Friday, April 29, 2016

April Poetry Challenge Winners

The April Challenge was to write a poem about poetry or about writing poetry. After I narrowed down the submissions to three finalists, I couldn’t decide which one was the winner. Last week I attended a writers conference. Still uncertain which poem to select, I consulted three other writers whose critiques had impressed me. They did not all agree, so I have decided to declare three winners. I hope you enjoy these three winning poems.


I was one of his lesser experiments
…given the consideration of crumbs.
He delighted in degradation,
his words, twisting with the wind,
…kept pushing the hurt deeper.
So I walked out into the night,
invisible to his eyes.
The stars came out of the darkness
…and sprinkled sorrow.

I climbed over mountains of doubt,
waded through rivers of grief,
explored the depths of my conscience,
…searching for my self.

The long, arduous journey brought me here
and now. So I write        because
words I cannot bring to my mouth
…sometimes come to my pen.

~ Eileen Kimbrough

Poetry a pulse, unseen, that guides us
Past the corners and the slick-faced
Surfaces of so many things:
Poetry?  It's a beautiful
Side-long glance ending in ripples
Wrapped around a tree felled in an
Unexpected storm years ago.
Some things poetry can't let go,
Meter, say, and that beat that makes
You think of the hail that pulsed on
Eaves of the Quick Mart four summers
Past. Poetry keeps the rhythm
Of what you can't let go, it rises
Like sweat from a gentle heat
We barely feel. There, poetry
Is found, often enough, at least,
To keep a poet looking around.

~ Sheila Elliott

About Your Poems

Don't make me climb
a rickety ladder
to the attic to dig
through that old trunk
where you've hidden
your joy and pain.
Don't make me work
to understand you.
Slice the top off my head.
Pour your molten wisdom
into my mind.
Expose me to whistling hate,
force my mouth open
to taste the brittle finality of death.
Wrap the string of earth's cruelty
around my eyes.
Sing to me of snow caverns
and ancient cellos.
Talk of all the lost loves
who walk your dreams.
Hold my hand
and tell it true.

~ Peggy Trojan

These poets own copyright on their poems. Please do not distribute copies without permission.


Eileen Kimbrough is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has produced visual arts in many media and exhibited in art galleries, museums, colleges, and gift shops throughout Illinois. She has been employed as a graphic designer, editorial and fashion illustrator, receptionist, bookkeeper and salesperson.  Eileen has sold many copies of her self-published poetry book, Painting with Words, and contributed the poems and art for Wings for the Soul, published by a non-profit. Her stories and poems were published in Rivulets. She lives in Aurora with her husband, Bob Walker, innumerable books and artistic clutter.

Sheila Elliott is a poet who is an active participant in the workshops, public readings and print publication of the Oak Park Writers Group. A self-published chap book, Autumn Light, was completed in 2015.

Peggy Trojan lives happily in the north woods of Wisconsin where she gardens, writes, and entertains.  Author of two chapbooks, Everyday Love, and HOMEFRONT, Childhood Memories of WWII, and a full collection, Essence.

The May Poetry Challenge will be posted soon.

©  Wilda Morris

Friday, April 22, 2016

January Challenge Winner



After reading the poems submitted after the deadline for the January Poetry Challenge was extended and rereading the earlier submissions, Andrea Witzke Slot selected a winner for the January Poetry Challenge. She said that the winning poem “tackles a difficult subject while moving a specific conceit from the poem “Regret” into a new work very much the poet’s own.”

Here is the poem she selected:


“It is hard to hear when I am turning, turning…”
                   Andrea Witzke Slot

I am turning, turning with the year, turning
into the empty fields crusted with snow,
becoming the man in the photo with black eyes
and bewildered smile turning his face to glass.
There is nothing I understand, not the waves
of memory washing over me or the silent dogs
lying on scattered leaves. I am turning back
to you, shot dead on a rural road in Wisconsin,
ten miles north of Tony, the day after your dogs
were poisoned and you went looking for somewhere
to bury your rage. At your funeral in a town near
Milwaukee, a hundred bikers turned round
your coffin, poured beer and bourbon on your grave.
Four in the afternoon, and already the sun
beginning to sink behind a line of black trees.
Your mother was broken, your father refused to cry.
He turned a fist into his palm again and again, gray
lines of his brows bent in the scowl that for the next
thirty years turned his face to stone. I have skimmed
above the ice of your murder, turning, turning
from your young features chiseled in frost on my
windowpane, recalling how I watched your sister fold
her arms and fly inside herself, turning back to her cocoon.

~ Steve Klepetar

Steve Klepetar retains copyright on this poem.

Bio: Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press) and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press). His new chapbook, The Li Bo Poems, is forthcoming from Flutter Press.

To review the January Challenge, go to

©  Wilda Morris