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2012 April PAD Challenge: Poetic Asides Poet Laureate and Top 25 List

Yes, I know I've failed spectacularly to provide the results of the 2012 April PAD Challenge in a timely manner. And yes, I realize that I've cut the Top 50 list down to a Top 25 list (and an unordered list at that). But I have no excuse to provide--just a promise to do a better job next year.

Okay, so who is the 2012 Poetic Asides Poet Laureate anyway?

Well, I've screwed up there too, because, well, how best to say this: There are two Poets Laureate this year. They are De Jackson and Brian Slusher. They are both familiar to me, but the poems they submitted this year seemed to reach new levels of awesomeness from them.

I'll include a poem from each below, but you should really search their poems out from the April PAD Challenge comments. They wrote several great poems.

Speaking of that Top 25 list...

Yes, this year, I've decided to make a Top 25 list not because the quality or quantity slipped, but because I wanted to finally finish the judging. These 25 poems were selected from submissions of more than 750 poems from nearly 200 poets. If you work out the math, these poems represent the top 3% of what was submitted (and, of course, there were probably another 2,000+ poems written during the month). So making this list is a big deal (even if it is in no specific order).

Here is the Top 25 list in no specific order:

  • Castaways, by Brian Slusher
  • Freshman Biology, by De Jackson
  • Seeds, by Joseph Harker
  • A Sparrow's Love, by Jane Beal
  • Let's Drive Until Our Asses Melt Into the Car Seats, by Daniel Ari
  • What You Left, by Laurie Kolp
  • Firebird, by Taylor Graham
  • At Last, by Andrew Kreider
  • Kill Your Television, by Brian Slusher
  • The Trick of Losing What You Did Not Have, by De Jackson
  • Cecily, by Marilyn Braendeholm
  • Floater, by Pamela Taylor
  • Fading, by Bruce Niedt
  • An Apple Tree and Two Finches, by Jane Beal
  • What I Look for in a Man, by Joseph Harker
  • A Shady Kyrielle, by Cristina Ortega Phillips
  • Plum Crazy, by Patricia A. Hawkenson
  • Baked Alaska, by Jane Shlensky
  • 100% Poetry, by Sara Ramsdell
  • O, Let's Not, by De Jackson
  • The Dead Birds of America, With Life-Size Hand-Colored Illustrations, by Brian Slusher
  • Saltfish Fritters, by Maxie Steer
  • Morning Rendezvous, by Lorraine Baron Caramanna
  • Let's Drive North, by Linda Wastila-Simoni
  • Something Wild and Wonderful, by Khara House

Congratulations to everyone in the Top 25! And thank you to everyone who participated (and waited so patiently for me)! It still amazes me how everyone comes together to break lines every April.


As promised, here are those poems from Brian and De:

Castaways, by Brian Slusher

The girls from next door
washed ashore in my backyard
now gather dandelions and clover
to cook in a cracked flowerpot.

They build a shelter from the pile
of bricks from an abandoned project,
carefully stack uneven walls with
tree-branch beams and moss ceiling.

On their island, two marooned girls
watch for ships on the fence-horizon,
as cloud shadows sail the grass
and time (almost) forgets to pass.

Freshman Biology, by De Jackson

I remember feeling sorry
for the slimy little suckers
as we sliced them open,
identifying organs: lungs,
stomach, liver,
scraping cell samples
from each onto glass
taking notes.
Mr. G jabbering on
kingdom, phylum,
class, order, family, genus,
The way your hair
curled just right over
your collar as your
eyes conducted
lab experiments
of their own.

moving up to
advanced anatomy.

with scalpel in hand
wanting only
to flay my own heart.


If anyone in the Top 25 wishes to share their poem in the comments (the comments that once again work on the first try), please go for it. I look forward to sharing the November results on time and having the best April Challenge yet in a little more than 4 months from now.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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