2019 Annual Poetry Contest Results

First Prize, $500: Roy Bentley

“Luis Sarria, Muhammed Ali’s Longtime Cut Man, Prepares the Boxer’s Face for a Workout in Deer Lake in 1978”

This poem, ekphrastic from a photo, exceeds the mere description typical of ekphrastic poems by seeing the photo from the inside out. The poet uses a capacious Whitmanesque line to focus tightly on an intimate relationship of healer and warrior. These men do not speak, but the cut-man’s fingers feel their way into the hard history of Ali and all black Americans. This tight shot then brings the two out on the road into a country fighting for and against civil rights. The poet has researched the physical things in the photo and through concrete specificity has used them precisely to meld history and human particularity. I was moved by the poem, and thought of Ali with warmth. I was in Vietnam the year Ali refused to serve, and saw the effect of this on the black marines I was deployed with. By a few images the poet has not only sharply depicted the two men, but opened up the world around them and its history.

Second Prize, $200: Richard Cummins,  “Carpe Diem”

I like very much this father’s observation of his daughter as the family trio drives through a landscape. The father’s language of memory and time are counterpoint to the child’s joyful naming of things. The father knows the snow is coming; the daughter’s acquisition of language is immediate. The child’s grasping for language recapitulates the poet’s incessant choosing of the best words. The poet says, “Love tells me that we three close our eyes/and create the world each time we open them again, that there is nothing but now, nowhere but here.” This line is a demonstration of Coleridge’s argument that the poet creates the world as if for the first time.

Third Prize, $100: Terry Bodine, “Hitting the Bottle”

This poem is in one sense a struggle with alcohol but in another, just getting through life with its “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” The bruises are not only the broken blood vessels beneath the skin but life’s heartaches. Childhood is woven with the present. “We’re as likely to remember a story we’re told/as we are the story we lived.” Memory revises, innocence is bruised with experience. There is a need for a mother to wipe away tears but there is also a sense the speaker will survive and recover. “When I lie down in beds of guttered leaves/I’m still able to stand back up.”

Honorable Mentions (alphabetical order by poem title)

“After Slaying the Dragons”—Jonathan Greenhause

“Annunciation on Rue Saint-Urbain”—James Crews

“Between A Mother and a Son”—Candice Kelsey

“Mythomania”—Howie Faerstein

“Over”—Tom Paine

“Post Impressionism”—Kathleen Holliday

“They Watched”—LQ McDonald III

“Thirteen Truths”—Michele Randall

“To the Brink”—Linda Haltmaier

“Transition Period”—Bill Glose

We’d like to thank the judge, Doug Anderson, and everyone who entered.  We read many wonderful poems, and we’re hoping to find room for some of them in the Spring/Summer issue, so if your name is not on the list above, you may still be getting an acceptance from us after July 4th.  And Happy July 4th!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST PRIZE $500     SECOND PRIZE $200    THIRD PRIZE $100

Send 1-3 poems* by March 31, 2019 using this link: Poetry Contest 

$15 fee.

This year’s judge will be DOUG ANDERSON, author of the poetry collections The Moon Reflected Fire (1994, and winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award), and Blues for Unemployed Secret Police (2000). In 2009 he published his memoir, Keep Your Head Down: Vietnam, the Sixties, and a Journey of Self-Discovery. His most recent book is Horse Medicine (Barrow Street Press, 2015).

 

Doug Anderson

 

Each poem should be less than 61 lines.  If you are sending poems snail-mail, send them to Janet Bowdan, Editor, Common Ground Review, H-5132, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield, MA 01119.  Postmark must be by March 31st.  The $15 check should be made out to “Western New England University.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are thrilled to announce the winners chosen by Amy Dryansky in our 2018 Poetry Contest!

(fanfare & drum roll, please)

 

1st Prize, $500:  Jari Chevalier, “In the Bird Sanctuary”                                                  

2nd Prize, $200: John Sibley Williams, “Cosmology”  

3rd Prize, $100: Elton Glaser, “Under Capricorn”                                                         

And our Honorable Mentions:

C. Wade Bentley, “What You Came For”

Lisa Desrochers-Short, “Yellow Woodsorrel”  

William Greenfield, “I Would Like to Be Someone’s Guardian”  

Jonathan Greenhouse, “Defenseless”

Kevin Griffin, “Always”

Janet MacFadyen, “Feast”                                                                            

Beth Paulson, “In the Museum”

It was a great pleasure to read the poems submitted to this competition. I found much to admire, and selecting the top three was challenging.  Because this is a contest, however, I did choose, but can honestly say that the top three are all “winners” in their own right––number three could easily have switched place with one, number two for three, and so on.

To me, this is by no means a bad thing, but instead speaks to a variety and flexibility in poetry that can and should be celebrated. What I love about these poems is how each takes a different approach to their subject, and stands out in its own way:
Cosmology” offers up tightly constructed syntax and line breaks that underscore a tense domestic moonscape. “Under Capricorn“’s sculptural couplets precisely capture a flickering constellation (and stage of life).  And “In the Bird Sanctuary” uses playful form and diction to great effect, as an illuminating contrast to a serious human condition.
 
The one aspect that all three of these poems share is the element of surprise. In each, I came across fresh language and imagery, interesting ideas and perspectives; poetic devices that made me look, and look again. In looking, I saw something that changed what I knew about a piece of the world. Something new was revealed.
So, congratulations, poets, on this fine work. And thank you, for teaching me some of what you know.
                                                                        –Amy Dryansky
Many thanks to everyone who entered the contest!

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Amy Dryansky will be judging the 2018 Annual Poetry Contest.

First Prize is $500 and publication in the Spring/Summer issue.

Second Prize is $200 and publication; Third Prize is $100 and publication.

Honorable Mentions will also be published.

Fee: $15.

The 2018 Poetry Contest will be open for submissions via our Submission page from January 17 to March 20th.  You can send poems snail mail to us at Common Ground Review, Box H-5132, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield, MA  01119.

What should you send?  Up to 3 poems, each no more than 60 lines, and a check for $15 made out to Western New England University.

The contest closes March 20th.

amy_dryansky--2Amy Dryansky is author of Grass Whistle, winner of the 2014 Massachusetts Book Award for poetry, and How I Got Lost So Close to Home, winner of the New England/New York Award.

For more information on Amy Dryansky, please see our blog.  For more information on contest guidelines, or to submit poems to the contest, please see our Submissions page.

 

2017 Poetry Contest Results

We are very pleased to present the winners of this year’s poetry contest, judged by Patrick Donnelly, with his comments on the prize-winning poems:

1st PlaceElton Glaser, “The Fifties, from the Back Row” $500

“This poem delighted me with the assured way it talks, with its wit, its long and sensually specific memory, and its deep understanding of how public and private cultures exist in contradiction.”

2nd PlaceJanet Reed, “Toughs: A Pantoum to the Third-Grade” $200

“Read aloud, this poem has a gorgeous mouth-feel, seeming to channel Gerald Manley Hopkins’ way of making strong, sharp music with words and syntax, as it describes the serious awfulness of childhood.”

3rd PlaceCharles Atkinson, “Less”  $100

“This poem touched me very much with its intimate, painful account of one person caring for another whose body is failing. The speaker’s gaze is steady, tender, alert to the human poetry of the encounter.”

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Roberta Marggraff, “Arcade”

Allen Tullos, “The Dream of Calibration”

Anna Mullen, “Oshodi Birds”

Matthew Spireng, “Haunted”

Our thanks to everyone who entered, and our congratulations to the winners!  Their poems will be in our Spring/Summer issue, coming out soon.  If you would like a copy, send us a check for $10 made out to “Western New England University,” and addressed to Janet Bowdan, Common Ground Review, Box 5132, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield, MA  01119.  Mention this post, and we will pay the cost of mailing it.

 

Patrick Donnelly will be judging our 2017 Poetry Contest.
Patrick Donnelly will be judging our 2017 Poetry Contest.

First Prize is $500 and publication in the Spring/Summer issue.

Second Prize is $200 and publication; Third Prize is $100 and publication.

Honorable Mentions will also be published.

The 2017 Poetry Contest will be open for submissions via Submittable on December 24th–first night of Chanukah AND Christmas Eve–or you can send poems snail mail to us at Common Ground Review, Box H-5132, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield, MA  01119.

What should you send?  Up to 3 poems, each no more than 61 lines, and a check for $15 made out to Western New England University.

The contest closes on March 1st, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to our 2016 contest winners!

1st-place-ribbon

First prize $500:
“Listen up, girl” by Meghan DePeau
Second prize $200:
“Paying Tribute” by Neal Whitman
Third prize $100:
“(on the telephone)” by Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Of Meghan DePeau’s “Listen up, girl,” Stephanie Lenox said, “There were many poems in this batch about the parent/child relationship, but this one really called my attention with its insistent and unapologetic voice.”

Of Neal Whitman’s “Paying Tribute,” Stephanie Lenox said, “This poem kept shifting as I read it. The strange ways the line breaks and words changed meaning as I read drew me to this poem.”

And of Marian Kaplun Shapiro’s “(on the telephone),” Stephanie Lenox said,  “I love a good prose poem, and the language-play in this one makes me happy.”

We would like to thank everyone who sent their poems for this year’s contest, and we hope to see your work again next year!

 

Annual Poetry Contest:

$500 First – $200 Second – $100 Third Prizes 

and publication in Common Ground Review

2017 Contest Judge to be announced.  Contest will open in January 2017.

You can now submit your contest poems via the Submittable link on our Submissions page!  All the details are available there.

If you want to mail your contest poems, send 1-3 unpublished poems under 61 lines, a brief biography, SASE and a $15 check made out to Western New England University.  Please write “CGR Contest” in the memo section of the check, and mail the submissions by March 15th to:

Janet Bowdan, Editor
Common Ground Review H-5132
Western New England University
1215 Wilbraham Rd.
Springfield, MA 01119

Please include contact information (name, address, email and phone number) on a cover sheet with a list of poem titles, but not on the poems themselves.

We do NOT accept simultaneous submissions for the contest.

Enclose SASE for a list of winners and honorable mentions.

Honorable mentions will be published.


Congratulations to our 2015 contest winners!

First prize $500:
“Good Work” by  Matthew J. Spireng
Second prize $200:
“Each Life Converges to Some Centre” by Beth Paulson
Third prize $100:
“I Walk in the Gentle Wood” by Diana Wolfe Larkin

We would like to thank everyone who sent their poems for this year’s contest, and we hope to see your work again next year!

The judge for the 2015 poetry contest was Nicole Terez Dutton