It’s always fun to support the Oregon Poetry Association by entering their annual contests. And what a nice surprise to find out I was an honorable mention, alongside some of my favorite Oregon poets:
Honorable Mention: “Erasure Poem #72” by Shawn Aveningo Sanders, Beaverton, OR
Honorable Mention: “Souvenir” by Nancy Flynn, Portland, OR
Honorable Mention: “Repast” by Donna Prinzmetal, Portland, OR
Limited to twenty lines, the poems in this category delivered memorable imagery and resonant meaning with great economy of language. The very best of them also gave the reader the gift of surprise—a quality shared by the diverse assortment of poems honored here.
The three Honorable Mentions exhibit their own excellence. “Erasure Poem #72” gathers meaning from the scattered remnants of a passage in a Tom Robbins novel, and is a tour de force of its challenging genre. “Souvenir” drops us into the heat and dust of an Alabama cotton field, leaving us to confront the “whipping, the weep / the countless hammers cocked.” “Repast” is a moving testament to a daughter’s loving care. The detail of the dark O of the mother’s mouth, open to be fed, is heartbreaking.
My thanks to all the poets who shared their work. It was a pleasure to read this fine collection of poems, and a difficult challenge to select only a few for recognition.