I attach the judge's report as it is interesting, though I'm not sure how useful it is. The overall winner seems to fit into Category 10, for example, and naturally other judges have different sets of criteria.
Judge’s Report (Judge: Tim Upperton) – How do you judge a poem? Actually, judging a poem is easy. Judging 679 poems is hard. It’s easier, I think, to articulate where poems go awry, so let me talk about that first. As I read these poems, I found myself assigning many of them to certain vague categories that became more clearly defined as I went along. All examples are, of course, my own invention.
1. The undeserved praise poem. These poems praised something, often extravagantly, for just doing its job. “Oh bedside lamp, you shed light on my book, that I may read!”
2. The eighteenth century poem. “O bedside lamp, thou shedd’st light on my book, that I may read by thee!”
3. The extremely difficult form poem. Never has there been such a congregation of pantoums, villanelles, sestinas, even a mirror poem or two. These poems often seemed to breathe a sigh of relief in the last line – thank God, here’s the end and I haven’t dropped the ball. But is that enough, not to drop the ball?
4. The homily. An anecdote followed by a moral. I don’t think I’ve ever been so instructed in my life. I realise I don’t care about morality very much.
5. Rhymes that hurt my ears.
6. The quiveringly sensitive poem. In these poems, the speakers are more sensitive than I will ever be. They feel so much, so much. I realise I’m not very interested in feelings.
7. The smart-arse poem. This is a variation on no.6. The smart-arse poem knows a lot, and hints that it knows a lot more. It bristles with literary allusions. It talks down to me. It pisses me off.
8. The galloping poem. These poems just go for it, in a pounding rhythm, regardless of subject matter. Birth of a son? Te-te-TUM te-te-TUM. Grandmother’s funeral? Te-te-TUM te-te-TUM.
9. The Big Issue poem. A tricky one, this. No reason why poems shouldn’t address big issues, but they nearly always come unstuck when they do. It’s as if the issue carries the poem, and not the other way round.
10. The darkly enigmatic poem. This poem means something, but it’s not going to let you in on the secret, oh, no. It’s like an architect designed a house and disdained doors and windows.
From 679 poems to just eighteen. These poems all demonstrated an understanding of language and its resources, and particularly of sound. The best of them appear to follow a tune where it leads them; they are exploratory, tentative, questioning, open. They transform what they represent, and take me somewhere I didn’t expect to go.