jones, Felicity Plunkett – have now shortlisted
Bill And Gwen
In Swiftian mood, insisting that
The human race would never learn,
Was hopeless, doomed, Bill Harwood, pure
Logician and philosopher,
As well as spouse of poet Gwen,
Proposed a universal ban
On sex to end our sorry ways
And brought our threesome's talk on how
The world was going to a halt
Of the socially awkward kind.
Learning To Know One's Place
(For Gwen Harwood And James McAuley)
'Hello Graeme, old love, it's Gwen,
I'm sitting on a cloud too fine
For jealousy to let you see.
But please believe your ears as I
Exhort you not to bow to age,
To keep tramping around in search
Of at least one poem that will be
As sure of fame as all mine are ...
For Bill Harwood
A theorist of the purest kind,
Your lectures had no human warmth
And faded like a day-time moon.
The crueller said 'cloud-cuckoo land'
And loudly tapped their hollow heads.
Some thought you clinically disposed,
Contemptuous of eveything
Except the symbols on a page,
Myself included till you said
With gr ...
Upper Heights And Lower Depths
What heights remain beyond our reach
When dog whistle and tuning fork,
Straining to listen though we may,
Sound notes pitched too high for our ear,
Deserting us yearning to rise,
Freed from the confines of our lives?
Nor can we hear how far below
The scales a crow's cawing might go,
Summoning t ...
The badly wounded and the poor
Move round the city with the sun
And little else to keep them warm,
While time softens cathedral stone,
Plucks eagles bald and breaks the wings
Of St Teresa's doves in flight.
A fine day shows up broken teeth,
Club feet, ten thumbs and squinti ...