2017 Adult Poetry Contest Winners

Andrea Rowland
Andrea Rowland reads her winning poem “These Same Fields”

Thanks to everyone who made this year’s Adult Poetry Contest a success! This is the second time JMRL has offered a poetry contest for adults in partnership with WriterHouse, and once again,  it was a big hit. Thank you so much to WriterHouse for helping us with this, and to our judge, Annie Kim for her hard work in selecting our winners out of a huge number of amazing poems.

At our Poetry on the Steps event at the Central Library on Thursday, April 20th, both contestants were on hand to read their wonderful poems and receive their prizes – a $100 Visa gift card to our runner-up and $200 Visa gift card to the winner. And now what you’ve all been waiting for: the winning poems!

2017 Adult Poetry Contest Runner-up:  Sharon Ackerman

Sharon was the runner-up with “The Mourning Dove.” Judge Annie Kim says of her selection: “Elegy unites these vivid portraits of a mourning dove, a great-grandmother, and the speaker as a young child, reminding us that the source of all elegy is love.”

“The Mourning Dove”

sends her perfect dirge

woodwind, onto the jeep trail

where I walk. Hidden, her flute

might be Choctaw or Seminole

narrating their trail of tears

through air and sound,

ghostly gifts left to them.

In early memory,

my great grandmother

holds me, her tobacco wad

in cheek, speaking of mean

whiskey, bitter Kentucky winters,

dark jawed mines blasting

coal from her mountain birthplace.

I rolled delighted and fat,

mirrored in her dark, chipped

eyes, reflecting as infants do,

the gray light of creatures

born into this world,

to utter its shrouded sadness

Winner: Andrea Rowland

Andrea was the overall winner with “These Same Fields.” Judge Annie Kim says of her selection: “Life slows down in this lush meditation, allowing us to see and sense more deeply. Through the poet’s keen perception we participate in the mystery at the heart of Nature: changeless being, unending change.”

“These Same Fields”

In the summer, I walk every evening

Between the fields of wheat

And read the light.

Each minute creates a different field,

And as to the wildflowers at the edge,

I’ll never catch up with all their permutations.

A flower comes to life in its moment of light,

Then vanishes among the grasses.

Insects appear as emissaries

From a half-hidden world.

Clouds make up and unmake up their minds and mine.

When the thundering machines of harvest come,

The change they bring is nothing

Compared to the astonishing, silent flow

Of these same fields.


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