The Winners of WD’s Annual Poetry Awards

Nearly 2,300 poems were submitted to the seventh annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards, and Linda Neal Reising’s “An Educated Woman Explains Why She Likes Bluegrass” claimed the No. 1 spot. Her prize: $500, a copy of the 2012 Poet’s Market and a trip to the WD Conference in New York City.
Author:
Publish date:

Nearly 2,300 poems were submitted to the seventh annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards, and Linda Neal Reising’s “An Educated Woman Explains Why She Likes Bluegrass” claimed the No. 1 spot. Her prize: $500, a copy of the 2012 Poet’s Market and a trip to the WD Conference in New York City.

“I fell for Reising’s poem from the opening lines,” says final-round judge Robert Lee Brewer, editor of Poet’s Market and WD’s Poetic Asides column and blog. “Whether through the repetition of because to open every stanza or using perfect metaphors to describe the individual elements of a bluegrass tune, this poem takes a familiar topic and plays with it—making the whole enterprise more beautiful in the process.”

The contest was open to original poems of any style that were unpublished and 32 lines or fewer. The top 50 poems will be printed in a special collection, available for $10.00. Click here for your copy. To find out how to enter next year’s contest, visit Writer's Digest's Competitions page.

The Top 10

1. “An Educated Woman Explains Why She Likes Bluegrass” by Linda Neal Reising

2. “Last Chair” by Maggie Morely

3. “A Holding Time” by Barbra Simpson

4. “Hands Together” by Ace (A. Charles) Baker

5. “Listening to the Ocean” by Kathleen Olive Palmer

6. “34” by Jack Libert

7. “This is how you ready for it” by Roberta Guthrie Kowald

8. “Prayer for Mother” by Carol Despeaux

9. “Cracked” by Chris Warner

10. “Grah Nade!” by John J. Zerr

An Educated Woman Explains Why She Likes Bluegrass

by Linda Neal Reising

Because a fiddle can cry honey
or shapeshift into the Wabash Cannonball,
chugging its arrival
or whistling through a crossing
in some by-passed Ozark town.
Because a banjo plunks
like hail on a tin roof,
covering a barn with weathered sides.
Or like drops, fat and dull,
plopping into a zinc bucket, set below
the eaves to catch rain water.
Because a guitar can speak
with a country accent,
hum about mockingbirds and murders,
long for girls with names
like Sally Goodin, Liza Jane, Sweet Fern.
Because a mandolin quivers,
a timid soul, fluttering
like the wings of a blackbird
trapped inside a stone chimney.
Because the voices lift so high
and lonesome they drift,
suspended like Blue Ridge fog
just before fading to sun.

Natalie Lund: On Grief and Unanswered Questions in YA Fiction

Natalie Lund: On Grief and Unanswered Questions in YA Fiction

YA author Natalie Lund shares how she handles the subject of death for a YA audience in her latest novel The Sky Above Us.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 13

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Lucky and/or Unlucky poem.

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

The world of storytelling can be broken into many categories and sub-categories, but one division is between plotter and pantser. Learn what a plotter means in writing and how they differ from pantsers here.

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of waist vs. waste on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Novelist Bridget Foley explains the seed that grew into her latest book Just Get Home and how she stayed hopeful in the face of rejection.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a six words poem.

What Is a Pantser in Writing?

What Is a Pantser in Writing?

The world of storytelling can be broken into many categories and sub-categories, but one division is between pantser and plotter. Learn what a pantser means in writing and how they differ from plotters here.

Too Seen: The Intimacy of Copy Editing

Too Seen: The Intimacy of Copy Editing

Novelist A.E. Osworth discusses their experience working with a copyeditor for their novel We Are Watching Eliza Bright and how the experience made them feel Witnessed.