Griffith University creative writing lecturer Dr Anthony Lawrence has won the lucrative Peter Porter Poetry Prize for his love poem ‘In the Shadows of Our Heads’.
This year, the award attracted more than 1,300 entries from 34 countries around the globe.
It is the second time Dr Lawrence has won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize, after taking out top honours in 2010.
“Poetry prizes are important as they promote poetry as being a vital, essential part of our literary heritage and tradition,” Dr Lawrence said.
“Winning Australia’s most alliterative poetry prize for the second time is wonderful.”
Anthony’s winning work celebrates the connections forged between kindred spirits across space and time.
The judging panel said it was “a stunningly vibrant poem by a masterful technician at the top of his game.”
“A vivid, potent reminder of love’s dance of proximity and distance – at a time when these fundamental bases of human intimacy have been thrown into fraught relief – it is a work deftly attuned to our present moment.”
The poem was written during COVID lockdowns and has resonated with readers separated from loved ones during the pandemic.
A number of poems in Dr Lawrence’s forthcoming book, ‘Long Range Forecast’, explore the emotional and physical impact of COVID.
“There’s no escaping a major world event like this,” he said.
“I don’t go looking for poems as they find me soon enough. COVID was and is front and centre in every aspect of our lives, so I had a poem target on my back.”
Dr Lawrence teaches creative writing at Griffith and said it was a privilege to help emerging wordsmiths learn their craft.
“I really value being able to pass on my skills and insights to students and helping them as they learn how to negotiate the formal and informal demands of creative writing,” he said.
“I understand and celebrate the importance of helping young writers move forward with confidence and new skills.
“To be paid for teaching what I love is a great privilege and feeds directly back into my own writing.”