Creative Writers Claim Philip Sargeant Poetry Prize

Residential students Mr Joseph Carbone and Ms Beatrice Harris-Hart are the winner and runner-up respectively, for the Philip Sargeant Poetry Prize in 2017.

Mr Carbone (2nd year, Bachelor of Arts) was this year’s winner with ‘God Is Bread’, while Ms Harris-Hart (1st year, Bachelor of Arts) was awarded runner-up for her beautiful poem titled ‘Ubirr’.

After initially ‘hating’ poetry, Mr Carbone started developing a passion for the literary form in years 11 and 12. His winning poem takes a unique approach, and employs the technique of concrete poetry also known as visual poetry to help convey meaning.

‘It felt like a piece that needed to be explored differently on the page. Concrete poetry, it’s visual, a lot of the time how it looks on the page is pretty important,’ says Mr Carbone.

The title of the poem, ‘God Is Bread’ is a play on words from German poet and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote ‘God is dead’.

‘In the poem, if you substitute ‘dead’ or ‘death’ for ‘bread’ the poem will make sense, so it’s a play on words,’ he explains. 

The poem forms part of a wider collection of work Mr Carbone has produced for a folio in creative writing this year. He says it was a ‘big honour’ to be chosen as the winner.

Ms Harris-Hart says her poem was inspired by Australia’s landscape and trying to attain a connection to the land.

‘Three years ago, I went hiking in Kakadu National Park and Ubirr is the traditional land name of the place where I hiked. Specifically, it was the name of one of the campsites,’ she says.

The poem is written from the perspective of a white elderly man and explores the nature of his connection to the land as opposed to that of Indigenous Australians.

‘He dies at the end, he wanted to die in the land like Indigenous people, and become part of the land,’ she says.

The judges for this year’s Philip Sargeant Poetry Prize were: Dr Gayle Allan, Deputy Dean of the Residential College; Dr Michael Heald, Subject Leader for Literature; and Mr Adrian Newell, Residential College: Academic Programs Manager.

‘The poems were very different from each other in form and genre, but both showed poetic insight into their chosen subjects,’ says Dr Allan.

The award is named in honour of the late, Mr Philip Sargeant (TC 1952), who was a distinguished architect, painter and writer. He designed the costumes for the 1955 Trinity play (Hassan) as well as sets and costumes for countless other performances.

Mr Campbell Bairstow, Deputy Warden, presented Auden's Collected Poems to Mr Carbone, and Philip Sargeant's collection to Ms Harris-Hart at an awards ceremony held in the Senior Common Room.

The Philip Sargeant Poetry Prize was established in 2012.


10 Nov 2017