BEST OF 2003

BEST OF 2002

BEST OF 2001

BEST OF 2000




2001 Poems of the Year Announcement

Opposable Thumbs are Important
by Angela Armitage
Submitted by MiPo

The Nude
by Eric William
Submitted by

by Mitchell Metz
Submitted by The Melic Review

THE COMMENTARY on several poems from this year’s selection and also on the winning poems:

I admired the power of the speaker's voice and interesting shifts of tone in "Here is a Poem that Speaks of Loss", I have also enjoyed the formal grace of "Insubstantial Air." Likewise, I have admired the strict, formal music of "Resurrection", particularly that poem's last stanza.

In "The Butcher's Daughter", I have found much to like, but especially the poem’s use of image, blending together the mythic and the actual.

I think that "Dear Wilfred" is a strong elegy for Owen and also an powerful address for the flow of our days. But it seems to me that this poem's final strenght--its ending and poise--might also somehow be seen as its ultimate weakness: a reader like myself would want the poem to open up a bit, to play a bit, to consider a wider range of possibilities.

"Sailor, Doctor These Dreams" is a wonderful poem, but to my ear and eye it is a bit over written. I love several stanzas in it very much, however, particularly the two stanzas that begin with: "The butterflies have eaten through the blinds," and end with "Give me a dime."

However, the three poems that caught my final attention--the ones which I feel compelled to recommend as award recipients for this year are: "Opposable Thumbs are Important," "Nude," and "Drizzle".

The voice and imagery of "Opposable Thumbs are Important" is strange and magical. I love how the language turns onto itself opening up many possibilities at once. Here, irony and lyricism and the light touch of the erotic come together in the poem that never fails to surprise. I must notice, however, that the poems ending line never entirely swayed or convinced me. I know it may please or surprise another reader, but the reader like myself needs a few more drops of this lyrical voice to be offered in the poem's ending. Still, I find this poem to be most alive, most unexpected and vigorous from this year’s selection. I think it deserves the First Place.

I love "The Nude" – the study is thorough and contemplative, very beautiful. But a reader like myself would also have liked to see a bit of tightening up through the lines, a bit of play. It is a strong poem, however, and I feel confident awarding it this year’s Second Place (or, if you like, a Honorable Mention/Runner Up).

I admire "Drizzle" for its insatiable rhythm and vivacity. It is a poem that doesn’t hold back and dwell on language too much, while still being very musical and well controlled. I would appreciate a bit more clarity at certain moment, however. It is an interesting poem, though, very musical. I would be pleased if you agree with me in awarding it this year’s Third Place (or, if you prefer, a Honorable Mention/Runner Up).

With gratitude and with all my respect,

Ilya Kaminsky

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