Friday, August 18, 2017

August 2017 Poetry Challenge Winners

Book Spine Poem (and image) by Dinah Berland

Congratulations to Dinah Berland for submitting the winning Book Spine Poem, shown above. The poem is well-constructed and very timely. Dinah blames her puppy (who also likes book spines) for obfuscating the first name of the author of Between Two Stones, Joshua Weitz. But of course, the author's names are not part of the poem.

Congratulations, also, to Carole Mertz, author of the winning Book Title Poem. Read the poem once just as a poem. Read it again to see how many book titles you can pick out (she used fourteen). Then scroll down to check the list, which appears at the end of this blog post.

That this Blue Exists… 

I take up a spool of blue thread
determined to thread my way 
through the amateur marriage 
toward a formidable dinner

at the Homesick Restaurant.
Together we’ll be digging to
America; bluets will help us
with our breathing lessons and

the empathy exams
in order to arrive, perhaps, 
at Saint Maybe, the place where  
she’ll chant her usual and 

clumsy beginner’s goodbye.
We’ll continue searching 
for Caleb, through the gap 
of time, trying to tie together 

the sleeper and the spindle.
Together we’ll navigate a 
patchwork planet, searching
for a distant view of 


~ Carole Mertz

Winning poets retain copyright to their poems. Please do not copy them without permission.

Thank you to Kathy Lohrum Cotton for judging the August Poetry Challenge.

Dinah Berland’s poems have appeared in The Antioch ReviewThe Iowa ReviewMargieNew LettersOnePloughshares,  and Third Coast, among other journals, and are anthologized in Verse and Universe: Poems about Science and Mathematics and So Luminous the Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets. She received her MFA in creative writing at Warren Wilson College, was formerly senior editor at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and recently served as Writer in Residence at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, California.
Carole Mertz writes self-prompted poems but also enjoys unusual external prompts. She reads Tyler’s novels and did a writer’s course this summer based on Jamison’s The Empathy Exams. McCall Smith is an old favorite, though she’s heard The Really Terrible Orchestra only once. Mertz’s recent poems are in Voices de la Luna, The Write Place at the Write Time, and Voices on the Wind.

Book titles used in the poem, “That This Blue Exists”:
Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, The Amateur Marriage, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Digging to America, Breathing Lessons, Saint Maybe, The Beginner’s Goodbye, Searching for Caleb, and A Patchwork Planet.
Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time
McCall Smith’s A Distant View of Everything
Neil Gaimon’s The Sleeper and the Spindle
Leslie Jamison’s Empathy Exams
Poet Maggie Nelson’s Bluets

© Wilda Morris