by Billy Howell-Sinnard
The Writer's Block
First Place, October 2014
Judged by Philip Belcher

Swinging in a gondola
at the very top
I feel like the hands
of a clock stopped
while the roar
of the fair goers below
continues madly on
without me.

The eight lines of this compact poem show the merits of compression and attention to sound. The title itself carries weight, with its double meaning of midpoint and a fair’s central pathway. The alternating rhythms of the lines suggest a rocking motion to match that of the fair ride being described by the speaker, and the internal and end rhymes hold the brief narrative together. This is a terrific example of a poet’s close attention to language and meaning and how they can reinforce each other. --Philip Belcher