POEM FOREST is a free nature writing prize that breathes life back into the natural world that sustains us.
Created by Red Room Poetry, in partnership with Wollongong City Council, POEM FOREST deepens our connection with nature by inviting students and communities to create and publish poems inspired by the natural environment. For every poem received a tree will be planted on Dharawal Country in the Wollongong LGA to help heal habitats and create a POEM FOREST for future generations.
Categories of entry
- Lower primary (F–Year 3)
- Upper primary (Years 4–6)
- Lower secondary (Years 7–9)
- Upper secondary (Years 10–12)
- Threatened Species (F–12)
- Accredited Teacher (All ages)
- Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F–12)
- The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Local Prize (F–12)
The following prizes will be awarded to the best poem in each category:
- $500 cash
- $100 book pack from Magabala Books, Pantera Press, Wonderground Journal, Pan Macmillan Australia and Murdoch Books
- ‘Wild Things’ poster print from Wollongong City Council
- Poetry journal from Corban & Blair
- Judging notes and winner’s certificate
Highly Commended prizes in each category will also be awarded a book prize.
All entries will be published on the Red Room Poetry website with a worldwide audience of 300,000+ readers.
Special Prize Categories
Threatened Species Prize (F-12)
The Threatened Species Prize (F-12) will be awarded to the best poem written in response to Australia’s threatened species. See the list of threatened flora, fauna and ecological communities. The prizes for this category are as listed above.
Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F–12)
The Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F-12) from Wollongong City Council will be awarded to students living or attending school on Dharawal Country within the Wollongong LGA. Wollongong City Council is also offering a seedling to all students who enter the POEM FOREST prize and live or study on Dharawal Country in the Wollongong LGA. Request your seedling via our online entry form when you submit your poem.
- School prize: free school excursion/incursion for one (1) class - up to thirty (30) students with Wollongong Botanic Garden and 30 free plants from the Garden's Greenplan Nursery for the best collaborative class poem.
- Individual prize: see Prizes listed above, plus a $50 voucher to spend at Wollongong Botanic Garden's Greenplan Nursery for the best individual poem.
Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Local Prize (F-12)
The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Local Prize (F-12) will be awarded to the best poem by a student living or studying on Dharawal Country within the Camden and Campbelltown LGAs. The prizes for this category are as listed above, plus a private garden tour for you and your family. Choose from a Sunset Spotlight Tour through Cumberland Plain Woodland, private First Nations Cultural Tour, or behind-the-scenes PlantBank and Nursery Tour.
Please see Terms and Conditions for eligibility.
This year, we're thrilled to welcome Gardening Australia presenter and Cudgenburra/Bundjalung Aboriginal man Clarence Slockee (NSW), climate justice and mental health youth advocate Varsha Yajman (NSW), writer and founding editor of Wonderground Georgina Reid (NSW) & 2022 POEM FOREST Upper Secondary winner Hannah Fairbrother (TAS) as judges.