writhing Rainbow Serpent
emerald eucalypts, opal skies
It holds the stories of sorrow and hope
that Aunty told me

~ Lily from 'Friendship Holder'

After 2,200+ poems, taking us to the inner worlds of objects and opal skies of hope and sorrow, we offer the 2020 Poetry Object shortlist!

These 90 outstanding poems capture the essence of treasured and talismanic objects, from antique paintings and revered prayer shawls, to the beloved every day objects – a violin, a green stone, a whiteboard marker and all those things at the bottom of the garden.

Congratulations to the shortlisted poets, and to every poet who entered the competition. We were awed by the quality and poetic creativity of every single poem!

Poetry Object Shortlist 2020 – Australia


Things in my garden by Harriet, Year 1, Encounter Lutheran College (SA)
Cambodian Pattern by Holly, Year 2, Green Valley Public School (NSW)
Always Tethered by Allegra, Year 4, All Saints Anglican School (QLD)
Pothys-The Indian Multistore by Vaidehi, Year 4, Ashgrove State School (QLD)
Magnet by Zichen, Year 4, Hornsby North Public School (NSW)
Grandpa’s Compass by Daniel, Year 4, St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (ACT)
Space Asteroid by Chase, Year 5, St. Joseph's School, Wandal (QLD)
Raining Minors by Jacob, Year 5, Cairns School of Distance Education (QLD)
My violin by Mira, Year 5, Croydon Public School (NSW)
Levi's Bike by Levi, Year 5, Morphett Vale East School R-7 (SA)
Marlin Talisman by Anton, Year 5, Mona Vale Public School (NSW)
Campfire by Emma, Year 5, Murrumbeena Primary School (VIC)
Memories by Taylor, Year 5, Balgowlah Heights Public School (NSW)
Pretty Paua by Maisie, Year 5, Annandale North Public School (NSW)
Old Shoes by Alex, Year 5, Annandale North Public School (NSW)
The Gravestone Outback by Ruby, Year 6, Woollahra Public School (NSW)
Headphones by Olive, Year 6, Wollongong Public School (NSW)
Four-Leaf Clover by Zarlia, Year 6, Morphett Vale East School R-7 (SA)
My Cricket Bat by Orlando, Year 6, Illawarra Christian School (NSW)
The Red Leaf by Frazer, Year 6, Gladesville Public School (NSW)


Midnight clock by Akira, Year 7, Lyneham High School (ACT)
Phone by Cooper, Year 7, Lake Illawarra High School (NSW)
My Papa Cec's Prayer Shawl by Jamie, Year 7, Reddam House Woollahra (NSW)
The Clock by Nechama, Year 7, Beth Rivkah Ladies College (VIC)
Grey by Isabella, Year 7, Seymour College (SA)
Pop’s Knife by Theo, Year 7, Marist Regional College (TAS)
Friendship Holder by Lily, Year 8, Reddam House (NSW)
Fiery Determination by Etienne, Year 9, Churchlands Senior High School (WA)
Revolving world by Phoebe, Year 9, Churchlands Senior High School (WA)
PS4 by Byron, Year 9, Lake Illawarra High School (NSW)
On Considering The Stapler by Tom, Year 9, Christ Church Grammar School (WA)
Puffs of Smoke by Lylah, Year 9, The Scots School Albury (NSW)
Abah's Crane by Janani, Year 10, Christmas Island District High School (WA)
Binoculars by Rose, Year 10, St Scholastica's College Glebe (NSW)
Prayer Cap by Riyan, Year 10, Christmas Island District High School (WA)
A gift from God by Syifa, Year 10, Christmas Island District High School (WA)
The Old Canoe by Stephanie, Year 10, Clarence High School (TAS)
An Ode to My Graduation Dress by Lani, Year 11, Seaton High School (SA)
There is a painting in an antique shop that reminded me of you by Grace, Year 11, Ormiston College (QLD)
Untie The Shoes by Scout, Year 11, Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School (NSW)


The Usha by Kumudu Stewart, Clarence High School (TAS)
On Reconsidering My Typewriter by Spencer Davis, Christ Church Grammar School (WA)
Sticker Dot Doxology by Blake Nuto, St. Michael's Collegiate (TAS)
Candle in a Glass Bottle by Luke Bartolo, Glenmore Park High School (NSW)
Trinket Box by Kate Wilkinson, Illawarra Christian School (NSW)
As Thunder splits Stone by Monika Arnold, Relief Teacher (TAS)
1x4 brick by Ron Barton, Comet Bay College (WA)
Barbed Wire by Joy Reid, Gippsland Grammar (VIC)
A whiteboard marker by Hakea Hustler, Broome Senior High School (WA)
I & D Smallwood, makers, B’ham England by Patsy Norton, Craigslea State High School (QLD)

Poetry Object Shortlist 2020 – New Zealand


Hottie, my Toy by Willow, Year 3, Russley School (Christchurch)
My Special Shell by Oliver, Year 4, Russley School (Christchurch)
Greenstone by Cheya-Leanne, Year 4, Manurewa East School (Auckland)
My Doll and Me by Meijing, Year 4, Manurewa East School (Auckland)
Minty by Max, Year 4, Woodlands Park Primary School (Auckland)
Shimmer by Zola, Year 4, Woodlands Park Primary School (Auckland)
Husky by Taika, Year 4, Woodlands Park Primary School (Auckland)
My World by Laurie, Year 4, Woodlands Park Primary School (Auckland)
What My Soccer Ball Can Do by Kerstah, Year 5, Manurewa East School (Auckland)
Pounamu/Greenstone by Iritana, Year 5, Manurewa East School (Auckland)
My Snow Blue Husky by Drishya, Year 5, Manurewa East School (Auckland)
My Soccer Ball by Meriyem, Year 5, Manurewa East School (Auckland)
Nana's Opal Ring by Milla, Year 6, Russley School (Christchurch)
Karate Trophy by Bryn, Year 6, Russley School (Christchurch)
My pony best friend oreo by Katy, Year 7, Horizon School (Auckland)
Mother of Pearl by Sophie, Year 7, Russley School (Christchurch)
Caramel by Olivia, Year 7, Russley School (Christchurch)
Seal by Michaela, Year 7, Russley School (Christchurch)
Silver Owl by Kayla, Year 7, Russley School (Christchurch)
My Pounamu Necklace by Hollie, Year 7, Russley School (Christchurch)


Talismanic Poem by Jake, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
The Kraken by Olive, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
My lucky neck lace by Loni, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
Fairy God Mother by Phoebe, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
Greenstone by Marc, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
My little pug by James, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
My stress toys by Hugo, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
When Spring Comes by Daniel, Year 9, Takapuna Grammar School (Auckland)
An Orange by #0910, Year 9, Columba College (Dunedin)
The Ring by #7472, Year 9, Rangiora High School (Rangiora)
Abuhu Birds by Bridie, Year 9, Villa Maria College (Christchurch)
The medals of my Great Grandfather by Henry, Year 9, Nelson College (Nelson)
Ode to a Timepiece by Alisa, Year 10, St Cuthbert's College (Auckland)
Foundation by Lourdes, Year 10, Villa Maria College (Christchurch)
Exploding Pixels by Oshadha, Year 10, Southland Boys' High School (Invercargill)
Keep on Dreaming by Aira, Year 11, Takapuna Grammar (Auckland)
My Collector by Madeline, Year 12
Handkerchief by Emilie, Year 12, Havelock North High School (Hawkes Bay) 
A Chain of mysteries by Anika, Year 13, Glendowie College (Auckland)
Colours of the Rainbow by Kate

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Winners Announcement 

The winners were announced on Thursday 20 August during a live-stream YouTube event across Australia and New Zealand in partnership with Copyright Agency. Winners received prizes in the form of cash awards, book vouchers, book packs and poetry mentoring sessions with judges Eleanor Jackson and Tayi Tibble.