31 August 2018

The 2018 John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize Poetry – Niamh Brazil

Niamh Brazil’s poem Camelot has been awarded The 2018 John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers in the category of poetry.  Niamh was presented with the award at the 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival at a special event, and wins $500, an exclusive book pack from Hachette Australia and acknowledgement of her winning entry in Express Media’s flagship publication Voiceworks. Read Niamh’s winning poem right here.


They give her red roses in Dallas; not yellow buds,

sun-steeped and honeyed, like the ones thrust in her

arms on each other Texan airstrip. Their stems are

askew, indelible scarlet petals unfurled violently on the

luxurious leather and thorns entangled and groping at

her wrists, as she skids over the slick limousine, breath

torn out like spilled ink and fingers blurring over the

jagged fragments of her husband’s skull.

A photograph cannot lie. Not about blood tattooed

across her soft shell of pink. Not about the gauzy veil

that clings to her hollow cheeks like a cloak of night

nor the powder blue children entwined on her black-

swathed arms, fat fingers raised in a clumsy salute.

Let them see what they’ve done

In spring she grows roses again; during the bleary

tangle of day and night, she glimpses the swelling

magenta of a dozen bulbous heads, wintry wrappings

sluicing off their stems like old skins. Then, with deft

fingers, she pries a story from her mutilated flowers

and the threadbare wreckage of his body, dresses them

with metaphors and erects a kingdom with a line of

verse. She, a study in breathy impermanence,

clandestine cigarette elegantly engineered between two

fingers, and the writer, bent like a supplicant to a

goddess, transfixed as she sculpts the brief shining

moment, her lips ripped open like split seams, erupting

in rosebuds.