Literary Journal /
Fall 2012 Poetry Contest Results
Thanks to all the poets who entered the Fall 2012 Chautauqua Poetry Contest. We'd like to offer our congratulations to all finalists and to the winner and runner-up in this year's contest.
Winner: Michelle Regalado Deatrick, Ann Arbor, MI, "Incarnation: A Natural History"
First Runner-Up: Michelle Regalado Deatrick, Ann Arbor, MI, "Musica Univeralis"
Second Runner-Up: Ann Hudson, Evanston, IL, "Missing"
- Jacqueline Berger, San Francisco, CA, "Flying to China"
- Caitlin Doyle, East Hampton, NY, "Reformatory"
- Ann Hudson, Evanston, IL, "Postcard from LA"
- N. Nye, Longmont, CO, "This Country Asks for Poets"
- Sandra Storey, Jamaica Plain, MA, "Emergency"
- Suellen Wedmore, Rockport, MA, "Keeper of Black Rock Light"
Though the choice was extraordinarily difficult, “Incarnation: A Natural History” finally won me over. It is a poem deeply involved in its subject: an intimate celebration of a distant place. Most admirable is the lyrical sweep, the way in which the language sings its sensuous, cinematic details. The poem’s form of three sections is smartly balanced by its expansive rhythm—the Whitmanesque accretion of minutely observed images, the interweaving of short and long lines, and the abundant musicality of alliteration and half-rhymes throughout. Ultimately, though, the poem’s real strength is that the speaker both captures and is involved in the richness of its subject, tasting “the moment/high in the bright wet air.”
- Philip Terman
2012 Chautauqua Flash Contest Results
We’d like to thank all the writers who entered the flash writing contest. In addition, we offer a special thanks to our judge, Luke Whisnant. It is our pleasure to announce the winner, runners-up and finalists.
Winner: Nancy Geyer, “Home Depot”
Judge’s Commentary by Luke Whisnant
In this story we get two journeys for the price of one. “Home Depot” turns a mundane errand to the home supply store into an evocative frame for a remembered journey: a childhood trip on which “you yourself never felt more alive.” If artful compression is one of the hallmarks of the best microliterature, then this piece is masterful: both journeys are evoked in only 237 words. The story’s language is precise, vivid, and poetic. Read it aloud, listening for alliteration (“ponder its provenance,” “birthday bouquet,” “supersized stickers”), rhythms (“WIND-shield WI-per...SIDE-view MIR-ror”), and internal rhyme (“taken/vacation,” “you/new/blue,” “corporate pond/fake swan”). And notice how the blue balloon carrying pigment into the blue sky is subtly recycled in the last sentence’s “ceiling paint and brush.” A beautiful piece of writing.
- Mary Lee McNeal, “How I See Her”
- Steve Lautermilch, “Iris”
- Mary Dowd, “September 1951”
- Nancy Brown
- Joy Clumsky
- Rachel Furey
- Amy McCann
- Madge McKeithen
- Andrew McSorley
- Doug Ramspeck
2011 Poetry Contest
Theme: "War and Peace"
Judge: Todd Davis
Winner: Kathryn Winograd, "The Lives of Cells"
"The Lives of Cells" attempts to take its reader into an act of horror of such incomprehensible and intimate violence that the very foundations of such ideas as compassion or mercy or peace shift upon their foundations and threaten to dissolve.
The poem presents us with one example of the kind of inhumanity which feeds the thickening roots of all war, of men doing grave harm to women in the name of some cause or religion, and of the ways belief can twist the ideas of familial loyalty into devastating misogyny.
How can we find compassion or mercy in such a tale? How might a poet create more for her reader than mere abject revulsion and dismay, or, worse yet, simple judgment? To my blessed surprise, by beginning with our common origins, the poet braids our bodies together into a revelation of familiarity. We are told about "the cell ever dividing into daughter and daughter, into stone, into peacock, into angels of light."
We are urged to note that this sacred division is "all we have / become, or will be," and so we journey together, unable to look away, as a Kurdish teenager is stoned to death in an honor killing for marrying outside her faith.
But ours is not a disembodied fear, a facile aversion to what is clearly wrong. Instead this fear is answered with a description of stunning intimacy—"first touch of male palm against the budding nipple" and later "her mother’s nipples between his teeth gentled the way mine are"—and, finally, of familial connection as well—"
- Elinor Benedict,"The Consolation of Old Battlegrounds"
- Bhisham Bherwani, "Between the Wars"
- Ben McClendon, "Modern History"
- Liam Corley, "Unwound"
- Katherine Korth Dehais, "Psalms"
- Charles Hood, "Maquis"and "Lost Bases"
- Dawn Marar, "Efflorescence"
- Christopher Nye, "Poems Out of Music: Eyes"
- Chad Prevost, "Landscape in a Time of War"
- Carol Staudacher, "Reading the Names of the Dead"
Previous Contest Winners
|Mark Liebenow, "Hiking Over the Edge"
Kirsten Holmstedt's comments:
"This is a beautifully written reflective essay. The author transports the reader to Yosemite and takes us on his journey "to experience the whole of life, the holy now, with all of its tasty side dishes." As mere spectators, we are forced to watch as the scenes within nature move into the author's heart "like the corner of a piece of paper put to a pool of ink, drawing the feared darkness of the wilderness into the light where its mystery adds richness to life." If the object of this piece is to make us jealous of his hike over the edge, it worked. I don't believe any of the other stories matched the quality of writing in this piece, which relied so heavily on background information, observation, reflection, human senses interacting with nature, and on a more subtle level, the similarities between nature and society."
|Abby Geni, "Silence"
Abby Geni has previously been published in Glimmer Train, the Indiana Review, and Confrontation Magazine. Her stories have received first place in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open, as well as Honorable Mentions in the Kate Braverman Short Story Prize and in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Award. As a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Abby was the recipient of the Iowa Fellowship. She lives in Chicago, where she has begun work on a novel.
|Susan Jo Russell/Poetry (2009)
Susan Jo Russell was born in Chicago in November 1946. She has been working for a number of years with a collection of letters her father wrote her mother while he was in the army during World War II. When she began inventing her mother’s voice, her winning poem began to take shape. She is a mathematics educator whose writing for students and teachers has been published widely. Her poetry has appeared or will appear in Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, Peregrine, Passager, Slant, The Comstock Review, and California Quarterly. She now lives in Somerville, MA with her two housemates and a varying number of cats.
|Jill Koenigsdorf / prose (2008)
Jill Koenigsdorf won for “Browsers and Grazers.” Koenigsdorf divides her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she writes, sells antiques and walks dogs, and The Bay Area, where she owned and operated Spring Fever Flowers for twenty four years. Her work has appeared in: ZYZZYVA; Tin House; American Short Fiction; The Southwest Review; The South Dakota Review; The Sun; and the anthology: The Whole Story: Editors On Fiction. Her stories have placed in both the California Voices competition sponsored by Poets & Writers magazine, and in the “New Millennium” contest. She has also received The Peregrine Prize and The McGinnis Award for her short-stories. Her non-fiction appears regularly in The San Francisco Chronicle and The New Mexican newspapers. She has recently completed a novel which she hopes to find a home for in the coming year.
|Jude Nutter / poetry (2008)
Jude Nutter, of Edina, Minnesota, won for “Growing up in Bergen-Belsen: Sleeping with Ann Frank,” “Growing up in Bergen-Belsen: The Insect Collector,” “Espenbaum in Bergen-Belsen, May 2007,” and “Road Kill.” Nutter was born in North Yorkshire, England, and grew up in northern Germany in a building that was once part of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her poems have appeared in numerous international journals and anthologies and she is the recipient of several awards and grants. Her first collection, Pictures of the Afterlife (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), was published in 2002. The Curator of Silence (University of Notre Dame) won the Ernest Sandeen Prize from the University of Notre Dame and was awarded the 2007 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. A third collection, I Wish I Had A Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman is forthcoming from the University of Notre Dame Press. In 2004 she spent two months in Antarctica with the National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists Program. She has been living and working in Minneapolis since 1998.
|Catherine Alden / prose (2007)
Catherine Alden of Oakland, California, wone for her short story "Sickness Can Do That to a Man." Alden trained as a visual artist, receiving an MFA from Alfred University in 1985. Her artwork has been featured in The New Yorker and, in 2004, one of her stories won Honorable Mention in Boulevard’s Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers. "Sickness Can Do That to a Man" is her first published piece.
|Patricia Smith / poetry (2007)
Patricia Smith of Tarrytown, New York, is the author of Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection (Coffee House Press, 2006); Close to Death and Big Towns, Big Talk (Zoland Books) and Life According to Motown (Tia Chucha). Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Callaloo, TriQuarterly, and in many anthologies including The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry. Smith is also a four-time champion of the National Poetry Slam, still the most successful slammer in the competition’s history.
|Dan Carlson / prose (2006)
Dan Carlson was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and currently resides in Knoxville. He graduated in 1997 with a BA in English from the University of Vermont. Afterward, he lived three years apiece in Boston and San Francisco where, respectively, where he worked for the Ritz-Carlton and as a marketing copywriter for a small travel company. He has completed two novels, both unpublished to date. Smoke and Static is his first published work of fiction.
|Douglas Goetsch / poetry (2006)
Douglas Goetsch of New York City is the author of The Job of Being Everybody, which won the 2003 Cleveland State University Poetry Center open book competition, and Nobody's Hell (Hanging Loose Press, 1999). His honors include three chapbook prizes, the Paumanok Award, a Prairie Schooner Reader's Choice Award, and two poetry fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He runs the creative writing program for incarcerated teens at Passages Academy in the Bronx and is editor of Jane Street Press.
|Mark DeFoe / poetry (2005)
Mark DeFoe has published six chapbooks. Bringing Home Breakfast (Black Willow, 1983), Palmate (Pringle Tree Press, 1988), AIR (Green Tower Press, 1998), Aviary (Pringle Tree Press, 2001), The Green Chair (Pringle Tree Press, 2003) and Mark DeFoe’s Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2004). His poetry has appeared in such magazines as Poetry, The Yale Review, The Paris Review, New Letters, among many others. He lives in Buckhannon, West Virginia.
|David Feinstein for "Enoch" / prose (2005)
David Feinstein is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, where he received a B.A. in Creative Writing in 2004. “Enoch,” a work of nonfiction, is his first published piece. Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he currently lives and writes in New York City.
|Ellen Bass / poetry (2004)
Ellen Bass’s most recent book is Mules of Love (BOA Editions, 2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. Among her other honors are the Elliston Book Award from the University of Cincinnati, the Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod/Hardman, the Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, and a fellowship from the California Arts Council. She is also coeditor with Florence Howe of No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday, 1973). She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
|Gina Ochsner for "The Dog-Saint" / prose (2004)
Gina Ochsner lives in Keizer, Oregon, with her husband and four children. Other short works of hers have appeared in Chelsea, The New Yorker, Nimrod International, Flyway, and The Kenyon Review. Her first collection of stories, The Necessary Grace to Fall, won the Flannery O'Connor Award. In 2005 Houghton Mifflin published a new collection, People I Wanted to Be.