PERSONAL loss spurred on David Musgrave to win the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize.
The 47-year-old wrote the poem Coastline after experiencing a tough and sudden end to his marriage.
"It's about going for a walk between Bondi and Coogee," he said.
"This is quite an autobiographical poem and a little more personal than others I've written."
Musgrave lives in Sydney and works as a creative writing teacher at the University of Newcastle.
He has been on the prize's shortlist three times and took out first place in 2008.
Newcastle Poetry Prize co-ordinator Candice Ward said the $12,000 awarded to Musgrave was proof of the competition's importance.
"It's definitely considered one of the most prestigious literary prizes in Australia and it's the oldest poetry prize too," she said.
The winners were announced on Friday night after judges Kim Cheng Boey and Jennifer Harrison delved through a shortlist of 23 entrants.
Mark O'Flynn took home $5000 for second place with Hill End Sonnets and Philip Radmall received $1000 for finishing third with Grounding.