RMIT honours student Melody Paloma has been awarded the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets.
Overland, Australia’s long-standing literary and culture magazine, selected Paloma’s work as the 2014 winner of the $6000 prize.
Her poem, Hyper-reactive, is a restless and moving exploration between moments and impressions specific to particular places.
“Hyper-reactive came out of trying to navigate where I sit within Australian space,” Paloma said.
“I wanted each line to react and accumulate, to overload the senses: I wanted the poem to build, to have layers, fragments and fissures.”
She was also selected for the 2015 Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange (WrICE) fellowship program, where she took part in a collaborative residency in Vietnam earlier this year.
Associate Professor Francesca Rendle-Short, Co-Director nonfictionLab and WrICE, said she was excited to see Paloma’s poetry and writing blossom.
“For any emerging writer, winning a writing prize like this is priceless, affirming; it’s such a gift,” Rendle-Short said.
Peter Minter, leading Australian poet and Overland poetry editor, said he was quietly blown away by Hyper-reactive’s simplicity, accuracy and optimism.
“Every line in Hyper-reactive is a complete thought,” Minter said.
“Together they accumulate and crystallise in a work of art that, like a painting or sculpture, reveals moments as if they are truly timeless.”
Paloma’s future plans include developing her honours project into a book, as well as potentially furthering her studies with a PhD.
“I have had some really wonderful teachers that have been so supportive and encouraging during my time at RMIT,” she said.
“The creatives I have met within the course have been equally as inspiring; and the WrICE fellowship was, and continues to be, so incredibly rewarding.”
Her current project, aside from her honours poems and thesis, includes curating an online creative collection called Dear Everybody, facilitating collaboration and creative conversation between artists and writers.
Paloma will also be participating in several events at this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival (26 May – 5 June), including Travel Slides Night with other WrICE fellows.