Community & Business

12 March, 2022

Atherton poet wins prestigious competition

ATHERTON resident and award-winning poet Irene Timpone has won the prestigious Blackened Billy Verse Competition with her personal, heartfelt submission of “Elegy”.

Atherton poet wins prestigious competition - feature photo

The Blackened Billy Verse Competition is an annual event organised by the Tamworth Poetry reading group and has featured high-quality, awardwinning poems over its 30- year lifespan. 

Irene’s submission into the competition, “Elegy”, is described as a timeless tale of war and its aftermath and is yet another winning example of Irene’s ability to take Australian bush poetry into the 21st century. 

It is a deeply personal poem for Irene as three of her nephews had previously been deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Australian armed forces. 

Irene credits her mother and grade six teacher, Amy Smith, for her love of bush poetry as her mother regularly read her Banjo Paterson’s Bush Ballard “Lost” and her teacher refined her technical writing ability and nurtured her love for bush poetry. 

“The best way to share the history of Australia is to contribute the truth of our past to the literature of our times,” Irene said. 

“The Blackened Billy Competition, with its high standards and excellent organisation, offers Australian poets an excellent opportunity to maintain Australian culture and history while, at the same time, enjoying their love of creative writing. 

“It was a very tough competition to win.” 

Once she receives her Blackened Billy trophy, Irene can place it alongside her other accolades and awards she has received over the years. 

Irene has taken out many highly competitive awards including the Henry Lawson (Gulgong) Awards, the Betty Olle, the Bronze Spur, Oracles of the Bush and the Dusty Swag. 

Irene’s World War I epic poem, “Remembering Bill the Bastard”, took out the international Ipswich Poetry Feast Award in 2020. 

She also wrote the poem, “Mount Mulligan, Remembered” to commemorate the centenary in September 2021 of the Mount Mulligan Mine disaster.


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