A Short-Listed Mary Gilmore Award Reclaimed

A recent result of the Mary Gilmore Award (for the first best book of poetry) revealed that the short-listing for 2018 namely five books included poets who had had previous collections and this was two out of the five having previously published chapbooks. Back in 2010, my short-listing of my first collection Evangelyne & Other Poems was dropped because I had a previously published collection, actually two! One was a university assignment of 19 poems and the other a self-published collection of 36 poems. At the time I was told by the convenor of the award that Evangelyne & Other Poems was ineligible because it was not a first collection as required by the award. Interested in subsequent results of the award, I discovered that even though I pointed out to the ASAL (Association of the Study of Australian Literature) that 2 out of the five 2018 shortlisted had previous chapbooks, their explanation was that a book under 40 poems was not considered a full collection. The Executive Head also pointed out that the award was discretionary by the judges – in other words they could “bend the rules”. My “self-published” chapbook was 36 poems. So as the title of this post suggests, I am reclaiming my shortlisting. It will go on my blogs, on here, on my CV, on applications for residencies or other publishing opportunities. If at any time I am questioned about this, I do have two screen shots of the 2018 shortlisted poets and would be able to name them and their chapbooks.

Evangelyne & Other Poems – shortlisted in 2010 for the Mary Gilmore Award. My previous chapbooks – Until The Last Symphony RisesThe Shadow Goddess – both chapbooks under 40 poems.