2020 Spring Contest Winners: New Poets: 2nd Place Winner


Jim Johnson

Virginia Woolf’s sentences

slide past one another

like waltzing couples

rising and falling in a tempo

of waves naturally rolling

onto the beach often visited

with husband and others

of her acquaintance.

Now at home writing

in her room she looks out

on a Bloomsbury rainy evening

where walkers stroll with umbrellas.

The wet street glistens

in the light of taxis

that drive up and down,

never reaching a conclusion.

She pauses, recalling Mrs. Dalloway’s

party ruined by news of a suicide

and wonders if she too

will spoil someone’s party.

Poet’s Bio

Jim Johnson is a retired mathematician and engineer. He has been writing poetry for about five years.

Judge’s Comments – Penelope Scambly Schott

When I read a poem I am hoping to see something that interests me and makes me feel some intensity about it.  I want a new experience, fresh imagery, and some kind of emotional response. I don’t want to be distracted by clichés or preaching or deliberate obscurity. After much reading and re-reading, I ended up picking these particular poems for their compassion and originality.  “Rain” presents a concise portrait of Virginia Woolf with effective premonition.

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