2018 Spring Contest Winner 2nd Place: Sonnet for the 25th Wedding Anniversary

Sonnet for the 25th Wedding Anniversary

by Carolyn Martin


She came to me in the rain.

­—James Wright, “Sappho”


What a silly thing to do, this Memory

without umbrella or boots, slipping through

the drenching afternoon, reminding me

of early loves I filed away. A few

titled puppy-ish lined with clipped good-byes,

slamming doors, words enraged, hope-shatterings.

A few six-month-stands that did not thrive

in spite of spellbound lips and shudderings

I grew addicted to. One commitment failed.

One if-only. One might-have-been—preludes

to today. Bemused I stroll through fields

of dripping irises with gratitude

to all my left-behinds. Memory sighs,

See. Nothing is appraised the same way twice.




Judge’s comments

I think every judge speaks to how difficult it is to select poems for a contest. I can only say it again… this was DIFFICULT. The quality of the sonnet submissions was extremely high. Getting down to ten was rough. Going for the final six made me a little nutty. I had to read the final poems at least 20 times to make the final call. I was extremely impressed by the language choice, imagery, and slant rhymes. Many of these poems were an “expansion” of the sonnet while holding true to the form. It was a pleasure to read everything submitted in this contest. All of the finalists pushed the formality and expression. The winning poems showed a daring in theme. Wildly varying, these sonnets were an expression of longing, nature, modern life, and frustration. The sonnet (even when taken to a contemporary level) is a tight form with very little room to maneuver. Fourteen little lines packed a ferocious punch in this contest. I was lost in each of these poems, and the most successful sonnets almost hid themselves. The language concealed the form, and I adored that.

—Amy MacLennan



From Assistant Professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and dry summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK including Stirring, CALYX, Persimmon Tree, How Higher Education Feels, and Antiphon. Her third collection, Thin Places, was released by Kelsay Books in 2017.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top