For once, I’ve been able to stick with my July 4th goal for announcing the April Poem-A-Day Challenge. I’m so glad, because the poems I read were great.
Before I start announcing winners, I just want to thank everyone for participating (even if you didn’t submit your poems). Every year, it amazes me how many people participate, how helpful everyone is to each other, and how much fun we have. The April and November challenges are highlights of my year.
Sooooooo…about those results, this year I did something a little different. For the first time ever, as far as I can recall, I’ve not only picked a Top 50, but I’ve also ranked it. However, there’s something you should consider if you didn’t make the list.
The biggest mistake someone could make is to get down on themselves if they’re not in the Top 50. I received more than 200 submissions and more than 1,000 poems. I think it’s safe to say that more than 5,000 poems were written in response to the prompts throughout the month. So making the Top 50 is a great accomplishment, but not making the Top 50 is not a great failure. It would not surprise me if poems that don’t make the Top 50 still go on to get published.
Here’s the Top 50:
- The Hole in the World Starts Here, by Lynn Shaffer
- Postcard from the Ex, by Bruce Niedt
- Last Speaker, by Joseph Harker
- Leave Me Alone, Anne Sexton, by Melissa Bellotti
- Mid-Day Crisis, by Jay Sizemore
- Quitting, by Pamela Winters
- Like Any Good Wife, by Andrea Beltran
- Soldier’s Garden, by Richard Fenwick
- Follow the Leader, byNancyPosey
- A World Without Eyes, by Bartholomew Barker
- Cityscape in Winter, by Margaret Fieland
- Night Clerk, by Buddah Moskowitz
- Greetings From Motel 6, by Linda Simoni-Wastila
- Eclipsed, by Joey Tomlinson
- Unsnapped, by Jane Shlensky
- The Sky Is Falling, by Jerry Walraven
- The Father, by Richard Walker
- Exile, by Daniel Romo
- Eighty-Sixth Floor, by Joseph Harker
- The Five O’Clock Girl, by Shann Palmer
- Tequila, by Marie Elena
- It’s None of Your Business, by Catherine Lee
- What Brought You Here, by Laurie Granieri
- Like a Poet, by Amanda M. Holt
- Falling Dreams, by Uma Gowrishankar
- The OCD Neighbor, by Kendall A. Bell
- Don’t be afraid, just let go, by Kathy Uyen Nguyen
- Blackbird, by Sarah Edgington
- Mother–1934, by Eve Brackenbury
- her nose, sharp as an eagle’s beak, by Sarah Bartlett
- Searching, by Rachel Gurevich
- The Kissing Tree, by Linda Simoni-Wastila
- Dreamcatcher, by Daniel Romo
- Snapshot of my daughter, by Jerry Walraven
- The world without his genius, by Andrew Kreider
- Between Chair Cushions, by Katie Dixon
- In Men We Trust, by Glenn Cassidy
- Ode to Women, by Yoly
- Don’t Tell Tavern, About 2 AM, by Brian Slusher
- Indian coffee, by Dheepikaa Balasubramanian
- The Window, by Laura Johnson
- To the Boy Blowing Dandelions, by Amanda M. Holt
- Like Hungry Sheep, by Kit Cooley
- Emptying, by Jane Shlensky
- Transfiguration refigured, by Robin Morris
- Greedy, by Maxie Steer
- Ask, Seek, and Knock, by Connie Peters
- Beautiful Babies, by Marcia Gaye
- Big Picture, by Gay Harper
- The Man of Sorrows in the 21st Century, by Gretchen Gersh Whitman
Congratulations to everyone in the Top 50!
And congratulations to everyone who completed the challenge!
But there’s also the small matter of naming the 2011 Poet Laureate of the Poetic Asides blog…
This is always an even more difficult decision than singling out poems, because I’m actually singling out one person to represent the entire community for the next year. The first three poet laureates have been excellent, and I’m confident that this year’s Poet Laureate will be very good as well.
The 2011 Poet Laureate of Poetic Asides is Joseph Harker!
As you’ll notice, two of Harker’s poems made the Top 50, but he’s also a great supporter of other poets on the blog. I remember reading “Last Speaker” during the month of April, and it doesn’t surprise me that it was one of the top poems for the month.
Here’s the poem:
Last Speaker, by Joseph Harker
We know she is probably a wizened old apple woman, with
two teeth protruding from gums that have seen a lifetime of
betel nut, or manioc, or palm wine. She probably lives
in a part of Africa that was left in the oven too long, that is
clinging to the pan. Or maybe India, behind a hill behind
another hill; or South America, where Brazil and Peru are
conjoined by their Amazonian headwaters. We know
she will be dead soon, never having seen the soft red LED
winking RECORD in the camera, or the microphone
dangled before her face like a baton. She is just one alveolus
tucked into some godforsaken corner of the world. But still
she takes in the surface of the planet, mixes it in her head,
sends back culture. Unknown words tumbled from her tongue:
a wellspring storm. Her ghost follows, three respectful steps,
accusing us with curses we can’t decline, prayers we don’t
understand. She sees the planet and gives it a name,
gives all its leaf-and-water parts an idea they never had
before. Unwritten encyclopedia, collection of all stories
printed on the inside of a skull. Maybe she doesn’t sing them
loud enough. Nobody else is looking for her.
I’m happy that you’ll be representing Poetic Asides for the next year.
If I’ve misspelled anyone’s name or the name of their poems, please contact me. I admit that I’m as prone to making mistakes as anyone. You can let me know on here in the comments or by sending me an e-mail.
One last time, I want to thank everyone for making the 2011 April PAD Challenge so much fun! I’m really looking forward to next year, which will be the 5th anniversary, but first, we have a PAD Chapbook Challenge coming up in November. I hope to see everyone here for that on November 1.
Also, don’t forget to submit some poems for the 2013 Poet’s Market. Click here to read the submission guidelines.
Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer
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