Emma Shi, a Yr 13 student from Auckland’s Pakuranga College, has won the 2013 National Schools Poetry Award with “inadequately blue”, a poem inspired by an early morning.

‘I was sleepy, but the sky was so pretty and it was slowly getting brighter’, says Emma. ‘And that’s what inspired the first line—“the sky folds open every morning like origami”… “inadequately blue” is about how small we are, with all our limits, along with the things we could, and wish we could do—if only we were, perhaps, as great as the sky.’

Judge Anna Jackson describes Emma’s winning poem as ‘very assured…from its arresting opening image, through its three poised and shapely stanzas. This is a poem about an origami feeling, with the image of the origami cranes at once suggesting the care, the attention, the patience it takes to “fold and fold and fold” and at the same time the lack of pretension, the artlessness, the simplicity of writing all in the lower-case about nothing more than a feeling.’

Entries for the Award came from senior secondary students all over New Zealand. Ms Jackson says she read a tremendous range of work, all of it showing some promise, some energy or some element of successful resolution.

2013 Award winner : Emma Shi – ‘inadequately blue.

Finalists : Madeleine Ballard – ‘La Langue Française

Finalists : Holly Brendling – ‘Dust

Finalists : Bryony Campbell – ‘Just another sketch

Finalists : Timothy Fraser – ‘Incandescent Essence

Finalists : Didi Hughes – ‘Wintersweet

Finalists : Philippa McMenamin – ‘A China Robin

Finalists : Isabelle McNeur – ‘No one ever tells us

Finalists : Abigail Mossman – ‘Oceanic Romeo and Juliet

Finalists : Ruby Solly – ‘Hurt

Read the press release
Read previous winning and shortlisted poems