1st Honorable Mention: “Freefall” by Lucy Cotter, Portland, OR
2nd Honorable Mention: “Question for Mary Oliver” by Linda Budan, Newberg, OR
3rd Honorable Mention: “Gefilte Fish” by Barry Vitcov, Ashland, OR
The work in the New Poets category was a joy to encounter. As a judge for this category, I was looking for work in which language was deployed in fresh, meaningful ways; where images, metaphors, or tone were thoughtfully developed; and in which the staging of the poem was considered. I was taken to many poetic worlds: into the kitchen and conversations about food and belonging, into a bus stop for a metaphysical consideration of time, in the ground at soil-level to ponder the complexity of life in the eye of a potato. In all of the poetic countries I visited, I had the opportunity to encounter new signposts and guides to help me navigate the emotional landscape we all inhabit. Thanks to the poets for submitting their work, and may they continue to send out their words into the world.