1st Honorable Mention: “The Neighbor Brings a Boat Home” by Colette Jonopulos, Denver, CO
2nd Honorable Mention: “Facing the Light” by Jana Carp, Salem, OR
3rd Honorable Mention: “Earth: An Abecedarian Ode” by Alida Rol, Eugene, OR
Judging poetry is always weighty. We are tasked with selecting one poem over another and ranking them. While I am inclined to find the nugget in each poem, I understand that they all can’t be the best. So I began by reading each poem twice (once silently and once out loud). From there I looked for clear, interesting word choices, tight construction, unique and well-developed images, and careful use of punctuation. Lastly, I looked for its message: Does it capture and hold my attention, does it have a purpose, and does it inspire me to read it again, and again?
—Toni Lumbrazo Luna