2017 Fall Contest Traditional Form, Villanelle: Honorable Mentions and Judges’ Comments

Honorable mentions:

1st Honorable Mention: “Creation Story” by Toni Hanner, Eugene, OR

2nd Honorable Mention: “Salt-and-Pepper Villanelle” by Danny Earl Simmons, Lebanon, OR

3rd Honorable Mention: “Detective Chief Inspectors” by Dan Kaufman, Central Point, OR




Judge’s comments

To prepare, I read villanelles by Bishop, Dunn, Kees, and Levertov. Then I looked in the 34 poems in this category for the traditional (19 lines, consistent syllable count, rhyme scheme) elements, plus intriguing choice of subject, image, diction, enjambment, and other characteristics of outstanding poems. A challenge; a pleasure.

The honorable mention poems included “Creation Story,” a poem of much longer/more variable lines that addresses major issues of nature, religion, race, and nation; “Salt-and-Pepper Villanelle,” a wry villanelle-cum-soliloquy in perfect form that matches inevitable aging with the searing of meat; and the effervescently punning “Detective Chief Inspectors” that both skewers and admires the Brits’ mystery series heroes.


Judith H. Montgomery

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