Winning Poems for July 2012

Judged by Troy Jollimore

First Place

This Could Be

by Andrew Dufresne
Wild Poetry Forum

Is this a poem? I hate some people.
Or do I? Do I hate some people?
Is this correct? If so, please explain.
Show your work. You have minutes.

Under a rotten log, a salamander.
Did I see it? Was it alive? I think
I did. I did not hate it. Was it a poem?
Discuss. The room is leaving you.

Back to our previous question:
Do I hate some poems? Is there
a waterfall I have not gone over?
May I ask forgiveness? And why.

I came to the meadow to graze.
The sky was peppered with blue.
I worry if my body changes in any
way. No one notices my eyes.

Time’s up. I am never married.
I send a post card to birth, write
this poem on it. The canal is lovely,
the boatman sings to me. Go.


I liked the engaging energy of this poem: the way the opening question grabs the reader’s attention, the way it plays with the idea of persona and invites a kind of audience participation. It has a reckless headlong zigzag enthusiasm that hurtles you to the end before you can even stop to question it—before you know it you’ve been taken for a ride, and it’s a ride you’ll want to take again. --Troy Jollimore

Second Place

Kodaikanal

by Sivakami Velliangiri
The Writer's Block

The observatory draws tourists
who come to see dark spots in the sun.

Here they talk ‘climate.’ Space is a snapshot,
a museum of telescopes and explanatory pictures.
Each dark spot is bigger in size than the earth.

Favorable changes might happen, more rains,
unusual, unseasonal blooming of the Kurunchi flowers.

At the house the flowers are the same pastel shades
of intermingled bright hues. Same as when
my half sari twined around the oars of a boat.

Turnips, carrots, bush beans and herbs
still thrive in the backyard. Every summer
we pretend three or four days in a hill station
can reduce the heat of our working days.

Now I search the meaning of ‘Manorama’
Krishna as the full filler of Eternal Bliss
in these hills.


This is a quiet and evocative piece with some clever and memorable bits: “full filling” instead of “fulfilling,” for instance, is very pleasurable. I like the way the speaker and others are introduced almost surreptitiously as the poem progresses – the “my” in the fourth stanza, the “we” in the fifth—each of these is a small and satisfying surprise, and the whole piece gestures at a complete narrative without letting us lock one into place. And the line “Each dark spot is bigger than the earth” has a strange beauty. --Troy Jollimore

Third Place

Night Music

by E. Russell Smith
The Write Idea

Debussy at moonrise
with unoaked Chardonnay
and Camembert; baroque
with pinot noir and barbecue;

the descanted serenade
of our resident loon,
sharing the lake with us
and with his nesting mate;

a short song in the dark
before a late May dawn
from a red-eyed vireo,
offered again and again;

and when I return,
your fingers’ urgent strum
across my lively skin,
Venus transiting the sun.


This is a simple, pleasing poem with lovely music and delicious word choices. This poet loves words and fills the poem with strong, interesting nouns (including proper names): Debussy, Chardonnay, Camambert, serenade, pinot noir, vireo. I like that while there is no regular rhyme scheme, some of the final words repeat sounds: strum/skin/sun in the final stanza, or—my favorite—baroque and barbecue in the first. All in all this is a hushed and musical poem by a writer with a very good ear. --Troy Jollimore


  • August 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The World Is Moist in the Morning
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Epitaph
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      I kissed a tree
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu