Patrick Donnelly announces the 2017 Poetry Contest Winners

We are very pleased to present the winners of this year’s poetry contest, judged by Patrick Donnelly, with his comments on the prize-winning poems:

1st Place: Elton Glaser, “The Fifties, from the Back Row” $500

“This poem delighted me with the assured way it talks, with its wit, its long and sensually specific memory, and its deep understanding of how public and private cultures exist in contradiction.”

2nd Place: Janet Reed, “Toughs: A Pantoum to the Third-Grade” $200

“Read aloud, this poem has a gorgeous mouth-feel, seeming to channel Gerald Manley Hopkins’ way of making strong, sharp music with words and syntax, as it describes the serious awfulness of childhood.”

3rd Place: Charles Atkinson, “Less” $100

“This poem touched me very much with its intimate, painful account of one person caring for another whose body is failing. The speaker’s gaze is steady, tender, alert to the human poetry of the encounter.”

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Roberta Marggraff, “Arcade”

Allen Tullos, “The Dream of Calibration”

Anna Mullen, “Oshodi Birds”

Matthew Spireng, “Haunted”

Our thanks to everyone who entered, and our congratulations to the winners! Their poems will be in our Spring/Summer issue, coming out soon. If you would like a copy, send us a check for $10 made out to “Western New England University,” and addressed to Janet Bowdan, Common Ground Review, Box 5132, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield, MA 01119. Mention this post, and we will pay the cost of mailing it.