2019 Fall Contest Winner: 1st Place, Poet’s Choice

Poet bio

Danielle Stricklin has been writing poetry since the fifth grade, when her teacher praised her use of metaphor in a creative writing assignment describing the word “greed.” She studied poetry, literature, and gender politics at the University of Montana and currently lives in Eugene, Oregon, writing, running, and caring for her family and three cats.

2019 Fall Contest Winner: 2nd Place, Poet’s Choice

Original Face

by Michael Selker

When our friend turned sixty she wanted

a new life, wanted to tuck up and tighten,

wanted to get rid of those lines

When people and things fell apart in her life

and her car made a funny noise in neutral,

she took control and hired a plastic surgeon.

Now she is wrapped in ice for the swelling,

time suspended, cut white lilies on the table.

His Boston Whaler is still in the driveway

with life jackets and oars packed inside

as if he might return at a moment’s notice,

the keys to the cabin in Cannon Beach

still hanging on the hook by the basement door.

Ten to twenty years erased. And why not.

We tell her to remember she is beautiful

with or without that surgery. We tell her

to remember that the world makes us do these things.

To remember the Zen Koan that tells us to show

the face we had before our parents were born.

Poet bio

Michael Selker graduated from UCSB at a vibrant time for English majors; Hugh Kenner, Kenneth Rexroth and Basil Bunting were among the faculty. Selker studied with Hugh Kenner and lived next door to Bunting, who loved to drink beer and recite poetry—his own as well as work by friends Pound, Creeley, Ginsberg and others. Selker has published work in Cloudbank, Hubbub and Windfall and has one chapbook, Crazies’ Bus Stop, published by Pudding House Press.

2019 Fall Contest Winner: 3rd Place, Poet’s Choice

My Selfie Poem

by Cynthia Jacobi

I have middle aged children

I wonder at their infant survival under my care

      and wish I could do it over

My thoughts skip and pause

      as might a yellow pencil

      put to lined paper

I remember a collage of shoes

      lost front teeth

      report cards driving lessons

      first heartbreak

I write free form poetry

      It’s playing tennis without a net

      To quote Robert Frost

I must squint to focus

      and focus to be grateful

Starflowers of love returned shimmer

      in my silver hair

I breathe deep with acceptances

I have stashed an egg of barbed wire

      on a high shelf

a chalice of questions without answers

Poet bio

Cynthia Jacobi lives on the central Oregon Coast. She is a mixed media artist as well as a poet. She cannot imagine being as happy living anywhere else.