1st Honorable Mention: “In Memory of Peter Sears” by Doug Stone, Albany, OR
2nd Honorable Mention: “Walk on Big Stump Beach” by Kari Wergeland, Yachats, OR
3rd Honorable Mention: “Adiabatic Flame” by Shari Crane, Portland, OR
It’s been a tremendous pleasure and privilege spending time with the poems in this category—thank you, everyone, for sharing them with me. Over the course of many weeks, I returned to the stack of entries numerous times; the poems I ultimately chose as winners were ones that, in subsequent visits, I recognized immediately and remembered fondly—like a few dear friends waiting on my front stoop.
The poet Stephen Dunn says, “The good poem alters us a little bit, or is capable of doing so. At the least, it moves us closer to what can be known and believed about the world, and our second selves (those parts of us which always know better) store such information in the vague repository which is consciousness. We may continue to behave badly after absorbing a good poem, but it might be slightly harder to forgive ourselves.”
I love that—and love, too, how each of these exceptionally good poems sends me back into the world changed for the better. Somewhat late in the judging process I realized that the three prizewinning poems are all grounded in family—our roots, our parents who, if we’re lucky, have also moved us closer to what can be known and believed about the world.