Monday, June 23, 2008

The Poetry Contest Winner is...

Entry #5 - Prayer and Time by Vicki Buchhold

Congratulations, Vicki!!

Our special guest judge, Laura Evans, sent the following e-mail:

Dear Poets:

First I’d like to say I was delighted with the overall quality of the poems submitted for this contest. There were poems which reminded me of the beat of German protestant hymns, poems which had a strong ending, but needed to build a stronger foundation, and simply lovely poems with impeccable rhythms which are quite publishable. However, one of the criteria used in the literary world where poems are made art, is that a poem must stand up to re-reading. Upon each reading something new must catch the reader’s attention: sometimes it will be a surprise ending, or a play on words, or a surprising word choice, or a striking metaphor.

In entry #5, the playing with words begins in the title: “Prayer and Time.” People are used to hearing the words: prayer time. Yet, “prayer and time” made me sit up and take notice. When I read the first three lines of this poem, I thought it was just describing energy and prayer. Upon re-reading I realized at the ending that the entire poem was an actual prayer of the poet. Nice surprise! The poet created a striking image in: “leaves light waves coughing up dust” which will stick with me for a long time. In the fourth to the last line, the poet maximizes the definition of the word “miss.” The line reads: “Time and forgetting, I miss it sometimes.” In the first reading, it seemed like the poet literally misses “time and forgetting.” In a second reading, it can appear as a play on words in that “forgetting” is a kind of “missing.” Upon a third reading it occurred to me what if the poet has made a transition into heaven and misses, or longs for, the earthly process of “time and forgetting?” Such perceptiveness and the poet’s willingness to take such risks far outweigh the slightly out-of-place tone of line 5: “The aimless meandering of a millisecond split.” The juxtaposition of “millisecond split” with “meandering”--which necessitates at least a little bit of time--far more than a “millisecond split” would supply, lends a comedic tone to this line. This is incongruent with the general tone of the poem. However, overall, this poem not only stood up to multiple readings, but gifted me with something new upon each reading. For these reasons entry #5 is the winner. Congratulations!

Tracy here: Thanks, Laura, for the great observations and comments. You've helped us all learn more about poetry. We appreciate your willingness to judge, and invite you to come back for another contest any time! Poets, be sure to check out Laura's awesome Web site!

Now, about our winner - Vicki Buchhold.

Vicki tells us: "I started writing poetry when I was six. I published several pieces and won a couple of awards a few years ago. Then I set it aside to write a novel. Yes, the novel is finished. No, I don't have a publisher. If fiction is the love of my life, then poetry must be my childhood sweetheart."

Vicki entered two poems into the contest - the winning Entry #5 Prayer and Time, and Entry #6 Too Much Religion.

After I post this announcement, I plan to add all the names to the entries, so all you Pixels can see who wrote what. I'll also enable comments again, so feel free to leave your comments about the poems.

I enjoyed this contest a great deal - hope all of you did too!

Later today, I'll be announcing another very different contest for all you fiction lovers, and it's going to be R~E~V~V~E~D up, so come on back to check it out!!

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