2021 ACU Prize for Poetry

Entries are now open for one of Australia’s richest poetry prizes, the 2021 ACU Prize for Poetry, with poets from all over the country competing for the coveted $10,000 first prize.

The ACU Prize for Poetry will be awarded for outstanding poetry with the theme of resilience, reflecting on Jaeda DeWalt’s supposition, “When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience,” and Sharon Salzberg’s thesis, “Resilience is based on compassion for ourselves as well as compassion for others.”

The competition will be judged by celebrated contemporary Australian poet MTC Cronin. Her poetry has appeared in a wide range of Australian and international poetry magazines and literary journals since she first began publishing in the early 1990s.

A prolific poet, MTC Cronin has published more than 20 books and has worked within lyric traditions as well as prose poetry, and in more innovative contexts such as her longform poems <More or Less Than 1–100>, which won the Victorian Premier’s CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry (2005) and the South Australian Festival Award for Innovation in Writing (2006), and Causal. Several of her works reflect her experience of coming to poetry ‘through the law’, notably a volume of cross-genre critical micro-essays, Squeezing Desire Through a Sieve ~ Micro-Essays on Judgement and Justice (2009) and The Law of Poetry, written over a period of two decades while studying and working in the fields of indigenous legal issues and gender jurisprudence.

The annual Prize for Poetry is sponsored by the Office of the Vice-President, led by Father Anthony Casamento csma, who said the competition aimed to continue the tradition of the Catholic Church as a key patron of the arts.

“We are delighted to continue to support Australian artists, writers and poets,” said Father Anthony. “The number of entries and the calibre of writing we receive each year demonstrates that poetry and the process of artistic creation continues to be alive and well in Australia.”

1st Prize: $10,000
2nd Prize: $5,000
3rd Prize: $3,000

Entries close on 5 July and winners will be announced on 7 September. 

Further information about the Poetry Prize can be found on the Arts and Culture website.

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