Whew! I was able to announce the November PAD Chapbook Challenge in April. Barely, sure, but it still counts and is better than the past few years. And that's despite more entries for the 2020 November challenge than usual.
There were more than 100 entries this time around from all around the country and the world. Not every entry included the location of the poet (not a requirement), but I do know from the ones who did include their locales that people entered collections from Pakistan, India, Scotland, England, and Canada, in addition to dozens of states.
In this post, I share the winning chapbook and poet, along with four finalists and seven honorable mentions.
Play with poetic forms!
Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).
This year's winning manuscript is velveteen rabid, by De Jackson, who was actually last year's runner-up and a long-time PAD challenger in both April and November. In fact, I found this interview with De Jackson from 2014.
Here are a few poems from velveteen rabid:
“enter. shift. return.,” by De Jackson
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. - Dante
this poem is a perfect storm
waiting. debating. grating
on tired skin. she's in a mood,
brewed too strong and too
weak to find herself in any
-thing but ink.
she thinks. she dreams. she
screams in sunlight and quietest
of rain. she's only slightly sane,
steeped in scattered leaves.
nothing left now
to do, but
command one option.
“to fall in love with the world again,” by De Jackson
you must engage
a flower in full
you must allow
a tree to tell
you must find
yourself in this
to fall in love
with this world
you must hold
hands with hope
and contemplate clouds.
you must bare
your soul your feet
and laugh out loud
at that full fat moon;
you must dream
in fragments of
fragility and foolish
trust. you must
run your hands
through grass and
to fall in love
with anything again, you
must give it another chance.
“velveteen rabid,” by De Jackson
and if I crush this blue
against my skin, it is silk
and satin and gravel graze
-and-etching Braille against
these shards of silver. black's
a bruise, abused darkness
waiting, ragged edge anticipating
the scrape of sky. hold that teal
in tender pockets; freeze the frag
-rant ruffled ruse of red, a
lacy lazy apricot left unsaid. a
smooth horizon cinnamon
simmered into steam. we know
what saffron means and we're
not afraid to fling it. sing it.
sign it deep. steep ourselves
in leathered scale of emerald,
marshmallow mellow jeans.
“one poem more,” by De Jackson
and we find ourselves falling into its pages
tucking ourselves between stanzas as silk
pillowcases. two days later we're still here
three sheets to the (whirl)wind drunk
on phrase for another four days. gimme five
minutes and i'll tell you each rhyme-and
-rhythm'd tale, the scale of it all in metered
(bare) feet. we could take it to the streets
bust it loose and free, but nobody'd believe
us. so just leave us here seven syllables deep
and we'll scribble our way up, turn an eight
on its side and ride it all the way to infinity.
Again, congratulations, De!
But wait! There’s more!
In addition to De's winning manuscript, I selected four finalists listed here in no particular order:
- You Were A Poem Once, Oiseau, by Hibah Shabkhez
- Three Weeks With a Parrot Named Sukey Tawdry: A Diary, by M. Braendeholm
- Layering Paradox, by J. Lynn Sheridan
- Huddled Yearning, by Jane Shlensky
Congratulations to all the finalists!
And this year, I'm including a list (again, in no particular order) of honorable mentions:
- Magic, mothers, and mourning, by Tori Walters
- Molting, by Julie Fitzpatrick
- The Mend, by Gila Mon
- Of Beaches and Dreadfuls I Kept Underneath the Ocean, by Bet Nares
- Autumn And Winter Poems, by Jodie West
- An Unexpected Mindset, by Michele K. Smith
- What Stays, by Taylor Graham
Congratulations to all the honorable mentions! And to everyone who put in the time to write poems in November and assemble and submit collections in December and January. Great job!