Poetry Contest Winners 2022 by Sharon Ackerman

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.

Honorable Mentions:

“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.

Sharon Ackerman
Frederick Wilbur
Poetry Editors, Streetlight Magazine

seven autumn leaves hung on a wire
5ihz5whosqe-chris-lawton by Tuxedo Joe. CC license.

Sharon Ackerman
Sharon Ackerman is poetry editor for Streetlight Magazine. Her poems have appeared in the Atlanta Review, Coal Hill Review, Cumberland River Review and various others. She is the winner of the Hippocrates Poetry in Medicine contest, London 2019. Her poetry collection, Revised Light, is available through Main Street Rag Publishing.


Frederick Wilbur
Frederick Wilbur received his BA from the University of Virginia and an MA from the University of Vermont. He has authored three books on architectural and decorative woodcarving. His two poetry collections are As Pus Floats the Splinter Out and Conjugation of Perhaps. His work has appeared in many print and on-line reviews including Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, The Comstock Review, The Dalhousie Review, Rise Up Review, and Mojave River Review. He was awarded the Stephen Meats Award by Midwest Quarterly (2017).

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