The Rock River Times is pleased to present the winner and runner-up in poetry in this years contest.
Nancy Tupper Ling, first-prize winner, is from Walpole, Mass. In her bio, she states: Recently, I was selected by the Writers Digest as their Grand Prize winner in their 2005 Writing Competition. My first book, Laughter in My Tent: A Womans Search for Family, was published by Steppingstones Publishers. Other publication credits include: Connecticut River Review, Re)verb, Many Mountains Moving, Mid-American Poetry Review and Rambunctious Review (Chicago).
We admired her poem, What of a Thing Left Undone? because it succinctly captured what many of us have felt. We, as busy people, often forget to do the most important and compassionate thing. We also enjoyed the beauty of the lines, the precise wording, and care with poetic language.
Here is the winning poem:
What of a Thing Left Undone?
I did everything on my list:
seed for feeder.
Once my cousin was busy,
to her cabinets,
names and numbers to call.
That was before
her ovaries grew fat
and full of cancer,
her frame folding onto itself,
before her body refused
the chicken soup,
the IV dripweakened
by the toil and tussle of it all.
I hunted for psalms and hymns,
for the pain,
hers and mine.
And what did I fear?
Talk of seedlings
lining her windowsill,
awaiting a gardener;
the clear, refined voice,
defying the thing
that wanted it silenced?
After the news,
I phoned him,
the one left behind,
I never called Marilyn.
This years runner-up is Beach Ecology by Gregory P. Braquet. His bio states the following:
Greg Braquet lives in New Orleans, but like most poets lives in a world of his own schmoosing. His poetry has appeared in such publications as The New Laurel Review, THEMA, The Tap Root Review, Lucid Stone, Desire Street, Poetry Life & Times, The Breath Magazine, Red River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Pierian Springs, Tryst, Side Reality, The Adagio Verse Quarterly, The Little Green Tricycle, The Junket, Tin Lustre, LIntrigue, Branches Quarterly, Stylus Poetry Journal, Subtle Tea and The Exquisite Corpse, Slow Trains, and The Melic Review. He was a recipient of the Delirium Journals 2003 Choice Award, and placed third in the 2005 Eugene Walter Writers Festival. He was also the Featured Poet in a past issue of The Hiss Quarterly.
We especially admired his poem for its whimsical turn-about at the end of the poem, as well as his precisely sculpted tercet stanzas. We enjoyed the language and candor of his voice as well.
Here is the runner-up:
Watching sand pour from an
abandoned beer can,
oranged by the sun and the
apathy of its former owner
I am struck by the irony
and back sided awe fueling
this concave moment,
till squawking from a gawking,
half-breed cousin to a pelican,
rouses me from my self-absorbed blur.
Im no metaphor, just a hindrance
to her eye-on-a-meal existence;
yet, I have no doubt she can
distinguish between landscape and
debris, between the natural and the
unnatural, and it would never occur
to her bird brain to toss imagery
over a sore and call it inspiration.
These are indeed good poems to enjoy and savor.
Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet who has written several books of poetry and formerly wrote a column called The Writers Garret for this newspaper.
From the July 5-11, 2006, issue