Skip to main content

Winners of WD’s 7th Annual Poetry Awards

Nearly 2,300 poems were submitted in the seventh annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards, and Linda Neal Rising’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. Read her winning entry here.

Nearly 2,300 poems were submitted in the seventh annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards, and Linda Neal Rising’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 Rising’s poem from the opening lines,” says final-round judge Robert Lee Brewer, editor of Poet’s Market and WD’s Poetic Asides column (Page 11) 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The contest was open to original poems of any style that were unpublished and 32 lines or fewer.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 here for $11.95. To find out how to enter next year’s contest, visit Writer's Digest Competitions.

“An Educated Woman Explains Why She Likes Bluegrass”

by Linda Neal Rising

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.

The Top 10

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

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

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

What happens to historical fiction when history repeats itself? Author Addison Armstrong discusses writing about the past and seeing it reflected in the present.

From Script

Art and Independence (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” television writer Vanessa Benton, Allegoria writer-director Spider One, Hulu’s Prey screenwriter Patrick Aison and director Dan Trachtenberg, and more!

Steven Hartov: On Shocking Truths in Historical Fiction

Steven Hartov: On Shocking Truths in Historical Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Steven Hartov discusses the surprising truths he discovered when writing his new historical fiction novel, The Last of the Seven.

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Award-winning author Larry Beinhart discusses what he learned in the process of writing his new mystery novel, The Deal Goes Down.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A Competition Announcement, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our self-published e-book awards, 6 WDU courses, and more!

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Award-winning playwright and author Leah Franqui discusses how she examined her life through a fictive lens with her new novel, After the Hurricane.

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how to pace your story's fight scene and shares three examples from writers who tackle pacing differently.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is rushing the drafting process.

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

USA Today bestselling author Kwana Jackson discusses writing her new romance novel, Knot Again.