Joel Lazar wins Monash University Prize for Poetry

The School of English, Communications and Performance Studies would like to congratulate Joel Lazar on winning the 2012 Monash Poetry Prize with his poem As Far As I Can Go which was selected from over 150 entries.

As Far As I Can Go

Going to water

Is my act of repentance

Swimming is my penance

The chest I beat

When the sin becomes

Too blue and deep

When I confess that I am

An estranged lover

Separated from myself

Then I go to water

That is as far as I can go

When I insist

That You, I and It

Are different

I flee the chapel

Leaving it to burn

And when I reach the forest

My breath becomes the

Space between the leaves

That is as far as I can go

Until the swirling vacuum

The black hole in the water

Where nothing lives

That is where I will be

That is as far as I can go

And when you see from afar

The anchor shoot skyward

That is my firework of iron

That is my mocking and rebellion

Against whoever stole my choice

To be atom or atomized

To leave home proper

Or spend my years building a new one

Only for the tide’s palm

To smash and erase it

Then creep away laughing

Holding hands with the wind

Into the horizon where they both live

That is as far as I can go

Making a space for myself

Between the silk sheets of the swells

Is my returning to

The Great Searched-For

The Great Run-From

The everlasting scar tissue of the world

Because the sea is mnemonic by Design

Catching me out when

I begin telling my children

That this is as far as we can go

Then I will remember

Grown men have waded further

When the waves fold

Then I will remember

That all towers will fall

Then I will remember

That the quicksilver of dreams

Lets us slip through the cracks

Of dam walls

And swim to the sand’s edge

That is as far as I can go

Where I’ll begin

And lie down to sleep

Not where my tears collect

But from where they come

From where I come

Where water begins

And lies down to sleep

Where it goes to cry


Special mentions also go to Caitlin Murphy for Alphabet, Sarah Holley for 6 months on and Kristen Richards for The Whooping Hollow.