WD Poetic Form Challenge: Lai Winner

I had some reservations about attacking the lai, because of the short lines and repetitive rhymes. I was worried the poems might be too stilted, but as usual, I was pleasantly surprised by the variation of topics and tactics for wrangling with this nine-line French form. Great job to everyone who participated!

As usual, picking a winner was a real battle, but I’m happy with the result. I think “Left,” by Amy Glamos, provides some interesting ambiguity that left me wondering as much about what wasn’t said as what was. Plus, I just love the “sharply bladed” rhyme. Excellent piece.

Left, by Amy Glamos

Your note has faded,
the cursive shaded
dull grey;
words sharply bladed,
but still I waited
that day;
can’t help the jaded
thoughts that pervaded
foul play.


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Congratulations to Amy for claiming the top spot, but every poem that made the top 10 (and quite a few that didn’t) is a great read.

Here’s the top 10 list:

  1. Left, by Amy Glamos
  2. Drive-thru Life, by Bruce Niedt
  3. Limited Application, by Jane Shlensky
  4. Kermit and the Pig, by Joseph Phillip Walters (Jeep Walters)
  5. Summer-Camper, by Taylor Graham
  6. Trapped, by Tracy Davidson
  7. Moonrise Due East, by Daniel Ari
  8. Rusty Rails, by William Preston
  9. Indiscretions, by Walt Wojtanik
  10. Love Unanswered, by Marie Elena Good

Congratulations to everyone who made the Top 10 list!

And thank you to everyone who wrote and shared their lais. I read through every poem at least once to make a short list. Then, I go through the short list several times to whittle it down to the top 10. Click here to read them all.

Also, check out the current challenge for the somonka. Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a poet still struggling to write a satisfactory lai (don’t worry: it’ll come). He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53), a collection of poems that contains no lais, though it does have a former monotetra with the refrain removed. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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14 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Lai Winner

  1. Marie Elena

    Ohmigosh … what a THRILL!! Feels wonderful to be back in the Top 10 again. Congratulations to all who made the final cut. It’s humbling to find myself in such amazing company. Wow…

    Amy, your work is truly outstanding, and becomes more so with each month that passes. I loved “Left” so much that I went back to read it several times. Congratulations on a well-deserved first place!

  2. Julieann

    Congratulations! You lai is wonderful. Much soul searching and food for thought. Also, congratulations to everyone who entered the contest and doubly so for all who made the top 10. Robert your enthusiasm and encouragement, through your Blog and these contests, is to be commended and is appreciated.

  3. PressOn

    Amy, congratulations on a great lai. Your work is a joy to read, so this is well deserved. Congratulations, too, to all the others who are on Robert’s list, and thank you, Robert, for the challenges and the fun.

    NB: I thought I posted earlier, so if two posts show up, that’s the reason.

  4. Jane Shlensky

    Amy, that’s a wonderful lai. Congratulations! And how fun to be among so many friends. Congrats, top ten and thanks to Robert for another fine challenge and cool form.


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