WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quatern Winner

One of the great joys of these poetic form challenges is having the ability to see how poets don’t just write a poem that has a certain set of rules, but instead, how they use those rules to their advantage to write something incredible–whether it’s a form poem or not. Such is the case for the quatern.

The quatern challenge ended last night, and it’s been great reading all day for me. I’m happy to report that the winner is Bruce Niedt for his quatern “Purple Heart.” Here’s the poem:

Purple Heart, by Bruce Niedt

I gave away your clothes last week.
A truck rolled up and took six bags
to some forsaken warehouse where
they’d be passed on to people who

cannot afford to buy them new.
I gave away your clothes. Last week
I couldn’t stand the closet full
of coats and dresses, hung like ghosts

and so I yanked them off their racks,
stuffed plastic bags with memories
I gave away. Your clothes, last week,
went to a world that never knew

how fine you were, how beautiful
in that red dress, that silken blouse
some stranger walks the street in now.
I gave away your clothes last week.


I think you’ll agree that this poem is beautiful. But that’s not to say that the decision was easy. There were several great poems, and I think if you go back and check out the remainder of the Top 10 that you’ll find some wonderful examples of the quatern.

Here’s my top 10 quatern list:

  1. “Purple Heart,” by Bruce Niedt
  2. “Guillotine,” by Patricia A. Hawkenson
  3. “We were both young, once,” by Khara H.
  4. “Another round with dad,” by Daniel Ari
  5. “Among the Trees,” by Jane Shlensky
  6. “Heart strings,” by Jay Sizemore
  7. “A Curiosity,” by RJ Clarken
  8. “Summer Sisters,” by Laurie Kolp
  9. “Selah,” by De Jackson
  10. “Innocent as Lambs,” by Taylor Graham

Congratulations to everyone in the Top 10! And thank you to everyone who participated in this challenge! Believe me, there are always more than 10 poems that make my initial short list, and I love reading everything–even the comments you leave each other.

Another challenge should be up before we get into April (and all the poeming that comes with April).


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer and check out my personal blog, My Name Is Not Bob.


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24 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quatern Winner

  1. Tracy Davidson

    Congratulations Bruce, well deserved. I must admit your poem brought a tear to my eye, as it reminded me so much of when I emptied my late mother’s wardrobes last year. You captured the experience beautifully. Very moving.

  2. PKP

    Congratulations Bruce…”Purple Heart” was and is… Exquisite! Cngratulations to all 10 delightfully familiar names. If I had a marching band at the ready everyone wherever they might be would hear the joyous celebration of each remarkable poet with Bruce carried in honor on a purple silk chaise 🙂

  3. Jane Shlensky

    Bruce, this was a powerful poem; you made the form look so easy, natural, and moving in your quatern. I’m glad to be among all you fine poets. Thanks, Robert, and congrats to all.

  4. Ber

    Well done Bruce you deserve it Your poem Purple Heart is lovely and shares a story of importance its like it is saying when something is over for one person its beginning a new with another i love it
    lucky duck 🙂 and well done to everyone else

  5. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Bruce, BIG CONGRATULATIONS! Always a fan of your work, here are the lines I resonate with in your winning entry:

    how fine you were, how beautiful
    in that red dress, that silken blouse
    some stranger walks the street in now.

    Robert, BIG THANKS! for giving my poem a nod in the number 2 spot! Proof to others to KEEP SUBMITTING! Normally, I don’t feel that form poems and I live in the same creative plain, but once attempting this form, I found it more compatible that I expected. This last year has been a physical and emotional struggle, and this moment of recognition is truly uplifting! You should know how proud I ALWAYS am to be a part of ‘The Street!’

    KUDOS to ALL to sumitted poems to this challenge!

  6. De Jackson

    Fantastic poem, Bruce. I love the creative use of the repeating refrain, in particular, and the longing felt throughout.

    I am THRILLED to be on this list, and even more thrilled to say I know and love the work of each and every poet on it. Robert, thank you for this amazing place that has brought us all together.

  7. RJ Clarken

    Wow! Some amazing Quaterns by some amazing poets made this list! Congratulations to you, Bruce, for a wonderful poem – and congrats to the rest of the folks who made the list (and who entered their work too!)

    And thanks, Robert, for including my poem in your list. It’s a great honor. You rock – and these forms challenges rock, too!


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