The contest chapbook, “twenty-fifth,” Cover Art – “Echinacea” by Barbara Smith Gilbert, is available for a $10 donation. The chapbook can be found at Inklings Bookshop, Oak Hollow Custom Framing & Gallery or by contacting Ed Stover, 509-833-8577.
Yakima Coffeehouse Poets presents just a few of the fine examples of the 2019 year’s prize poems.
Enjoy a sampling of the twenty-fifth chapbook from 2019…
Joanna Thomas: First Place
n. 1. the scent of sugar, clover, anger,
rot. 2. a hardy aversion to fools. 3.
arrested momentum; or, the roller
coaster ride of trial and error. 4.
something floating in a nameless yeast;
also, soft mud, its yielding skid. 5. the
quiet pathos of spent passion. 6.
nightfall, furling her sails; or, the moon,
come snugly to anchor: We lay
enveloped in a watery bouquet of
darkness. 7. magnolia; nostalgia;
edelweiss, white as wool.
Joyce Hernandez: Second Place
our house we built
the way ants do
sealed it smooth
as the wasps’
we were such fools
to forget windows
so wise, though
to find a door
in the cellar
below the waterline
Terry Martin: Tom Pier Prize
As darkness gathers
we build modest shrines
(ravens clothed in night
words inked in lines)
to praise what is left—
husk, pod, bone, leaf;
the strangeness of dusk,
the sweetness of grief.
Kathleen Stancik: Judge. 2019
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
Beware the poem with serrated edges,
blade of forged metal. Stretch your
tongue across its vowels. Bring it back bloody.
Brave its brooding rhythms. Feel the bruise
of blue-black petals blooming from a crack
in a line. Taste pollen as it spreads
into places you’d forgotten existed. Wince
as you’re sliced through your stem.
Kathleen Smith: Honorable Mention
How The Texture of Grief Changes
At first, I knew how it would unfold:
I would lose my fear in your dark eyes
and your small, strong hands would dig,
ever so gently, through the rubble
until they found my heart. Like disaster
relief, peeling an onion, or the way snakes
get new skins. We would go slow and be tender.
We could get lucky and live again.
I didn’t know then how love gathers
at the center and surges like a single iris
blooming. Its sudden power surprises.
Its bulb breaks unnoticed. Small flakes
of casing cling and scatter as it muscles
to light. We know this now.
We have found old stories littering
the bed like confetti at this grand opening.
Joseph Powell: Honorable Mention
Two bright boats rock with the waves.
Their anchor-lines stretch and slacken.
In tranquil moments shadows revolve aimlessly
On the sun’s leash, but the more you stare into reflection
The more it stares into you, coloring what you see.
Love is the rope stretching into the invisible.
How deeply we believe in the thinnest tethers.
What’s spirit but motion against our moorings?