A message to all the bush poets out there.

The next Kapunda Music Festival (20-21 October) will provide you with another chance to strut your stuff.

We will be continuing the tradition with a bush verse competition - a poets' breakfast - in the spirit of the event initiated by former Kapunda bank manager Rob Charlton - and its semi literate will-o-the-wisp patron saint, Phred the Phantom Poet.

For the uninitiated a bit of background.

This has always been a bush verse competition with a difference.

In past decades it was a rumbustious affair held in the very early hours of a Sunday morning with poets delivering their offerings to a well-oiled active and vociferous audience.

But let me reassure you. The event is a somewhat different beast now. As we participants age gracefully, and society changes around us, so has the event moderated. As I say: it's now a breakfast event at waking time.

It's not a kind of literary bacchanalian orgy in the wee hours as in days of old.

So, seriously, if you think you've got a bush ballad of the spoken kind in you by all means get the old quill scratching across the parchment in delicious anticipation of joining in.

One winner will be announced at the end and the traditional Rob Charlton/Phred the Phantom Poet black stump awarded.

This winner will join the pantheon of past winners stretching back decades. The final decision will once again be in the hands of Judge Julie.

She doesn't claim divine inspiration - judging poetry is notoriously subjective - but as a retired English teacher who knows how poetry is supposed to be put together and delivered, and who has been around this event from its earliest days, she has a very good eye for it indeed.

There are no strict criteria for entering. The main thing remains to enter into the spirit of it and to have a go. But no matter what the frivolity - jocularity - Judge Julie will be paying attention to these five main things in deciding a winner: (1) That the composition is original to the entrant. You are welcome to recite someone else's work but can't win with a poem not your own. (2) The degree to which the entrant has delivered a strong entertaining poetic narrative. (3) The degree to which the poem is constructed in the traditional form of past centuries associated with Paterson, Lawson and all the others. She will be listening out for the rhythms (with a strong beat but not necessarily galloping) and rhymes of that form. (4) Content that speaks to a contemporary audience at Kapunda for the festival. (5) The degree to which the entrant has been able to engage the audience with the above.

The event will be held between 9.30 - 10.45am in front of the main marquee in Hill Street on the Sunday morning of the Kapunda weekend. Breakfast can be purchased on the spot at the time. For further information ring Julie and myself on (08) 83560545.



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