Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 2014 - Winning List Poems


Photo Credit: Karin Addis

Wisconsin poet Janet Leahy picked the winners of the September challenge – a list poem. The first place poem is “Cats” by Jenene Ravesloot.
A feral female cat with bulging pregnant sides,
an old grey tomcat with one torn ear and damaged
voice box that leaves him miming his meows at 6 a.m.,
a tortoiseshell tabby cat with crusted eyelids and runny
nose whose skinny neck still carries a pink leather collar
and the memory of some long ago mistress, a long-haired
once-white odd-eyed Persian cat with matted fur and broken
tail, a striped ginger-colored kitten that balances on
                                                                          the clothesline
and hisses at you before hitting the ground hard and dashing
for the white porcelain soup bowls of milk and dunked pieces
of bread you’ve put out, while your mother stands in the kitchen
behind the Irish lace curtains because she’s afraid of cats
and thinks they’re sneaky.             
You begged and begged to feed these strays every morning
until your mother relented. Then you poured fresh milk into
the soup bowls, your grandmother’s best, and placed them on
the backyard stoop. You loved to watch the cats eat their
as greedily as you would soon eat yours. You loved their white
whiskers and chins dripping with milk, how they neatened
themselves, just like good children. 
~ Jenene Ravesloot 
Janet Leahy’s comments:  Cats of every stripe in this poem—details paint a picture of each one.  Love the story of the poet putting milk in her grandmother’s best white porcelain soup bowls, as her mother stands in the kitchen behind Irish lace curtains. A wonderful memory piece.

Second place goes to “Summer Green” by Peggy Trojan. 
Summer Green           
I relish the green riot of summer. 
Everyman’s greens—
Miles of corn stalks,
tree shaded roads,
hayfields everywhere anxious for mowing.
Black green of spruce with
cones growing seeds.
Shuddering aspens in wind.
Dependable maples,
delicate tamaracks, ferns in shadows,
and grass, of course. 
My garden greens—
Bright asparagus poking through mulch,
dark shiny cucumbers, chard, beans,
peas, spinach and feathery carrots.
Bold fans of rhubarb, whispy dill,
rough potato bushes,
and nameless weeds. 
Special greens—
pale hairless caterpillar,
inch big tree frog.
Iridescence of dragonfly wing,
emerald whir of hummingbird,
four leaf clovers, and frogs by the creek.
Rare visit of wondrous Luna,
and your eyes, inviting mischief,
above your Margarita. 
~ Peggy Trojan 
Janet Leahy’s comments on this poem: The list of summer greens in this poem is fanciful, the language precise and engaging:  hayfields anxious for mowing. Every line works to build the poem. The turn in the last line is a delight, a clever fun ending, the surprise here is well done!

Information about the winners and the September Judge:

Jenene Ravesloot is a member of the Poets’ Club of Chicago, Poets & Patrons, the Illinois State Poetry Society, and Virtual Arts Collective. Her poetry has been published in many journals online and in print. Jenene Ravesloot has published three books of poetry and regularly runs writing workshops at Chicago venues.

Peggy Trojan enjoys life in the north Wisconsin woods where she lives next to a trout stream. Although she had written occasionally throughout her life, she did not submit her poems for publication until she was seventy-seven.  Published in a wide variety of journals and anthologies:  Boston Literary Magazine, Naugatuck River Review, EchoesDust and Fire, Talking Stick, and to her delight, many others. 
Janet Leahy is well-known and admired among Wisconsin poets. She is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, she has two collections of poetry, The Storm, Poems of War, Iraq and Not My Mother’s Classroom.  Her poems have been published in print and online journals including The Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Fox Cry Review, and Verse Wisconsin.  Her work also appears on the web sites such as Your Daily Poem and New Verse News. She has been a featured poetry reader at venues in Wisconsin and Chicago. 
The poets retain copyright on their own poems. 
Check back soon for the October Poetry Challenge.
© Wilda Morris