Winning Writers and Tom Howard Books are pleased to announce the results from the tenth annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest. Jacie Ragan of Hannibal, Missouri won first prize and $3,000 for her poem "In the Shadow of the Condor". Hundreds of entries were received from around the world.
Ragan's sequence of a dozen sonnets pays elaborate tribute to the vanished world of the Incas. Absorbed in the rhythms of the seasons and their often-bloody rituals, these vital, earthy people seem to exist in an eternal present. Yet the final section suddenly returns us to contemporary times: no trace remains of this colorful empire, and only the condors soar above Machu Picchu much as they did hundreds of years earlier.
Nicole Grace of Santa Fe, New Mexico and Gail Walsh of Cohasset, Massachusetts tied for second place, with both poets receiving the full prize amount of $1,000. Rich in nature imagery, Grace's poem "Illusion" segues from a hummingbird's fascination with Christmas lights to a meditation on our own limited perceptions.
Walsh's heart-rending "The Play Has Closed" exposes a darker sort of illusion, using the extended metaphor of a dramatic performance to depict the burden of living with an alcoholic.
Helen Leslie Sokolsky of New York, New York won third prize and $400 for Helen Leslie Sokolsky" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" href="http://winningwriters.com/contests/tompoetry/2012/tp12_sokolsky.php">"The Coat", an absorbing and surprising narrative about the aftermath of a near-fatal accident. Vernon K. Waring of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania won fourth prize and $250 for "Not a Poem", a sardonic compendium of poetic cliches that the author is determined not to write about. Special to this year, a $250 prize for best humorous poem went to ShErwin Kaufman of New York, New York for Erwin Kaufman" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" href="http://winningwriters.com/contests/tompoetry/2012/tp12_kaufman.php">"Child's Play", his light verse about a literary prodigy.