Congratulations to the Winners!
Alexandria Peary gives insight into this year's winning poems!
Thank you to all who participated!
The world stopped spinning
Everything was silent,
The breeze stopped blowing the trees,
And the river stopped rolling along.
Everything was silent,
Oh, so very silent And Dark.
Sophie Stachulski, Elementary School Winner
It’s funny how quickly a moment can go from thrilling to terrifying,
Just like that.
Laughter turns to screams
The world becomes so loud, yet so deafeningly silent.
The impact isn’t even the worst part,
But the pressure of the water overtaking my body and stealing my breath is what kills me.
I try to gasp for air
But to no avail.
Air turns to water and fills my lungs.
In my last moments I relive everything in my life up until now.
Every wrong decision
Every right one
Everything in between
Will the world miss me?
Or will I just be another unknown soul,
Just like that.
Callie Valeri, High School Winner
New London NH
Mom, me, and my little sister, frowning. Summer vacation, road-trip.
Dad had rested the 1960’s Travco motor home, to extend its life
on the road. While we waited for it to quit its white-steam-sighing,
he brought his camera out to capture a gigantic Arizona cactus.
My little sister and I fence Mom, as directed, and stand in front of the star.
My oldest sister—absent—explores a Christian camp, 3,000 miles away,
where she’ll meet her future husband and try-on Mom’s Sunday shoes.
The star of the photo towers behind us, stiffly poking the desert sky
with its succulent-nubs, to force the rain that just won’t come.
This inside-out pincushion grows from Mom’s slumped shoulders, out
of her housewife-head, as if all of the cooking & sewing she did for us
came back in one impatient clump. Her feet swell beneath the burden
in the degree of heat that melts cheese; another reason we are not smiling.
My golden-haired sister—dressed in blue—leans close to Mom’s right side,
gazing at the concrete with her tiny-blue-eyes. Her three-inch feet
are firmly tucked together, readying her Air Force Sergeant future.
I am captured at eleven, a tanned, brunette, bean-pole; summer’s dry-gleam
a pasture in my hair. My white pants are rolled to my scuffed knees. My
white tank top hides two sore bumps, (soon-to-be trainees)—I match
Mom’s scowl. This trip, she tells me that it is about time I wear a brazier.
My left-hand rests on the back of my head, my elbow forms an arrow
pointing in the direction apposing her. Deep, in the distance between us,
on my right shoulder, a highway-sign cautions, alongside a chain-linked fence:
Do Not Enter.
By Amber Rose Crowtree
First Place Adult Category
A lopsided moon sends no light through the bare trees
as I stumble blindly
toward our compost bin.
One foot squishes and I jerk it back.
Someone’s cigarette smoke bullies its way
into my consciousness-a neighbor? Walker?
Undistracted, briefly stilled, I savor my small illusion
Joyce White, Second Place Adult Category
No one knows
The next ride could be you
in the black hearse with the yellow fringe and tassels
draped over velvet drawn curtains
always parked in the dark end of Johnson’s barn.
In her stall, across from the hearse, Lucy
the retired black mare, waits alone.
When it’s time, she wears an ostrich plume
pulling the carriage slow and steady
with its pine casket and massive iron wheels
through the village of Sutton
up Meeting House Hill to the Old South Cemetery.
It might be Mrs. Ferry who is the next one to go.
The ninety-seven-year-old woman who lives on Barker Road
and holds the Boston Post Cane made of ebony with an engraved golden knob.
Although the last time I saw her,
she was on a step ladder painting her kitchen ceiling.
Jody Wells, Third Place Adult Category
Alexandria Peary, New Hampshire Poet Laureate
Poem #1, "Frozen": This poem offers a view on a grand scale, combining in metaphor the planetary with the emotional. The writer offers complex imagery about movement--and a complex scenario of movement stopped.
Middle School: No submissions.
High School: Poem #6, "Just Like That." This poem presents a tight focuses on a serious moment, with an admirable use of longer lines, repetition, and voice for poetic effect. The use of casual "talk language" in the title does a great job of countering the seriousness of the scenario.
First Place: Poem #5, "A 1987 Photo of Female Destinies" Written in a prose poem style, this poem offers concise and evocative imagery around family life and female identity, with at times surreal imagery ("inside-out pincushion grows from Mom's slumped shoulders, out // of her housewife-head, as if all of the cooking & sewing she did for us / came back in one impatient clump." The writer uses details from the surroundings in complex metaphoric ways, especially at the close, and takes on the concept of a snapshot in time in snapshot-like stanza shapes.
Second Place: Poem #36, "Compost Poem": A lean, haiku-like focus on a momentary observation with deep internal voice and musicality ("I savor my small illusion / of solitude"). The poem deftly moves within minimal words between complex states of mind, beginning with the parallel drawn between the moon and speaker.
Third Place: Poem #9, "Last Ride Up Meeting House Hill": In an almost Emily Dickinson-like way, this poet takes on mortality; different than Dickinson, the writer mixes the "I" with a direct address to the reader, a "you." The poem succeeds in mixing time periods as well: both the nineteenth and the twenty-first century. The final image of the old woman is evocative: she's painting her kitchen ceiling in an independent, very much alive way, but the ceiling also suggests ascension (to another life).
Literary Arts Guild
Center For the Arts
PO Box 872
New London, NH 03257
March 22, 2020
Thank you very much for entering the ninth annual Poetry Contest conducted by the Literary Arts Guild of the Center For the Arts, Lake Sunapee Region. The official contest winners are:
FIRST PLACE: Amber Rose Crowtree for her poem, “A 1987 Photo of Female Destinies”
SECOND PLACE: Joyce White for her poem, “Compost Poem”
THIRD PLACE: Jody Wells for his poem, “Last Ride Up Meeting house Hill”
HIGH SCHOOL WINNER: Callie Valeri for her poem, “Just Like That”
MIDDLE SCHOOL: No Entries
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WINNER: Sophie Stachulski for her poem “Frozen”
We are gratified by the numbers of entrants, and by the generally high quality of the submissions. While there was a limit to entries that actually won awards, there are many more of the submitted poems that are works of merit, and attest to a high level of talent and interest in poetry. We appreciate your contribution to the artistic expression that increasingly characterizes our state of New Hampshire, and hope that you will continue to participate in the activities and events that the Center For the Arts offers to our region.
Sadly, due to the corona virus situation, we must cancel the April 3rd reading by the winners and New Hampshire Poet Laureate, Alexandria Peary. We will be working on a way to present the winners reading their poems via the internet. More on this will follow.
Whether or not your poem was selected as a “winner,” we send our thanks for your participation, and urge you to keep writing!
The Literary Arts Guild
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