Top prize for Wagga Wagga poet in national competition

11 NOVEMBER 2021

Top prize for Wagga Wagga poet in national competition

A Charles Sturt University academic recently won first prize in a major Australian poetry competition.

  • Lecturer’s poem reflecting on jogging in Wagga Wagga won the 40th annual Newcastle Poetry Prize

Dr Lachlan Brown (pictured), Senior Lecturer in English in the Charles Sturt School of Social Work and Arts in Wagga Wagga, has won the 40th annual Newcastle Poetry Prize, worth $15,000.

Dr Brown will teach students in the new Charles Sturt Bachelor of Arts (with a major in writing and publishing).

His poem ‘Any Saturday, 2021: Running Westward’ placed first in the Newcastle Poetry Prize awarded by the Hunter Writers’ Centre, “ … the 40th year of the Prize and the 40th year of my life,” he noted.

“My poem concerned the Wiradjuri Walking track in Wagga Wagga, and the long runs I’ve been doing each Saturday,” Dr Brown said.

“Poetry is a vital part of Australian culture, the fabric of life, the possibilities for political transformation.

“At a time when textures of the everyday have changed so drastically for many, I hope that poetry can continue to run its fingers over the big and small questions of existence in surprising ways.”

Dr Brown said he was immensely thankful to the judges, Associate Professor Jill Jones and Dr Toby Fitch, for their careful and attentive reading of all the submitted pieces.

“I’m very grateful for their openness to experimentation, to strange poetic explorations, and to contemporary experiences from regional Australia,” he said.

Dr Brown congratulated all the shortlisted and winning poems, written by poets whose work he has long admired.

He particularly noted and congratulated his PhD student Mr Connor Weightman, whose poem ‘Perpetual Cataclysm Machine’ is part of his current poetic research at Charles Sturt and was also shortlisted for the Prize.

Dr Brown acknowledged and thanked the Hunter Writers Centre for organising and administering the Newcastle Poetry Prize and the University of Newcastle for its ongoing support for poetry and creative arts which has enabled the Prize to continue and thrive for 40 years.

Dr Brown recently spoke about his winning poem and practice on ABC’s Soul Search program.

He has also been commissioned to develop a poem in conjunction with ABC EveryDAY. Titled ‘Vox Proximate (a pan-demic-toum)’, it went live on ABC Facebook recently and has received 27,000 views.

Dr Brown also teaches a new literary studies subject ‘Australian Voices’, in which students are introduced to various kinds of Australian writing, from poetry to films, short stories to rap albums, as part of the English major and the Charles Sturt Bachelor of Education (K-12).


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Lachlan Brown contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on 0418 669 362 or news@csu.edu.au

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