The 2015 Adult Poetry Contest: a Selection of the First Prize Poems

POETRY SOCIETY OF VIRGINIA

The 2015 Adult Poetry Contest: a Selection of the First Prize Poems

I’m not sure if anyone knows how long the Poetry Society of Virginia has been hosting its annual contest. I paid a visit to the archives recently, to try to find out, and the earliest contest materials I could find were from 1953-1954. [Click here for image.] A flyer for the 1959 annual meeting shows that the presentation of the contest winners took an hour, and that there was a guest poet in attendance, the magnificent Muriel Rukeyser. [Click here for image.] So the annual adult contest is a long and a proud Poetry Virginia tradition.

We do not, however, have a tradition of publishing our winning poems.

Many of our members say they would not enter if we did: it’s their best poems that win prizes, and they wish to submit them to journals. To put them up on our web site, or to run them in our newsletter, would be to grant us first publication rights, and the feeling is that we need to have a much more official, much more prestigious place to showcase such poetry for us to earn that privilege.

This year, however, perhaps for the first time, a few of our first place poets have given us permission to publish their winning poems.

You’ll find a half-dozen or so of the first place poems below, some with comments from the poets.

And five more are scheduled to appear in the next newsletter, at which time they too will be available on the web site.

We hope that you’ll show support for this initiative by reading the featured poems, and letting us know what you think–about the winning poems, and about the idea of us publishing them in this way, when the poets are willing to offer them to us.

And don’t forget to support our community of poets by also visiting the youtube site Virginia Poetry Online, where you can hear some of the winning poets read their work.

Let us know what you think!

Derek Kannemeyer
Central Region Vice President and Annual Contest Committee Member

A Selection of the First Prize Poems

Category 1. EDGAR ALLAN POE MEMORIAL

First Prize: “The Raptor” by Evelyn Ritchie Tower, San Jose, CA.

Category 4. CARLETON DREWRY MEMORIAL

First Prize:“Barnyard Bard” by Anne Whitelaw, Hume, VA.

Category 5. BRODIE HERNDON MEMORIAL

First Prize: “Marie” by Ruth Hill, Chetwynd, BC, Canada.

Category 7. JUDAH, SARAH, GRACE, AND TOM MEMORIAL, Ruth Foley, Judge. Any form. Subject: Encouraging reflection on inter-ethnic relations.

First Prize: “I Was Eight and Knew They Meant Me” by E. Gail Chandler, Shelbyville, KY.

Category 8. CENIE H. MOON PRIZE

First Prize: “In the Space of Time” by Irene Wellman, Afton, VA.

Category 11. CHARLOTTE WISE MEMORIAL

First Prize: “Gustave Caillebotte, Raboteurs de parquet” by Derek Kannemeyer, Richmond, VA.

Category 24. A POEM WITH A POINT OF VIEW

First Prize: “The Story, Actually” by Amelia L. Williams, Afton, VA.