Winning young poets impress Ipswich Poetry Feast judges

22 November 2021

Three school-aged Ipswich writers have been recognised for penning inspiring, poignant and skilful poems that were showcased at the Ipswich Poetry Feast’s online awards presentation.

Redbank wordsmith Finn Mulvogue won the 11-13 years age group with his climate change inspired poem ‘Wise Beyond My Years’, described by judges as having an eloquent and thoughtful message.

The 11-year-old said his poem reflected the 2021 NAIDOC theme 'Heal Country', and how as a young person it is his generation’s future that is in jeopardy.

“I wanted readers to feel the fear and despair we have about climate change but also the hope that we can make a difference, even if we are children,” Finn Mulvogue said.

“It made my mum cry when they read out that I had won, and I am really proud of myself.

“I like to write about and share my culture, being a proud Gurnaikurnai and Boonwurrung young man, so it means a lot to write about that.”

Woodend poetess Josie Minz took second place in the 14-17 years age group for her pensive entry ‘Crying at the Nail Salon’, and Silkstone writer Mavis Colbert placed third in the 8-10 years age group with her juxtaposing ode ‘Lava’.

Ms Minz said her poem emulated the tidal wave of emotions that are felt when you have risked everything for a dream and begin to feel that dream falling apart.

“Poetry is something that, previously, I have only really done for my personal enjoyment. So, it is really gratifying that other people enjoy my writing as well,” the 15-year-old said.

“It is such a lovely feeling knowing that what I have written is able to touch other people that I have never even met.”

Ten-year-old Mavis Colbert said she was proud, happy and excited to be able to share her poem with others.

“I've already written some more poems since the competition, one called ‘Sunshine, ‘Tornado Teaser’ and the other ‘Blue’. I like to base my poems around the elements and give them life, as well as writing about colours,” Ms Colbert said.

This year’s competition received more than 610 entries from across Australia as well as Croatia, India, Jamaica, Thailand and North America.

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chair Councillor Andrew Fechner said the annual poetry writing competition gives poets of all ages a wonderful opportunity to work on their craft while competing for more than $3,000 in prizes.

“I congratulate local writers who entered this year’s competition and for their poems which dealt with themes as wide-ranging as the perspectives of First Nations people, the climate crisis, and daily life during the pandemic,” Cr Fechner said.

“The quality of work produced by young writers was tremendous and their recognition by judges within an international field of high-calibre writers is a great achievement.

“Over the years some fantastic success stories have emerged from the Ipswich Poetry Feast including Brenda Joy Pritchard who won her first ever prize in the Ipswich competition.

“The prize gave her the encouragement and confidence to continue crafting and submitting poems to competitions, and she is now widely acknowledged as a multi-award-winning modern bush poet and performer.”

Founded in 2002, Ipswich Poetry Feast was an initiative of council and has been delivered by Ipswich Libraries for 19 years.

It has become recognised as one of Australia’s most respected and prestigious annual poetry writing competitions.

For more information about the annual Ipswich Poetry Feast, visit