Moores wins $1,000 poetry prize


Margaret Moores, left, and Janet Charman, judge for the Kathleen Grattan Prize for Poem Sequence in 2022.

Cockle Bay poet Margaret Moores is the winner of the Kathleen Grattan Prize for Poem Sequence in 2022.

Lincoln Jaques, also from Auckland, is a finalist.

This prestigious award, made possible by a bequest from the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust, has been organized by the International Writers’ Workshop NZ Inc (IWW) since 2009 and over the years has been won by established and emerging poets.

At this year’s IWW Awards in November, Judge Janet Charman, author of nine books of poetry, hailed all of the entries as brave and imaginative.

She hailed Margaret’s winning entry Absences to be a unified sequence with a compelling narrative voice and evocative imagery that was satisfying to read while the intriguing factual content contributed to a compassionate, evocative, and compelling realization of past lives.

On receiving the award, Margaret said she was both delighted and honored to be deemed the winner of the 2022 competition.

She said: “This footage was kind of a Covid lockdown project in many ways. My mother died just as Covid arrived and I spent many hours locked away thinking about how to represent maternal absence in writing that would have the evocative power of a photograph.

The result was a sequence of prose poems – both literal and figurative – inspired by photographs and ideas surrounding photography and photo albums. The idea of ​​maternal absence is introduced by poems about the Victorian photographs of the “Hidden Mother”, but more personal and poignant maternal absences are revealed in poems about the existence of a “hidden mother” in the own family of the poet and the progressive deterioration of the health of the mother. the mother of the poet whose death is the subject of the last poems.

The poems are placed on the page in the form of dense squares surrounded by empty spaces as if they were photographs and the sequence of which they are part is a photo album.

Margaret holds a PhD in English and an MA in Creative Writing from Massey University. His poetry and Flash Fiction have been published in online journals in Australia and New Zealand and in anthologies including Landing and The New Zealand Poetry Yearbook. She and her husband own Poppies Books, an independent bookstore in Howick.

Runner-up Lincoln Jaques, whose streak Janet described as a substantial offering in both scope and depth, also belongs to Isthmus Poets, a group of active Auckland-based poets and writers who are alumni of the Master of AUT’s Creative Writing.

The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems is sometimes called the “Little Grattan” because the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust also funds the biennial Kathleen Grattan Prize, managed by Landfall/Otago University Press.

IWW, which formed in 1976, meets twice a month from February to November, and in 2023 will hold meetings via Zoom and others in person in their rooms at St Aidans Church in Northcote. The group hosts workshops and runs writing competitions throughout the year covering a range of topics and themes. IWW aims to encourage and inspire new writers as well as more experienced writers.

For more information about the prize, or how to contact the winner, or about IWW in general, please visit the website at, email [email protected] com.


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