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The Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize
In 2016 at the age of 93, the poet and activist Venie Holmgren passed away. To honour his mother, David established the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize, which has been held annually since 2016.
Each year two esteemed judges are selected to choose a winning poem and two highly commended poems, which are announced at Daylesford’s Words in Winter festival, held annually in August. Also announced at the festival is the Packing Room Prize, a poem chosen by the Holmgren Design office staff.
Holmgren Design is proud to partner with Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry in presenting The Venie Prize.
In her late 50’s Venie Holmgren began to write poetry and her first published anthology, The Sun Collection for the Planet in 1989, became a poetry ‘best seller’. At the same time, she applied her environmental activist skills and commitment to the campaign to save native forests near her home on the far south coast of NSW, where she was arrested twice for obstructing log trucks.
After 16 years of solo self-reliant living she moved to the local town of Pambula where she penned her travel memoir, several more books of poetry and travelled widely as a performance poet.
In 2010 Venie moved to Hepburn where she wrote her last poetry collection, The Tea-house Poems. In January 2016, Venie ‘caught the bus’ at the age of 93 .
You can read more of Venie’s life in this article by The Guardian.
Previous winning entries
Read the previous year's winning and highly commended poems:
Hamlet in the Mind of a School Teacher by Michael Farrell
Journey, the South Coast by Mark Miller
Painting Trees at Valla by Brian Purcell
Black Swan Polyptych by Stuart Barnes
How We Get Through Accidentally by Geraldine Burrowes
Transgression of the Trees by Jeff Guess
Packing Room Prize
Death of a Gardener by Gary Smith