Newly minted Fremantle Press author Nandi Chinna has won the Tom Collins Prize for Poetry for her poem ‘Cut and Paste Lake’.
Chinna said she was very pleased to have won the award.
‘Some very fine writers have won it before me and I feel privileged to have been chosen as this year’s winner,’ said Chinna.
‘The winning poem is a kind of historical narrative of the history of Lake Monger in Perth’s northern suburbs. It begins with the Noongar Yellagonga and his family living at the lake, and progresses through the lake’s history from the first drain being cut into the lake, through to dairy farming, Chinese market gardeners, land fill site, construction of the Mitchell Freeway and lake pollution,’ said Chinna.
Judge Philip Mead said ‘Cut and Paste Lake’, which is included in Chinna’s forthcoming collection Swamp: Walking the Wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain, was an adventurous and skilful instance of the prose poem form.
‘A sequence of fractal perspectives on an inner Perth nature reserve bounded by freeways and urban development, it is sharply observed and cleanly written,’ said Mead.
Fremantle Press publisher Georgia Richter said the poem was just one of a diverse and moving collection about a local region of critical importance.
’ Swamp: Walking the Wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain is about a fragile and threatened area that is very close to home. Poetry is a powerful and effective way of connecting us to our environment,’ said Richter.
Chinna wins a cash prize of $1000 from the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Western Australian branch.
Nandi Chinna is a writer and environmental activist. Her first collection of poetry, Our Only Guide is Our Homesickness, was published by Five Islands Press, 2007, followed by the chap book How to Measure Land, which won the 2010 Picaro Press Byron Bay Writers Festival Poetry Prize.
Join Chinna at the Perth Writers Festival’s Poets Corner on Sunday 23 February to see her perform works from her new collection Swamp: Walking the Wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain.