From the curve of an ancient gum leaf, to bleached coral and the endangered red goshawk, the winning poems announced today in the second year of the POEM FOREST Prize carry fierce calls for climate action, meditations on hope, and deep love and care for the natural world that sustains us. The 18 winning and highly commended nature poems were selected from over 5,700 entries by K-12 students and their teachers across Australia, announced at a digital Winners Announcement Ceremony hosted by Red Room Poetry and DART Learning.
The POEM FOREST Prize plants a tree for every poem entered to create positive climate action and empower the voices of young people. More than 10,000 trees have been planted at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan in 2 years.
The 2022 POEM FOREST Prize winners were selected by judges, author of Bindi and Gunai poet Kirli Saunders OAM, co-founder of Good Life Permaculture and guest presenter on Gardening Australia Hannah Moloney, Senior Botanist at the Australian Institute of Botanical Science, Dr Marco Duretto & 2021 POEM FOREST Upper Secondary winner Saufi Risal.
Kirli Saunders reflects that, “in walking through the poem forest, I found that our next generation of poets are truth tellers, they’re conservationists and they believe in the hope of radical action. They weave poetic techniques seamlessly and paint pictures with their words of the world we live in, and the one we long for. Both worlds feel safer in their hands, and I can’t wait to see what our next generation of writers, poets, truth tellers and game changers create next.”
To read the winning poems visit 2022 Winners | New Australian poetry, contemporary Australian writers & poetry education | Red Room Poetry
ABOUT THE POEM FOREST PRIZE
The POEM FOREST Prize is a nature writing prize for young poets. For every entry received, a tree is planted in the POEM FOREST within the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan. All POEM FOREST Prize entries have been published in Red Room Poetry’s digital student library and are in the running for $5,000 worth of prizes across 8 prize categories including $500 cash, a $100 book pack from Magabala Books, Pantera Press, Affirm Press and Wonderground Journal, seeds from the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, judging notes and a winner’s certificate.
Highly commended prizes in each category will also be awarded a book from Magabala Books.
ABOUT THE POEM FOREST PLANTING
Created by Red Room Poetry in partnership with the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, the POEM FOREST Prize planting has helped heal previously degraded land, and create a forest of poems for future generations. The POEM FOREST is growing with seedlings planted in and around the critically endangered Western Sydney Dry Rainforest and Cumberland Plain Woodland. The Garden has been working to restore the mighty Cumberland Plain Woodland, which once covered most of western Sydney, since the 1980s. Combined with the seedlings from the 2021 Prize, over 10,800 trees have been planted over the last two years. In total, the Garden has planted over 22,500 trees in this time.
The POEM FOREST includes three grand native tree species: Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), Grey Box (Eucalyptus moluccana) and Narrow-leaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) as part of the Greening our City Premier’s Priority to increase the tree canopy across Greater Sydney by planting one million trees by 2022.
ABOUT RED ROOM POETRY
Red Room Poetry is Australia’s leading organisation for commissioning, creating, publishing and promoting poetry in meaningful ways. Red Room has a reputation for excellence and invention, delivering projects that are unparalleled in their quality, scale, professional payment of poets, cultural impact, amplification and engagement of poets, students and audiences of all ages.
Red Room Poetry acknowledges the Elders and Traditional Custodians of the lands, waters, sky and languages where we work, live and write. We are grateful to collaborate with First Nations people and aim to respectfully follow protocols as we move across Country.