Saturday, March 28, 2015


Fish and fishing turned out to be popular topics for poets. Evidently I am not the only person with good memories associated with fishing, and not the only person who likes to eat fish!

The judges, Jim Lambert and jacob erin-cilberto, selected four poems – first and second place and a tie for third. I want to thank the judges and congratulate the winners.

Some of the winning poems are fairly concrete; others are more metaphoric. I hope you will enjoy all four poems. Please remember that the poets own the copyright to their poems; do not copy them without permission.


I can sense it a shooting star, 
a glint of stellular motion inspiring 
hope to fools and children, 
a delusion, a misunderstanding 
of what is actual, what is real 
that pierces the sky

It’s like a whisper of leaves 
hanging from massive cottonwood 
trees along the Missouri River, 
investing all year to growing cotton candy 
fluff while gossiping unabashedly 
like hotel maids in the laundry

~ Jessica Lindsley


Today at market on Devon
I bought a small lake trout,
brought it home to grill 
or sauté gently in the skillet
with lemon sliced, and garlic slivered,
an evergreen sprig of parsley
as a garland for my platter.

Now as heat transforms 
the pink translucent flesh into meat
light as air, white as bone,
I give thanks for I will eat
what was yesterday a rainbow
moving through the water,
translating sunlight into matter.

- Gay Guard-Chamberlin

The second place poem is:

The Line

She came to leave
A fishing lure
Firmly embedded in my lip
To wave in the breeze
As if to say
That I was the big one
Who got away

~ Phil Rice

And finally, the first place poem:


I’ve left myself open for love.

I crave the feeling of lightness,
the sudden lift of a heart
that’s traveled on such guarded wings.

I am defenseless:

a splayed flounder
on a bed of ice
in the window of a shanty
in the middle of town.

Love makes you want to take that risk.

~ Susan Mahan

The Winning Poets:

Susan Mahan has been writing poetry since her husband died in 1997. She is a frequent reader at poetry venues and has written four chap book. Her poems have been published in a number of journals and anthologies.

Phil Rice lives and writes in Woodstock, Illinois. He has edited Canopic Jar, a literary arts journal, since 1986.

Gay Guard-Chamberlin is a Chicago-based poet and performer, as well as a visual artist. Gay is currently working on a long-term multi-disciplinary collaborative project called Collage Collage. She is a member of Poets & Patrons and ISPS. Four of her shorter poems are currently featured on Nic Sebastian's website,  

Jessica Lindsley grew up in North Dakota before the oil boom. Her work has been published in the Smoking Pot, Blackwood Press, Thirteen Myna Birds, DEAD SNAKES, cryopoetry and other publications.

The Judges:

Jim Lambert lives with is wife of 50 years and two 31 year-old desert tortoises in Southern Illinois. He has had poetry and short fiction published in several small poetry and fiction magazines. He is a past president of the Southern Illinois Writers Guild and is active in Southern Illinois community theater.

jacob erin-cilberto, originally from Bronx, NY, now resides in Carbondale, Illinois. He currently teaches at John A. Logan and Shawnee Community colleges in Southern Illinois. His work has appeared in numerous small magazines and journals including: Café Review, Skyline Magazine, Hudson View, Wind Journal, Pegasus, Parnassus and others. erin-cilberto also writes reviews of poetry books for Chiron Review, Skyline Review, Birchbrook Press and others. His previous three books an Abstract Waltz, Used Lanterns and Intersection Blues are available through Water Forest Press. His books are also available on Barnes and and as well as Goodreads. erin-cilberto has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in 2006-2007-2008 and again in 2010. He teaches poetry workshops for Heartland Writers Guild, Southern Illinois Writers Guild and Union County Writers Guild.

Check back on April 1 for the April Poetry Challenge. You just might be a winner!

© Wilda Morris