2018 Annual Poetry Contest Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners chosen by Amy Dryansky in our 2018 Poetry Contest!

(fanfare & drum roll, please)

1st Prize: Jari Chevalier, “In the Bird Sanctuary”

2nd Prize: John Sibley Williams, “Cosmology”

3rd Prize: Elton Glaser, “Under Capricorn”

And our Honorable Mentions:

C. Wade Bentley, “What You Came For”

Lisa Desrochers-Short, “Yellow Woodsorrel”

William Greenfield, “I Would Like to Be Someone’s Guardian”

Jonathan Greenhouse, “Defenseless”

Kevin Griffin, “Always”

Janet MacFadyen, “Feast”

Beth Paulson, “In the Museum”

It was a great pleasure to read the poems submitted to this competition. I found much to admire, and selecting the top three was challenging. Because this is a contest, however, I did choose, but can honestly say that the top three are all “winners” in their own right––number three could easily have switched place with one, number two for three, and so on.

To me, this is by no means a bad thing, but instead speaks to a variety and flexibility in poetry that can and should be celebrated. What I love about these poems is how each takes a different approach to their subject, and stands out in its own way:“Cosmology” offers up tightly constructed syntax and line breaks that underscore a tense domestic moonscape. “Under Capricorn“’s sculptural couplets precisely capture a flickering constellation (and stage of life). And “In the Bird Sanctuary” uses playful form and diction to great effect, as an illuminating contrast to a serious human condition. The one aspect that all three of these poems share is the element of surprise. In each, I came across fresh language and imagery, interesting ideas and perspectives; poetic devices that made me look, and look again. In looking, I saw something that changed what I knew about a piece of the world. Something new was revealed. So, congratulations, poets, on this fine work. And thank you, for teaching me some of what you know.

–Amy Dryansky