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Winning Poems for January 2008
Judge Fleda Brown

First Place
The Bottle Tree
by Allen M. Weber
Desert Moon Review

A child's experience, in the child's voice, of being allowed to join in a lynching--the subject could easily turn cliched, but this poem manages to keep a hard light on the memory--the sour bile, the bottles in the tree. The scene comes vividly alive. The martin's nest, full of eggs, just above the head of the child throwing up witnessing the horror--is a brilliant focus for the poem. It's the martin's nest and the skillful control of rhythm that charms me, here. --Fleda Brown

Second Place
Goose Step
by Lois P. Jones
Pen Shells

A tightly controlled, dense poem that in its language evokes the goose-step itself. I like the way this poem moves from the image of marching (under the fluorescent light, scarier still!) to all the ramifications of the love affair, from flamenco dancing, to wild sex, to the study of gravestones--all at the emotional pitch that the word Nazi implies. "She finds him aesthetic" says everything we need to know about their relationship, and about what can drive people into inhuman behavior. --Felda Brown

Third Place
The Cardiologist Has a Word with Us
by Yolanda Calderon-Horn
The Town

I like the way this poem slips up on the sorrow, embedding it in the details before we understand its source. The Radio Flyer, the neighbor shifting dust/ to the street, the coworkers "pigging up their darling lives"--the images skillfully keep us one step away from the actual event, the one that matters. The poem stands in its length and its quatrains as testament to Emily Dickinson's poem that begins, "After great pain, a formal feeling comes." I am particularly fond of "The Cardiologist..."s last two lines, the way the poem ends with "cooled clay." --Felda Brown

Honorable Mention
Come Back to the Raft Ag'in, Huck Honey!
by Guy Kettelhack
Desert Moon Review

Honorable Mention
Red Cap
by Sarah J. Sloat
Wild Poetry Forum

Winning Poems

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