What an impressive turnout this year! We received such a broad spectrum of poetry this go-round, such an interesting blend of sestinas, free verse, couplets and some that made skilled use of rhyme. As always, I am an apologist for contests; the talent level is great and the funnel is much too small. But maybe in some way, contests challenge us to bring our work to a level that surprises us and win or lose, we are left with that gain. Without further delay, here are the winners and editors’ (myself and co-editor Frederick Wilbur) responses:
First Place: “Appeasement” by John Cullen
**Editors—Beautifully written, this poem had me at “small gods open the doors of larger concerns.” The poem elevates a rural work-filled day to something luminous.
Second Place: “The Sink” by Eric Odynocki.
**Editors—Effectively uses a voice of youthful perspective and playfulness to communicate a point of view, excellent editing and tightly woven.
Third Place: “Arson” by Matt Dhillon.
**Editors—Manages to inhabit a painful place with grace and uses the consistent imagery of fire and flames to carry the fury inside the poem.
“Raking Leaves” by Beth Copeland
**Editors—Skillful rendering of how an ordinary activity becomes a meditation on unanswerable questions, also time and how we spend it.
“Progress Report 50 Years After Reading Black Elk” by William Prindle.
**Editors—Lovely, grounded language that captures how thin the veil is between past and present, modern day and history, nature and man, a reflection of what is always with us, seen or unseen.
“Rain in Dublin” by Gary Beaumier.
**Editors—Poignant . . . the countless ways we say goodbye against a backdrop of a world that does not stop moving . . . how our losses travel along the edges of that world.
I believe that here, surrounded by these blue mountains, in a place that offers writing venues such as the New Dominion Bookshop’s MFA reading series, our very active Virginia Poetry Society, a writing retreat called Porches, and a nonprofit called Writerhouse, we have a unique synergy and a readership that does justice to your fine work.
Congratulations and thanks to all of you who submitted to this year’s contest. Streetlight thrives because of you.
Poetry Editors, Streetlight Magazine
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