1st Honorable Mention: “Pocket Change” by Ward Anderson, Ashland, OR
2nd Honorable Mention: “Pie and Coffee” by Donna McNeil, Springfield, OR
3rd Honorable Mention: “Gastropoda Magnifico” by Julie K. Caulfield, Beaverton, OR
The poems in the “New Poet” category were impressive and explored a wide array of themes. I enjoyed reading each and every one, especially in this category. I have a special place in my heart for new poets, because we all have to start somewhere. The poem I chose for first prize, “Coal” is a delicately dense poem with a compelling metaphor about darkness and the journey within that darkness. The poem did a wonderful job of sustaining the metaphorical theme and finding something new and beautiful in each layer. I was drawn into the conversation inside the poem. The second-prize poem “The Cherries Were Ripe” is a lyrical work that examines something as simple as ripe cherries and weaves sustained meaning throughout each line. It speaks to the complexities of relationships in a lovely way. The third-prize poem “Crow Properties” is a wonderful nature poem and sustained my interest through each and every line. It opens our eyes to our complicated relationship with grief and our outer world. I selected the three honorable mention poems because each drew me in with metaphor and interesting language. Each had a unique idea and were well crafted. I think it is important for poems to find a way to say something new that stays with the reader. Each of these poems achieved this goal in some way. Poet Carl Sandburg once said “poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” In each of the poems selected, something in my shadow, did indeed dance.