Oak Morse of Lawrenceville, Georgia, for his poem ‘Garbage Disposal‘.
Says Judge Renée Sarojini Saklikar:
Everything is working in this fine poem: the six stanzas contain in total 68 well-crafted lines, where form and the longer line work in tandem to please the eye and ear, both sense and syntax engaged. A great title, not too on the nose. There is unity of voice, were the third person is taken up with confidence and consistently employed. Enjambment, where the sense of one line folds over and into another, creating opportunity of double-meaning, is a highlight and a measure of why this poem wins first place: it’s an incanation, precise and yet metaphorically spacious enough that we can read any number of desires within its precise domestic scenario. I think real poetic skill is involved in creating the longer line and then maintaining tension. Here we have concrete verbs and repetition doing the work. Worth re-reading and worth saying aloud. High praise.
‘Garbage Disposal’ will be published in the Autumn 2017 issue of Pulp Literature but in the meantime you can hear some of Oak Morse’s spoken word poetry here.
The two runners up were Leah Komar of Danville, Pennsylvania for ‘Krang‘ and Glenn Pape of Portland, Oregon for ‘Ghost Town‘.
First Runner Up, ‘Krang’: a tough poem, about tough painful relations. Raw, authentic, searing. Unity of voice, in that the speaker of the poem consistently addresses another, “you”, putting the reader in this uncomfortable and compulsively readable situation. We squirm when we go along with the story. Strong visceral language. Packs a punch and then some. Great title.
Second Runner Up, ‘Ghost Town’: Okay, I loved this poem, a kind of film noir meets country and western sturm und drang . Here we have rhyme at the service of both rhythm and longing: the simple line breaks work very well and surprise us with unexpected turns. Precise verbs, precision images, great cadence. This one I’m gonna carry in my pocket. Oh yeah. Great title.
Each of the runners-up receives $50 along with publication in Issue 16.
Huge thanks to our judges Daniel Cowper and Renée Saklikar, who put so much time and care into choosing our shortlist and winners. Here are Renée’s overall comments:
The three winners are to be commended for creating work that pleases the senses, exploring a range of issues, keeping an eye and ear on image and rhythm: there’s music in here, sure, along with plenty of story. Congratulations to all the poets who submitted work. A pleasure to reach each one. Readers will notice that I praise the title of each poem selected: titles, in my opinion, are mystical things, very hard to get right, and each of the poems selected bear titles that are ineffably correct.
Congratulations to our winning poets. We can’t wait to publish these fine poems!