2022 FALL ADULT CONTEST RESULTS
POET’S CHOICE: JUDGE: DOROTHEA LASKY
1st Place – La Chua, Allison Gaines
2nd Place — At St. Mary’s, Suzy Harris
3rd Place — Pink Bubble Technology, DM Wallace
1st HM — Upon Learning of a Friend’s Suicide, Robert Eastwood
2nd HM – Amelia, Scottie Sterrett
3rd HM — I’ll Tell You What I Saw, Charles Castle
Others I also enjoyed, in no particular order:
Snapshot: The Cow & the Girl, Louhi Pojola
Bird House, Kari Hakan
The End of Something, Vivienne Popperl
Comfort Found in a Box of Cream of Wheat, Shawn Aveningo Sanders
La Chua – 1ST Place, Allison Gaines
This is the only place
I was ever happy, you said,
describing the place down the road
where leathery reptiles emerge
from dark, shallow water;
where fast-growing hyacinths
support the weight
of the neon-iridescent birds
that hurry, yellow-legged, across them,
where small raptors circle for snails,
coming back around
The screech of other invasives
fills the air and the slight
stink of the swamp rises,
and it pleases you.
Why is this place happiness?
Where else is everything so
laid bare, limitless,
behind thick stands of trees
or rocky foothills?
Here, families of a dozen
small chicks paddle out
amidst what may kill them.
Sadness does not conceal itself here,
and what’s hiding must be flushed out
from the clumps of reeds
to face the sun, or the heavy gray clouds,
or whatever is reflected
past where the boardwalk
will take you.
Alison Gaines lives in Portland, Oregon where she teaches high school English. She holds a BA from Knox College and an MFA in poetry from the University of Florida. Her work appears in several journals including Salamander and The Southern Review.
At St. Mary’s – 2nd Place, Suzy Harris
after Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats”
when all is said and done, may
we recognize how the tide
brings us back to all that
we ever knew, all that is
forever inside us, entering
and leaving, stroking and breathing, even
when we least know it, now
and before, how the lip
of the wave rolls over grains of
sand. no one knows our
story, even those with understanding.
still, we try. here, let me carry
your bag for a moment while you
walk beside, our bare feet making tracks out
of the small village, beyond
the cafes that line the beach to the face
of the rock at the headlands, where we let go of fear
and find our way back down again. may
we remember this sky, this sun. May you
face your loss with a kiss,
the strength of the wind,
resolve of the ancestors, then
when you are ready, turn
away from it all, from
the past with its smallness, and find it
a new home, maybe a carved box, a certain
place that will appreciate all that
it was meant to be. perhaps it
will free you to find a new way, will
leave you changed. love
will find its way back into your
hands, your breath, back
into whatever may
come next for you
now count to ten and open
your heart. Listen to your
fears, close your eyes
and remember how to
swim under water
that feeling of gliding under water
breathless and waving
with the water’s motion forever
breast-stroking through long glides and
surging back into your own body. may
your loss not define you
and when you are ready in
that moment your
grace and innocence
home again through
what is no longer the empty place, this
place of sun and sand, to
the unknown but welcoming that
Suzy Harris has recently served as poetry editor of Timberline Review. Her chapbook “Listening in the Dark”, about losing her hearing and learning to hear again with cochlear implants, is forthcoming from The Poetry Box in February 2023.
Pink Bubble Technology ™ — 3rd Place, DM Wallace
Anyone can put a pink bubble around themselves,
and once you know how to do it you will wonder
how you ever got through life without it!
Your pink bubble looks exactly the way you
think a pink bubble should: glossy, soft and round,
flowing, opalescent and clear, you get the idea.
Put yourself right inside your pink bubble
and look around, letting it expand and change
as you take in all of its’ aspects of light and shape.
Now float around in there feeling the sweet
comfort and ease of being surrounded by
this ever encompassing and perfect embrace.
The pink bubble will be your friend and ally
in many situations where you need absolute clarity:
walking, speaking, driving, and especially listening!
Get to know your pink bubble intimately,
visualizing exactly how it feels and functions
and calling it to yourself whenever you want.
Your tasks will get done effortlessly. People will
open their hearts to you and appreciate your ideas,
all physical and energetic obstructions evaporating.
People around you might notice something different
about you, and you will begin to see shifts in time and
space occur as you fully engage with this technology.
DM Wallace grew up in a large Catholic family in Twin Falls, Idaho, but she has lived in Eugene, Oregon for over 40 years. She has been published in numerous literary journals and one anthology. Her book Lexicon of the Body is being released from Atmosphere Press in October 2022. She has worked as a poetry editor, a film reviewer, an event coordinator and wine sales rep, and is a new member of OPA.
JUDGE Dorothea Lasky is the author of five full-length collections of poetry and one book of prose, the newest of which is Animal (Wave Books). Her work has appeared in POETRY, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, and Boston Review. She holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania. She also studied at Harvard University and at Washington University. She has taught poetry at NYU, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. In 2013 she was a Bagley Wright Fellow in Poetry. Currently she is an Associate Professor of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where she directs the Poetry concentration in the MFA program, acts as a co-Faculty advisor for Columbia Artist/Teachers (CA/T), and organizes the summer writing program. She lives in New York City. Visit her at https://www.dorothealasky.com.
Twitter and Instagram: @dorothealasky