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2014 April PAD Challenge: Final Results

(UPDATE:All the winners and finalists have been announced!)

First off, the final results are not yet finalized for all the days. That's my fault. While I secured guest judges, I alone took on the burden of whittling down each day's poems to a short list. Next year, I plan to recruit a team of readers to help with that narrowing.

That said, I do have some final results to share and will update as the rest of the results are returned. I'm going to hold off on sharing Top 10 lists for days that still don't have a winner--since I want the guest judging to be completely blind.

Here are the April PAD Challenge results for each day:

The winner is highlighted; the top 10 is in no particular order; an asterisk (*) denotes a poem that "almost" won. If you notice any errors (including your byline), please send me an e-mail at to get it corrected as soon as possible.

Day 1:
Prompt: Beginnings and/or Endings Poem
Guest Judge: Traci Brimhall

"cathedra," by Barton Smock
"Learning Italian," by Emma Travis
"When your domesticated coyote," by Lara Eckener
"Movement Through Spacetime," by Sara Diane Doyle
"Taking My Time," by Cati Porter
"I cannot begin to tell you," by Taylor Mali
"The Truth Itself Takes Care to Make Eyes," by LGordon
"In Diminuendo," by Richard Fenwick
"Restoring Beauty," by James Von Hendy
"Thorn Bones," by Taylor Graham

Day 2:
Prompt: Voyage Poem
Guest Judge: Neil Aitken

"sedoka," by StewartC Baker
"Canada Geese," by TheFlawlessWord
"Riding the ATV to the Mailbox in Early Spring," by Kit Cooley
"Midnight Voyage," by Margie Fuston
"as if the windshield wipers," by alotus_poetry
"Progress Takes Its Own Voyage," by Barb Peters
"Georgia O'Keefe Hitches a Ride to Abiquiu," by Susan J. Erickson
"Here I Am Holding," by iris dunkle
"The Journey," by ehorowitz
"Between Neverland and Oz," by Walt Wojtanik

Day 3:
Prompt: Message Poem
Guest Judge: Shaindel Beers

"Belle Boyd, Confederate spy, imagines a letter from her Shadow Sister, by Kathryn Stripling Byer
"Message," by Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz
"Wish You Were Here," by shethra77
"Large Puddle in the Street...," by Hannah Gosselin
"The Post," by Sara Diane Doyle
"for violet," by brandon speck
"Sticky Note," by James Brush
"Tell Me Again How Family Is So Important," by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
"When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," by Kimiko Martinez
"Written in the Wind," by Emma Hine

Day 4:
Prompt: "Since (blank)" Poem
Guest Judge: Vince Gotera

"Since I Am Taking a Break From Facebook," by k weber
"Since October," by Richard Fenwick*
"since you left," by drwasy
"since the last time i heard your voice," by Fatima Hirsi
"Since I Gave Myself Permission," by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
"Since the pear I for days let ripen," by Genevieve Fitzgerald
"Since you split my lip," by Pearl Ketover Prilik
"Since My Poems Broke Up With Me," by Jacqueline Hallenbeck
"Since the Last Snow," by Bruce Niedt
"Since Fukushima," by Tracy Davidson

Day 5:
Prompt: Discover Something Poem
Guest Judge: Patricia Fargnoli

"Hubris," by Sharon Fagan McDermott
"Discovery," by Carol J Carpenter
"Xox," by hohlwein
"The End of Things Before They Begin," by David Walker
"Divinum Mysterium," by Jane Shlensky
"An entomologist after an apocalypse," by amaranthe
"Attempt #4, Saturday morning," by Taylor Emily Copeland
"Agate Tides," by Joanne M Clarkson
"Found Alive (Berlin 1945)," by dianemdavis
"Discovery in the Woods," by Bucky Ignatius

Day 6:
Prompt: Night Poem
Guest Judge: Andrew Hudgins

"how to live in the country dark," by Barton Smock
"Summer Night," by mimzy13
"523.4," by ina
"We Are Brighter in the Dark," by Lydia Flores
"Night," by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
"Of the Night," by Mark Windham
"Sea Monkeys Have an Expiration Date," by iris dunkle
"Moon Monologue," by David Walker
"Night of the Sea Monkeys," by Taylor Graham
"Good Night," by William Preston

Day 7:
Prompt: Self-Portrait Poem
Guest Judge: January Gill O'Neil

"Self-Portrait as the State of Minnesota," by Susan J. Erickson
"A Look Inside," by Scott Jacobson
"In the Louvre with Rembrandt's Selfie," by Margie Fuston
"Self-Portrait," by Linda G Hatton
"My eyes are sunflowers," by P.A. Beyer
"Self-Portrait," by Cameron Steele
"April Self Portrait," by Eileen Moeller
"Self Portrait," by Roderick Bates
"51," by Brian Slusher
"I Am a Crazy Quilt," by Linda Voit

Day 8:
Prompt: Violent and/or Peaceful Poem
Guest Judge: Tom C. Hunley

"A Taste for Pain," by Fatima Hirsi
"To the Woman Who Called at 7:15 AM to Break Up With Her Man," by pamelaraw
"The Threat of Butterflies," by Joanne M Clarkson
"The Prisoner's Dilemma," by P.A. Beyer
"Broken," by iris dunkle
"Under A Box of Matches," by flood
"My Father Kicked Dogs," by Courtney O'Banion Smith
"This time, he didn't make it home," by Kendall A. Bell
"Unreported," by Taylor Emily Copeland
"Papers on Top of More Papers," by Bruce Niedt

Day 9:
Prompt: Shelter Poem
Guest Judge: Kelli Russell Agodon

"Shelter," by Cameron Steele
"Home Before the Tornado Hits," by drwasy*
"Ocean's Voice," by LCaramanna
"The Niche," by Linda G Hatton
"Shelter," by Roderick Bates
"Surviving the Storm," by cam45237
"Thin Shelters," by carolecole66
"Snow Globe," by beale.alexis
"Sonnet for the Family Living in Their Car," by C. Lynn Shaffer
"House," by donaldillich

Day 10:
Prompt: Future Poem
Guest Judge: Nate Pritts

"What Comes," by alana sherman
"Intrada," by Khara House
"To shame the orphan," by J. Lynn Sheridan
"An Affair in Chicago," by hwerther
"Uneasy Laughter After Dessert," by Linda Voit
"Futuro," by Patrick J. Walsh
"Woman Hollering Creek," by Kathryn Stripling Byer
"kenning," by Barton Smock
"The Future Without Me," by C. Lynn Shaffer
"An Unfinished Sentence," by AleathiaD

Day 11:
Prompt: Make Statement Title of Poem
Guest Judge: Joseph Mills

"Don't Go There," by Carole Cole
"Nothing changes but everything every second," by Jay Sizemore
"Your glass is half full," by Reynard
"Just Say No," by Kit Cooley
"The Unknown Unknown," by Brian Slusher
"Do Not Drive or Operate Heavy Machinery on This Medication," by Alysia Sawahyn
"Press button," by Kendall A. Bell
"It Is What It Is," by maxie409
"Wine Is Bottled Poetry," by Bruce Niedt
"I Want Things to Stay the Way They Are," by David Walker

Day 12:
Prompt: City Poem
Guest Judge: Victoria Chang

"Flesh and Leather," by Joanne Clarkson
"Firenze," by Emma Travis
"Portland," by rebrog
"Adaptation," by Bucky Ignatius
"In the City at Night," by Margie Fuston
"Her origami master," by Phil Boiarski
"The City," by Donald Illich
"Between Palms," by James Von Hendy
"A Street (1926)," by Courtney O'Banion Smith
"On the Air in Winston-Salem," by Jane Shlensky

Day 13:
Prompt: Animal Poem
Guest Judge: Daniel Nester

"an(t)i-mal(l)," by Jay Sizemore
"The Lamb," by Yolee
"Animal Electromagnetism," by Emma Travis
"grizzly," by brandon speck
"Coexisting," by Patricia A. Hawkenson
"Dragonfly," by Cameron Steele
"Xtinct," by Scott Jacobson
"Reptilia," by Taylor Emily Copeland
"Sestina for the Narrow Fellow," by Brian Slusher
"dumpster diving," by lina

Day 14:
Prompt: "If I Were (blank)" Poem
Guest Judge: Jericho Brown

"If I were your answer," by Lori DeSanti
"If I were reincarnated as the razor of a bearded man," by Jay Sizemore
"If I were a coywolf," by Heidi R. deContreras
"If I were you," by Nancy Posey
"If I were a virgin," by Taylor Emily Copeland
"If I were 88, a Birthday Wish," by Courtney O'Banion Smith
"If I Were William Shakespeare," by James Von Hendy
"If I Were a Sparrow," by Diana Terrill Clark
"If I Were," by Taylor Mali
"If I were a broom," by Benjamin Thomas

Day 15:
Prompt: Love and/or Anti-Love Poem
Guest Judge: Barbara Hamby

"Romantics," by Bruce Niedt
"Oh Yeah?," by Penny Henderson
"Love. Hate.," by Mustang Sal
"At Grandma's Funeral," by Patricia A. Hawkenson
"Wondering," by George Smith
"Garden Variety Love," by Jane Shlensky
"Two Clams in the Sand," by Lori DeSanti
"The memory of falling asleep," by Kendall A. Bell
"Sunday morning before church," by drwasy
"Six Reasons Why Love Is Pissed Off Every April 15," by Linda Goin


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Day 16:
Prompt: Elegy Poem
Guest Judge: Bob Hicok

"Gratitude," by Joseph Harker
"A Picker's Elegy," by Jane Shlensky
"Elegy for the reel-to-reel I found at the Goodwill," by Jay Sizemore
"Five Stages of Grief: an Elegy," by carolecole66
"April Elegy," by Cameron Steele
"Elegy for Scott Wannberg," by EbenAt
"In-law Uncle Mark," by Daniel Ari
"Black Coffee," by Taylor Graham
"Elegy for a Prelate," by William Preston
"When I heard the news you died," by Quaker

Day 17:
Prompt: Pop Culture Poem
Guest Judge: Mary Biddinger

"Less Than 120 Minutes of Alternative," by Kendall A. Bell
"Why I Don't Twerk," by pamela raw
"Pop Goes the Kultcha," by Jo Steigerwald
"A Pop Culture," by Heidi R. de Contreras
"Facebook," by starrynight3
"Things to Tell My Childhood Self," by Cameron Steele
"These Days," by lsteadly
"Untitled," by peacegirlout
"Garden Extravaganza," by Taylor Graham
"Ones and Zeros," by Jerry Walraven

Day 18:
Prompt: Weather Poem
Guest Judge: Nin Andrews

"collapse," by Barton Smock
"Whether the weather weathers," by Jay Sizemore
"Ice Age," by amaranthe
"Storm Chaser," by Margie Fuston
"Grandmother Tells Me How to Read the Signs," by Courtney O'Banion Smith
"Life After Life," by Lori DeSanti
"The Summer Forecast," by James Brush
"After the Rain," by Emma Travis
"Slow Melt," by Jane Shlensky
"Derecho," by Donald Illich

Day 19:
Prompt: Pick Color, Make Title of Poem
Guest Judge: Thomas Lux

"Aubergine," by Sara Diane Doyle
"Violet," by Julie Germain
"Orange," by Brian Slusher
"Prussian Blue," by Joanne M. Clarkson
"Vermilion," by Jerry Walraven
"White," by G. Smith
"Yellow," by Susan J. Erickson
"Burnt Umber," by Eibhlin
"Mandarin Orange," by pamela raw
"Gray Matter," by James Von Hendy

Day 20:
Prompt: Family Poem
Guest Judge: Scott Owens

"I Draw a Mountain," by Brie Huling
"What It Means to Be Related," by Liliuokalani
"Family Heirloom," by Scott Jacobson
"Ben's Song," by alana sherman
"Family of Man," by Daniel Paicopulos
"Down in the Wetland," by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
"Mon Oncle Bob," by viv
"What Would Jesus Do?," by Taylor Mali
"Ode to Funny Family Portraits," by C. Lynn Shaffer
"The Family," by Phil Boiarski

Day 21:
Prompt: Back to Basics Poem
Guest Judge: Deborah Ager

"Square One," by De Jackson
"Basically," by Yolee
"The Basics," by Rosemary Nissen-Wade
"Seeds," by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
"Back to Basics," by Sara Ramsdell
"Back to Basics," by carolecole66
"Ladylike Behaviors," by Jane Shlensky
"Pieces," by Kendall A. Bell
"Basics," by Kelli Simpson
"Fundamentals," by AC Leming

Day 22:
Prompt: Optimistic and/or Pessimistic Poem
Guest Judge: Lawrence Schimel

"Expectation," by Sara Diane Doyle
"The Young and the Dying," by Emma Travis
"Small Comforts," by Deri
"The other side of the sun," by wallrose34
"Ten of Swords," by Joseph Harker
"Urula Upp and Dahlia Downn," by Bruce Niedt
"Supernovas in My Glass," by Liliuokalani
"The Glass," by Vince Gotera
"Scenic Route #27," by Kelly Letky
"Hope," by Jerry Walraven

Day 23:
Prompt: Location Poem
Guest Judge: Erika Meitner

"Field of Houses," by Donald Illich
"Location, Location, Location," by Nancy Posey*
"Watermelon Fields," by Daniel Roessler
"Where Are You?," by Kevin D. Young
"Re-location," by Carole Cole
"In Our Bed," by Linda Voit
"Coordinates," by De Jackson
"Delaware River, 2010," by Taylor Emily Copeland
"Taste of History," by Taylor Graham
"Geography," by William Preston

Day 24:
Prompt: "Tell It to the (blank)" Poem
Guest Judge: Kristina Marie Darling

"Tell It to My Brother," by Barton Smock
"Tell It to the Coal Miner's Daughter," by JR Simmang
"Tell It to the Moon...," by Tracy Davidson
"Tell It to the Cell With Your Windows Rolled Up," by Laurie Kolp
"Tell It to the One You Cheated on Me With," by Lydia Flores
"Tell It to the Wind," by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
"Tell It to the Kids," by Kendall A. Bell
"Tell It to the Breaker of Hearts," by k weber
"Tell It to the Guitar," by C. Lynn Shaffer
"Tell It to the Keepers of Melancholy," by Jerry Walraven

Day 25:
Prompt: The Last Straw Poem
Guest Judge: Erica Wright

"Last Straw," by Joanne M. Clarkson
"Crow," by Scott Jacobson
"Death Roll," by Karen Pickell
"uncouple," by PSC
"The Last Straw," by Bartholomew Barker
"The Last Straw," by Margie Fuston
"Spring," by Vince Gotera
"Last Nerve," by Cathy Dee
"Not a Good Buy, but a Goodbye," by Connie Peters
"To Whomever Left the Empty Ice Cube Tray in the Freezer," by Bruce Niedt

Day 26:
Prompt: Water Poem
Guest Judge: Amy King

"Fair Enough," by k weber
"Ice," by uneven steven*
"Housewife," by Amy
"Seasick," by Dana A. Campbell
"Swamp Water," by Daniel Roessler
"Thirst," by De Jackson
"Memento Mori," by carolecole66
"Water," by Daniel Paicopulos
"One Hydrogen, Two Oxygen," by Phil Boiarski
"Water," by Kimmy Sophia Brown

Day 27:
Prompt: Monster Poem
Guest Judge: Jeannine Hall Gailey

"Forgive Us Our Demons," by Emma Travis
"Monster Child," by Ina Roy-Faderman
"Castle Greyskull," by Nancy Posey
"The Locked Door," by Natasa Bozic Grojic
"They say it grew where the witch fell," by Jerry Walraven
"Godzilla versus Jasper," by pamelaraw
"This little monster," by Michele Brenton
"The Ghost in the Window Pane," by Aleathia Drehmer
"my Amish boss," by Andrew Kreider
"To be a monster," by Kimmy Sophia

Day 28:
Prompt: Settled Poem
Guest Judge: Sandra Beasley

"Triptych: Conversations with my Mother," by Joseph Harker
"all roads lead to Walmart," by annee mcwilliams
"Sun-Down," by Taylor Graham
"Settling Someplace," by susanjer
"Semantic Settlement," by Jane Shlensky
"Untamed Shadows," by Lori DeSanti
"The Naked Man," by Donald Illich
"Home," by James Von Hendy
"An Elegy to Myself Upon Moving," by Kat Nalley
"What is this settled you speak of?," by Jerry Walraven

Day 29:
Prompt: Realist and/or Magical Poem
Guest Judge: Adam Fitzgerald

"Trigger," by James Brush
"Imagine," by Carol J. Carpenter
"Cinderella," by smdnyc
"Strange Rain," by Jane Shlensky
"Under Magritte's Umbrella," by susanjer
"ends," by Barton Smock
"A secret muse," by Kendall A. Bell
"First Flight," by Shaindel Beers
"Noctilucent Magic," by William Preston
"The Flowering," by Chad Jones

Day 30:
Prompt: Calling It a Day Poem
Guest Judge: Jillian Weise

"Aubade for All Things Rising, Strong," by De Jackson
"Calling It Done," by Kat Nalley
"Le Sigh. Le Fin.," by Cameron Steele
"Farewell to Red," by Margot Suydam
"Calling It," by James Rodgers
"And they, since they / Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs," by Shaindel Beers
"Evensong," by Joseph Harker
"Long Shadows," by James Von Hendy
"echo phenomena," by Barton Smock
"A Rainy Day Farmer," by Daniel Roessler


Whew! I know the results are still coming in, but the poets who've made those top 10 lists should be extremely happy with their work. I read through more than 21,000 comments and 5,600 pages of poems and encouragement.

Only 300 of those made the top 10 lists--or less than 1.4%. In other words, around 1 poem for every 100 comments. That's crazy!

To be named winner, of course, is barely one-tenth of one percent.

In other words, people who made the lists above should be happy-happy-happy. Poets who didn't make the lists should still feel happy as well. Beyond the subjectivity of the judges (especially me), there's just the sheer numbers.

Many great poems made it past the first cut only to be trimmed before the top 10 lists were finalized. And well, the goal of this challenge isn't making a list or being named winner: It's to create 30 new poems!

Congratulations to everyone who participated and worked toward the goal of creating new poems!


As many poets who've participated in the April PAD Challenge in the past know, I like to hand out a few extra awards, including the Poet Laureate of the Poetic Asides blog. So let's start with that...

This year's Poetic Asides Poet Laureate is the first ever repeat laureate. That's right, William Preston has been named to his second consecutive term as the Poetic Asides Poet Laureate. He's not only a wonderful poet, but he's a constant source of inspiration and encouragement in April and throughout the year. In fact, he was still commenting on April poems well into May after the dust had settled on the challenge.

Congratulations, William!

I want to award a Top April Poet award (separate of the Poet Laureate honor), but there are a few that seem to be leading the pack. So I'm going to wait for the final results to all make it in before naming one (or maybe even a tie).

Look for updates over the next couple weeks, and I'll be sure to publish a notification post when everything is set in stone.


Poem Your Heart Out


Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until August 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. Every day, he was amazed at the talent, creativity, and energy poets brought to the table in April. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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