|Photo by Wilda Morris|
Award-winning Minnesota poet LeRoy Sorenson judged the October poetry challenge, focused on “books.” There were a number of excellent poems. Some poets talked about books in general; others zeroed in on one book that influenced lives. Here is the winning poem:
PS 3558 .E85 B76 1988
years your book has rested
on its narrow wedge of metal shelf,
negligible in dimensions, unread,
seemingly untouched, since one
of our quite methodical librarians
pasted in its bar code, Dewey Decimal
number, the blank Due Date slip
stamped for the first time this day,
this morning, when I cracked it open
and the words of poems exploded worlds
of geese and redwings, a snake,
and billions of grassblades. Pages
blossomed for the first time before
my eyes breathing me alive in time.
~ Karla Linn Merrifield
This poem was originally published in To Honor a Teacher, Andrew McMeel Publishing, 1999 (editor Jeff Spoden; reprinted in Redactions: Poetry and Poetics, October 2020).
The judge says, “This poem crackles with energy and the excitement awaiting the reader when he/she opens its pages. The poem is concise and filled with enough detail to propel the poem to its end and the book's powerful effect on the reader.”
Congratulations to Karla Linn Merrifield for winning another Poetry Challenge. You can see her previous winning poems at http://wildamorris.blogspot.com/2019/08/august-2019-poetry-challenge-winners.html (on the theme of return) and http://wildamorris.blogspot.com/2017/05/may-2017-poetry-challenge-winners.html (on the theme of immigrants/immigration).
Honorable mentions went to Shelly Blankman for “The Bad Penny,” and to Mark A. Fisher for “summer reading.”
Congratulations to Karla, Shelly and Mark, and a big thank you to LeRoy.
Check back on November 1 for a new Poetry Challenge.
Shelly Blankman lives in Columbia, Maryland, where her husband and she have filled their empty nest with three rescue cats and a moppy mutt. Their sons, Richard and Joshua, flew the coop some years ago -- one to New York and the other to Texas. Following careers in journalism, public relations, and copy editing, she now spends time writing poetry, scrapbooking, making cards, and of cours, refereeing animals. Shelly's poetry has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Poetry Super Highway, and Blue Heron Review, among other publications. As a surprise, Richard and Joshua published her first book of poetry, Pumpkinhead.
Mark A. Fisher is a writer, poet, and playwright living in Tehachapi, CA. His poetry has appeared in: Silver Blade, Penumbra, Young Ravens Literary Review, and many other places. His poem “there are fossils” (originally published in Silver Blade) came in second in the 2020 Dwarf Stars Speculative Poetry Competition.
Karla Linn Merrifield has had 900+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 14 books to her credit. Following her 2018 Psyche’s Scroll (Poetry Box Select) is the full-length book Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North from Cirque Press. She is currently at work on a poetry collection, My Body the Guitar, inspired by famous guitarists and their guitars; the book is slated to be published in December 2021 by Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY). Web site: https://www.karlalinnmerrifield.org/; blog at https://karlalinnmerrifeld.wordpress.com/; Tweet @LinnMerrifiel; Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/karlalinn.merrifield.
LeRoy N. Sorenson is the author of two poetry collections: Forty Miles North of Nowhere and Railman’s Son. He won The Tishman Review 2019 Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize for Poetry. His work has appeared or will appear in The American Journal of Poetry, the Atlanta Review, The Cider Press Review, Crab Orchard Review, Comstock Review, Nimrod, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and other journals. He lives in St. Paul, MN.
© Wilda Morris