Cold fingertips nervous across you in the pale afternoon
Breaking down the castle
I lift the red roof and peak at the secrets
~ Grace, from 'There is a painting in an antique shop that reminded me of you', Secondary Winner

Chosen from over 2200 entries across Australia and New Zealand, here are the winning poem for Poetry Object 2020!

These poems evoke wonder for precious objects, memories and traces of special people and places. Congratulations to these winning and highly commended poets and all who entered the competition!

Head judge for Australia 2020, Eleanor Jackson said, "It has been an absolute delight to inhabit the worlds of so many incredible young and not-so-young poets. From two- to three-dimensional objects, from the abstract to concrete, whether personified, disembodied or human, the range of subjects explored by the Poetry Object participants was a refreshing insight into the role of material culture beyond the financial value of goods to a deeper understanding of how people and objects are linked through memory, social connection and feeling."

Head Judge for New Zealand, Tayi Tibble said, "It was a privilege to be the judge of this year's Poetry Object NZ competition. It is very heartening to see many young people engaging with poetry, especially in the current climate with all it’s all technological alternatives and the general hecticness of 2020. The entries overall, were bright and warm and had a real feeling of place; of New Zealandness.

Our first place winner was Iritana for her poem, 'My Pounamu, My Greenstone'. The judges and I selected this poem for the way it invoked a sense of place and for it’s cultural connection. It is an example of the poem being in conversation with itself, a poem with a consistent aesthetic.

The Winning poem in our secondary schools section was ‘Exploding Pixels’ by Oshadha. 'Exploding Pixels' deals with the heavy topic of death while the language of the poem remained interesting and spirited."

Australian Judges' Report and Winning Poems

Poetry Object Winners 2020 – Australia


The Gravestone Outback by Ruby, Year 6, Woollahra Public School (NSW)

Highly Commended: 
Things in my garden by Harriet, Year 1, Encounter Lutheran College (SA)
Levi's Bike by Levi, Year 5, Morphett Vale East School R-7 (SA)
Old Shoes by Alex, Year 5, Annandale North Public School (NSW)


There is a painting in an antique shop that reminded me of you by Grace, Year 11, Ormiston College (QLD)

Highly Commended: 
PS4 by Byron, Year 9, Lake Illawarra High School (NSW)
An Ode to My Graduation Dress by Lani, Year 11, Seaton High School (SA)
Untie The Shoes by Scout, Year 11, Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School (NSW)


Sticker Dot Doxology by Blake Nuto, St. Michael's Collegiate (TAS)

Highly Commended:
The Usha by Kumudu Stewart, Clarence High School (TAS)
1x4 brick by Ron Barton, Comet Bay College (WA)
Barbed Wire by Joy Reid, Gippsland Grammar (VIC)

Poetry Object Winners 2020 – New Zealand


Pounamu/Greenstone by Iritana, Year 5, Manurewa East School (Auckland)

Highly Commended:
My Doll and Me by Meijing, Year 4, Manurewa East School (Auckland)
Nana's Opal Ring by Milla, Year 6, Russley School (Christchurch)
Silver Owl by Kayla, Year 7, Russley School (Christchurch)


Exploding Pixels by Oshadha, Year 10, Southland Boys' High School (Invercargill)

Highly Commended:
The Kraken by Olive, Year 8, Balmoral School (Auckland)
The medals of my Great Grandfather by Henry, Year 9, Nelson College (Nelson)
Colours of the Rainbow by Kate

Explore the full shortlist

Winners Announcement Ceremony | Thursday 20 August

The winners were announced 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.

Winner's announcement ceremony 2019

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