Anthology Poetry Award 2021 – Winner

by Anthology

Congratulations to Crystal Cardona, winner of the Anthology Poetry Award 2021.

Unknown Freedom

Crystal Cardona

Taken as an infant,
Far away from home,
No more mother, or father 
An Aboriginal baby alone. 

Forgotten identity and culture,
Spirituality and connection dismissed, 
Forced to act like a white person, 
Westernisation was no gift.

White man was boss,
All do what he say, 
If not, my people were punished, 
All dignity stripped away. 

Young women made pregnant, 
And boys’ bodies broken, 
Black skin meant no rights, 
Aborigines, a white man’s token. 

Learned of God 
Instead of the land 
Centuries of knowledge 
Withered to sand.

Today my people stand strong, 
Healing from the loss of our own, 
All Aborigines past and present, 
Can say our freedom is unknown.

Crystal Cardona
Crystal Cardona

Crystal Cardona is a 20-year-old Malak Malak and Iwaidja woman who is honoured to be living on Larrakia land (Darwin, Northern Territory of Australia). Darwin is her hometown, where she was born and raised. Crystal is currently studying for a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in creative writing at the University of Adelaide.

Unknown Freedom is a poem that sits close to her heart. Colonialism was, and still is, painful for Indigenous Australians. Her poem speaks of how the First Nations people were treated during the colonisation of Australia.

‘Writing of all sorts has always been a passion of mine. An outlet. A way to express myself. It allows me to share my emotions and thoughts with others. Being a successful writer is my greatest aspiration.’ – Crystal Cardona


TM Smudge (England) – Finally Free
Marguerite Doyle (Ireland) – A letter to Theo from Vincent
Caroline Bracken (Ireland) – Metamorphosis
Simon Harris (Sri Lanka) – A Holocaust survivor on her birthday in the time of Covid


Anne Casey (Australia) – Conversations with my Father
Annie Jackson (England) – Ctrl-Alt-Del
Glen Wilson (Northern Ireland) – Palestine Sunbird
Julie Sheridan (Spain) – Rocking Chair Song
Lizzie Smith (Scotland) – Haru Ichiban
Mícheál Moley Ó Súilleabháin (Ireland) – The Quay at Gleninagh
Nandini Tripathy (India) – The Burial of the Dead

We wish to thank all those who entered the Anthology Poetry Award. We would also like to thank our hardworking independent judge, Dr Rachael Hegarty, who carefully read and assessed each entry to select the shortlist, the highly commended poets and the overall winner.

Entries are now invited for the Anthology Poetry Award.

For further information or to enter the competition visit

Main image: Aboriginal Female, Sydney, Australia, 1895. Benjamin Edwin Minns