I was amazed and gratified to discover on Friday (7 May) that my poem ‘autistic child with acute auditory processing disorder’ had won a national competition organised by the Australian Poetry Centre. The poem was performed that night at a special APC event called “dreaming in AUsLAN”, at the new Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. I couldn’t be there to read it (a few hour’s notice to fly interstate is not enough for a parent of young children!!) so it was performed on the night by Melbourne performance poet Andy Jackson, whose work I admire very much.
The theme of the competition was ‘Making sense of it’ and entries were encouraged to address sensory perception. My poem explores the (often threatening and bewildering) sensory experiences of a child with autism, hopefully using a language the rest of us can understand.
The poem was featured on the Australian Poetry Centre website as ‘poem of the month’ in June 2010 and has now been archived here. You can also read the text of the poem in my older post about the Goolwa poetry festival, where I had the chance to workshop it into what became competition-winning form 🙂 Thanks again to Glenn Colquhoun and the other workshop participants for their feedback.