Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 2014 Poetry Challenge Winner

Zinnias (Photo © Jenene Ravesloot)
The October Poetry Challenge was judged by Mary Jo Balistreri, whose poem was used as the prompt this month. She selected "Beautiful Things," by Jenene Ravesloot, who is winner for the second consecutive month.

Beautiful Things

Fresh-cut stiff stemmed zinnias straight from
the garden, dome-shaped yellow zinnias, multi-
colored zinnias, red zinnias with single rows
of petals, zinnias that some call “youth-and-old-
age,” zinnias and reflected sunlight stuck 
in a tall glass vase.

Remnants from the sea: blanched starfish, purple
sea fans, angel wings, broken sand dollars, and
a sectioned nautilus, all tucked into a white
crescent-shaped wall niche.

Vintage cotton pillowcases with cross-stitched
hand embroidered pink roses propped up on
the bed and a matching bureau scarf, stiffly
starched, draped on the maple bureau.

A collection of antique books: antiquarian
embossed leather books with gilt cover boards,
gilt spines, and gold leaf page edges, old poetry
books sitting in a glass bookcase.

Solar prints of Japanese red shield ferns, toothed
wood ferns, and Japanese painted ferns all glowing
like caught ghosts in simple black wood frames.
“Beautiful things, surround yourself with beautiful
things,” grandmother always said.

~ Jenene Ravesloot

Copyright on this poem is retained by Jenene Ravesloot. 

Here is what the judge said about this poem: "I chose 'Beautiful Things' because of the very specific lists, their engaging description that made me want to see them, maybe pick up one of those antiquarian embossed leather books, and all that because her Grandmother had always said, 'Beautiful things, surround yourself with beautiful things.' I loved that she began with zinnias, fresh cut from the garden, something so common we could all bring those inside with us."
Here is Jenene's grandmother who told her "surround yourself with beautiful things." She herself was beautiful, don't you think!
 Photo of Grandmother Opal supplied by Jenene Ravesloot.

Jenene Ravesloot is a member of the Poets’ Club of Chicago, Poets and Patrons of Chicago, 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.

Mary Jo Balistreri has two full books of poetry, Joy in the Morning and gathering the harvest published by Bellowing Ark Press, a chapbook, Best Brothers, published by Tiger's Eye Press. She has recent or forthcoming work in Parabola, Grist, Plainsongs, The Tiger's Eye, Avocet, Crab Creek Review, The Heron's Nest, Acorn, and One Hundred Gourds. She has three pushcart nominations, and two Best of the Net. She was a poetry judge for Arizona Writers Association for two years. Mary Jo is one of the founders of Grace River Poets, an outreach for women's shelters, churches, and schools. Please visit her at maryjobalistreripoet.com.

Check back on November 1st or 2nd for the November Poetry Challenge. It might be your lucky month.

© Wilda Morris