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Uni academic pockets $15,000 Newcastle Poetry Prize

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A Charles Sturt University academic is $15,000 richer after winning the 40th annual Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Dr Lachlan Brown, senior lecturer in English in the Charles Sturt School of Social Work and Arts in Wagga Wagga, claimed the top honours with his offering Any Saturday, 2021: Running Westward.

“My poem concerned the Wiradjuri walking track in Wagga Wagga, and the long runs I’ve been doing each Saturday,” he explained.

“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, who will teach students in the new Charles Sturt Bachelor of Arts (with a major in writing and publishing), 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 stated.

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

He particularly noted PhD student 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. 

He has also been commissioned to develop a poem in conjunction with ABC EveryDAY, titled Vox Proximate (a pan-demic-toum).

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