Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 2018 Poetry Challenge Winners

Edgar Degas, “Woman Ironing.” oil on canvas, begun c. 1876, completed c. 1887. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

The theme of the November Challenge is “There are chores to be done.” The judge, Camille Balla, read the submissions and selected the following poem as the winner:

Reckoning at the Ironing Board

Red and purple veins marble
my mother’s legs,
her feet swell with fluid.

The measuring cup filled
with water rests
on the ironing board that waits

for the moment when she begins.
She stands to press wrinkles out,
press creases in his khakis,

to smooth the collars
of the button-up shirts
in his well-appointed closet.

Back and forth
her practiced arm glides.
She sets the iron upright,

slips the shirtfront
over the end of the board—
back and forth,

back and forth.
She fills the reservoir
and bends to the basket.

Still a pile unironed.
A shrug of her shoulders
as the iron tips forward.

Her eyes steal away
as steam rises from cotton.

~ Gail Goepfert

This poem was published March, 2013 at YourDailyPoem. Gail Gopfert owns the copyright.

About the poem: Balla says that the poem is well-structured. It begins with a strong image that pulls the reader into the poem. There are other excellent images also. She liked the contrast between ironing out wrinkles and ironing in creases. The verbs are active.

Balla said, “I like the back and forth rhythm shown in the steady moving-along stanzas.”
She thinks the poem does a good job of picturing how things often have been for women, especially in earlier generations. The ending brings the reader back to the title: What does the woman see with her mind’s eye? What is she reckoning?

Gail Goepfert is an ardent poet, photographer, teacher and traveler. She's an associate editor of RHINO Poetry and teaches classes online at National Louis University.  She authored a chapbook, A Mind on Pain, released by Finishing Line Press early in 2015.  A book, Tapping Roots, from Aldrich Press will be published in early 2018, and a second book will make its way into the world in 2019, published by Cervena Barva Press. Publication credits include Blue Lyra, Crab Orchard and Jet Fuel Reviews, Minerva Rising, Room Magazine and Rattle. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize a number of times. She lives, writes, and snaps photos in the Chicagoland area. 

Camille A. Balla, resides in a western suburb of Chicago where several of her poems have been inspired from the view outside her window or from her walks along the trails. Many of her poems have appeared in local and national publications, some of which have been published as greeting cards and gift items. In 2010, Camille published Simple Awakenings, a chapbook of poetry that lifts the ordinary into a delightful experience.

Thank you to everyone who entered the November Poetry Challenge. Look for a new challenge on December 1.

© Wilda Morris