Mr Canning, the judge, writes that her poems show "a very mature control of language, precisely distilled but intimately conversational. What was most impressive was how her poems contained and restrained powerful feelings and emotions." Here are two of her entries (some from other candidates will shortly be published).
Maybe coffee stunted my growth, or maybe
It taught me to associate bitterness with desire,
To see the world through darkening eyeliner
And expect disappointment, and pain
that won’t be fixed through appointments.
Maybe cigarettes killed my lungs, or maybe
They just taught me how to breathe out negativity
To worry less about age and more about agility
And run out of breath running after buses:
Red-cheeked, like a sunset.
Every time the sun sets it rises,
And every time I’m born, I die.
The world is washed clean again
And again, it waits for me to catch up
Before moving on toward tomorrow.
And tomorrow, God help me,
I will wait for myself.
I’m drowning in a salty sea,
One I have produced.
Red, blue and yellow glares
As my breaths silently reduce.
I hear muffled voices
With words I can’t quite make out.
I think I hear my mother
How I wish she wouldn’t shout.
I think I hear my father.
I think that he is crying.
I think that he is fearful;
Fearful of me dying.
I feel my heart has stopped
But why am I still
If this is the afterlife,
I wasn’t thinking clear.
I see the doctors tell my parents
There was nothing they could do.
Their precious little angel
Just could not make it through.
Fast forward to my funeral
As I watch from the back
And everyone cries the same
Salty sea, in uniforms of black.