Monday, October 4, 2010

Cricket Poetry Award

This week I received a pamphlet copy of the inaugural Australian-based Cricket Poetry Award: Top 20 Poems of ’09. It’s definitely of interest to anyone who follows cricket poetry. The 2010 awards closed in September, so you will have missed out if you were thinking of entering. The official web page is Arts benefactor Kevin Maloney underwrites the prize-money of Australian $2,000.00.
The winning poem in ’09 was by Andy Kissane. Kissane’s poem is a formal sonnet consisting of 14 lines. It’s about the thoughts racing through your head as you stand in the deep waiting for a high up-and-under catch (‘a rainmaker’) to come in. Entertaining and so true if you’ve ever been in that predicament of spilling a catch in the deep:


The Catch

Standing under a rainmaker that is falling towards
your waiting hands. It’s surprising how much crosses
your mind – how you’d like to pash with Cathy McBride
behind the grandstand after the game, how the coach said
Mental Toughness was the key to Success, how catches
win matches and Doug Walters served in Vietnam
because he loved his country. How if your marks
don’t improve you won’t be allowed to play cricket again
for the rest of the summer, how the Kookaburra hangs
in the air like a baggy green you hope to wear
and then spinning closer, looks like all the mistakes
you’ll ever make in life and slips through your cupped
fingers in slow motion, before rolling to rest,
right there, at your feet on the sunburnt grass.

© Andy Kissane, 2009

One of the positives about this competition is that we now have a further 20 good cricket poems to read and consider. With cricket poetry, there seldom seems to be too much of a good thing unless it’s really handled badly. Most cricket doggerel is of interest as it names players, matches, and often makes historical remarks on the game at a certain point in time.
I look forward to reading the 20 best from this year’s competition.

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