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Poetry In Voice 2013 champion Khalil Mair recites at Griffin Poetry Prize awards ceremony

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Finding your voice as a poet

The hagfish is a slime-emitting ocean-dweller that's remained unchanged for million years--and it shows. It has a skull but no spine , velvet smooth skin, and a terrifying pit of a mouth that's lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth. Comment on this Story. First Name.

Last Name. Address 1. And when I get to the end, I go back and start again Sisyphus comes to mind. The trouble was that whatever I wrote tended to look like an exercise in the style of the poet I was currently reading. And how wrong you would be. It lies within the poetry section of a library.

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Housman, Thomas Hardy, W. Thomas… these are just some of the favourite poets who, in my case, were fed into the top end of the funnel. As a poem begins to take shape in your head, there comes a moment when you become simultaneously aware that there is a poem-shaped hole in the universe and that it has fallen to you to make good this serious deficiency by filling it.

He was right. While it may seem the height of hubris to imagine you can fill a gap carelessly left vacant by every great writer of the past, the fact remains that the universe has changed — it now has you in it. And that makes all the difference.

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