Literary Hook: Poetry and Prose winners announced

Almost 200 entries were submitted to annual Rock River Poetry and Prose Contest

Nearly 200 entries were submitted to this year’s Rock River Poetry and Prose Contest, so deciding the winners was no easy task!

We thank all of you who submitted work. Much of it was excellent, and we wish we could have accepted more for publication in The Rock River Times.

Of course, the first consideration was the power, originality and literary quality of the submission. With so many pieces meeting that criteria, we looked at our readership. What would they find interesting and appealing? How much time would they invest in reading a particular piece to do it justice? The Rock River Times has a circulation of 22,000, is distributed free of charge and is read in coffee shops, picked up in groceries, ice cream parlors and other retail establishments.

For the past 10 years, the contest has been strictly poetry. This year, we added prose, so there was a $100 prize for prose as well as for poetry. We wanted to be as generous as possible, and, ultimately, decided to publish the winner, runner-ups and honorable mentions. Because of the fine work submitted, we decided on 14 honorable mentions instead of the 10 we usually publish.

Following, then, are the winners in both the Prose and Poetry categories:


Winner—George Keithley, “Blue-Eyed Grass” (Chico, Calif.)

First Runner-up—Lisa Paulick, “The Park Bench” (Chicago)


Winner—Nancy Tupper Ling, “What of a Thing Left Undone?” (Walpole, Mass.)

First Runner-up—Gregory Braquet, “Beach Ecology” (Metairie, La.)

Runner-ups—Judith Scheffler, “Getting to Know Peter” (Summit, N.J.); Susan Goldman, “Wild and Wonderful Wildwood New Jersey” (Alexandria, Va.); Phyllis Ann Warady, “Pearl in a Fowl Oyster World” (Grass Valley, Calif.); Allison Joseph, “Love Letter to an Unfamous Musician, or Dear Jason Faulkner” (Carbondale, Ill.); Louis Bourgeois, “Just Another Loser” (University, Miss.); John Fitzpatrick, “I Spoke to the Wind this Afternoon” (Red Hook, N.Y.); Mark Wacome Stevick, “24-Hour Teller” (Gloucester, Mass.); Ryan G. Van Cleave, “Inarticulate Skeletons: After Dali’s…”(Clemson, S.C.); Marion Kaplun Shapiro, “ER, IV, EKG, CAT, BP”; Melissa Wangall, “Lost Memories” (Rockford); Barbara Santucci, “Late February” (Rockford); Karen Gines, “Public Opinion” (Rockford); Benjanim Vogt, “Planting”(Lincoln, Neb.); and Calle Runestad, “Rockford” (Rockford).

All of these will be published throughout the next year in Literary Hook, a weekly column in The Rock River Times, and a copy will be sent to the writers when their piece appears.

Frank Schier, editor and publisher of The Rock River Times, and myself, Christine Swanberg, congratulate all winners.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet who has written several books of poetry.

From the June 21-27, 2006, issue

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