We are pleased to announce the winners for the 2019 Poetry Society of Virginia Adult Contest

Founded in 1923 at the College of William and Mary, the PSoV (Poetry Society of Virginia) is the second oldest state poetry society in the nation. The Society sponsors annual contests for students and adults, offers programs for schools throughout the Commonwealth, and maintains an active calendar of meetings, opportunities and events for poets old and young.

We do not know the exact year that the Society began its annual contests, though there are indications through archival material that the founding officers discussed plans to begin offering prizes at their very first meeting. This year's contest marks the completion of a two-year transition from what was a completely analog process to a fully digital submission system. Over thirteen-hundred poems were entered throughout twenty-eight categories. There is some truly beautiful work here, and all who entered should be proud of their contributions.

In the end, winning or losing is not the point of writing a poem. The point is in undertaking a journey to search for truth, and in doing so you have proven yourself to one of the brave, the few, and the proud. Ultimately, the cause of Virginian poetry is the true champion of our endeavors here, and each and every one of you have a hand in that win.

I congratulate you on your exceptionalism.

We're beginning the process of mailing out awards and prizes next week.The winning body of work will be collected along with other selections made by the editor into a volume of our annual journal -- entitled, Poetry Virginia. This will be made available in the coming months so keep an eye out for an announcement as to its release date.

I want to personally thank all of the judges for their hard work. Their dedication, talent, and gravitas imbue these awards with great worth. We owe them a debt for shepherding these poems to their rightful positions.

The Annual Awards Ceremony is scheduled for June 1st. We hope you'll join us to celebrate the achievement of these poets.

Click here for more info on the event

Please feel free to contact me at j.hewitt@me.com if you have any questions or concerns. Or call me directly at 757.412.5642.

-- Jeff Hewitt, Outgoing Contest Chair. President of the Poetry Society of Virginia.


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All poems are copyrighted 2019 by their respective authors and may not be used elsewhere without their express permission.



The Winners



Contest Category: 1. EDGAR ALLAN POE MEMORIAL -- Judge: Robert P. Arthur
Place Author
1st When Morning Comes After Noon DL Pearlman
Contest Category: 2. SARAH LOCKWOOD MEMORIAL -- Judge: Jeff Hewitt
Place Author
1st Zeno's Paradox Bill Glose
2nd Manicure for My Sister Jean L. Kreiling
3rd WINTER'S CUSP (A Sonnet) Linda Kennedy Partee
Contest Category: 3. BESS GRESHAM MEMORIAL -- Judge: Jeff Hewitt
Place Author
1st Carmen Aponte Donna Isaac
2nd One Summer With Claudia Sarah E N Kohrs
3rd The College Yearbook Elizabeth Spencer Spragins
Contest Category: 4. CARLETON DREWRY MEMORIAL -- Judge: Patricia Fargnoli
Place Author
1st Stars at Dusk DL Pearlman
2nd Department of Agriculture Photographer, 1943 Amelia L Williams
3rd Farm Auction Richard L Rose
Contest Category: 5. BRODIE HERNDON MEMORIAL -- Judge: Patricia Fargnoli
Place Author
1st Bluecrabber DL Pearlman
2nd As It Curves Beyond Memphis Erin Newton Wells
3rd Premonition Sharon Ackerman
Contest Category: 6. NANCY BYRD TURNER MEMORIAL -- Judge: Robert P. Arthur
Place Author
1st A Meditation on Gregor Mendel Eric James Forsbergh
2nd Mary Ann's Sestina Janice Hoffman
3rd From Africa, the Spiny Mouse Erin Newton Wells
Honorable Mention A Thunderstorm at Night Mac Mestayer
Contest Category: 7. JUDAH, SARAH, GRACE, AND TOM MEMORIAL -- Judge: Heather Bell
Place Author
1st The Space Between Sally Zakariya
2nd Little Lincoln Nan Ottenritter
Contest Category: 8. CENIE H. MOON PRIZE -- Judge: Heather Bell
Place Author
1st My Mother Shares Tammy Tillotson
2nd open letter to the woman I never was Joanna Lee
3rd Certain Journey Jim Boucher
Honorable Mention I Left the Old Country Valerie Nieman
Contest Category: 9. HANDY ANDY PRIZE -- Judge: Arthur Hoffman
Place Author
1st Blame It on the Black Hole Erin Newton Wells
2nd The Art of the Limerick Derek Kannemeyer
3rd The Monkey's Etiquette Laura J. Bobrow
Contest Category: 10. ADA SANDERSON MEMORIAL -- Judge: John Hoppenthaler
Place Author
1st Riverwater Slips Into Unshakable Night Sarah E N Kohrs
Contest Category: 11. CHARLOTTE WISE MEMORIAL -- Judge: Heather Bell
Place Author
1st Necessary Lies Bill Glose
2nd When I Die Jacqueline Jules
3rd Figments Tony Gentry
Contest Category: 12. THE ROBERT S. SERGEANT MEMORIAL -- Judge: Sandra Beasley
Place Author
1st The Lone Merganser Greg Friedmann
Honorable Mention Sparrows Bill Glose
Contest Category: 13. ELIZABETH NEUWIRTH MEMORIAL -- Judge: Sandra Beasley
Place Author
1st Wheatfield with Crows Erin Newton Wells
2nd Hotel Lobby Jean L. Kreiling
3rd "Desmoiselles D'Avignon Jane Ellen Glasser
Contest Category: 14. LAURA DAY BOGGS BOLLING MEMORIAL -- Judge: Sandra Beasley
Place Author
1st What is Forgotten Becomes New Bill Ayres
2nd When Jill Chill Came to My House Chapman Hood Frazier
3rd What I Would Do Erin Newton Wells
Contest Category: 15. MIRIAM RACHIMI MEMORIAL -- Judge: Tom Williams
Place Author
1st "Eyes Downcast" Katharyn Howd Machan
2nd Running Eulogy Amanda Sue Creasey
3rd Narcan Eric James Forsbergh
Honorable Mention Yellow Balloon Larry R. Turner
Contest Category: 16. JOE PENDLETON CAMPBELL MEMORIAL -- Judge: Luisa Igloria
Place Author
1st -- tied A Chinese Birdcage Erin Newton Wells
1st -- tied Recovering Kindra McDonald
3rd The Foreclosure M. Lee Alexander
Contest Category: 17. RAYMOND LEVI HAISLIP MEMORIAL -- Judge: Luisa Igloria
Place Author
1st Reverse Lottery DL Pearlman
2nd For A Tobacco Factory Trash Compactor Derek Kannemeyer
3rd The Measure of Time Erin Newton Wells
Contest Category: 18. A SENSE OF PLACE -- Judge: James Owens
Place Author
1st Drink and Be Whole Again Erin Newton Wells
2nd Shenandoah Sally Zakariya
3rd Tangier Island Chapman Hood Frazier
Contest Category: 19. NEW VOICES -- Judge: Greg Donovan
Place Author
1st Encounter Near Aldie, Virginia Donna Isaac
2nd Creusa Candria Slamin
3rd Marie Kondo Christian Aguiar
Contest Category: 20. HONORING FATHERHOOD AWARD -- Judge: John Hoppenthaler
Place Author
1st Father's Funeral Chapman Hood Frazier
2nd On Wrestling My 15 Year Old Son Kathy Cable Smaltz
3rd Shark-Mouthed Skies Bill Glose
Contest Category: 21. EKPHRASTIC POETRY AWARD -- Judge: Greg Donovan
Place Author
1st Frozen Kathy Cable Smaltz
2nd Crow Valerie Nieman
3rd The Exile of Polymer Adam Allen M Weber
Contest Category: 22. THE ANNE SPENCER MEMORIAL -- Judge: Margaret Mackinnon
Place Author
1st Reading Chinese Poetry Ruth Holzer
2nd At Cancer Surgery Richard L Rose
3rd Brood Kindra McDonald
Honorable Mention The Clever Jack Pine Jacqueline Jules
Contest Category: 23. THE CASABLANCA MEMORIAL -- Judge: Jeff Hewitt
Place Author
1st The Knife-Switch Richard L Rose
2nd I Talk Too Much Jerri Hardesty
3rd Black Cat Halloween Adele Gardner
Contest Category: 24. DON FREW AND JOHN NEWCOMB MEMORIAL -- Judge: Joshua Poteat
Place Author
1st Clouds Cloak Like a Pallid Night Sarah E N Kohrs
2nd Dormant Sharon Ackerman
3rd Right Shoe Raymond Abell
Honorable Mention #1 What do you see? Kindra McDonald
Honorable Mention #2 "Last Interview with Donald Hall" Katharyn Howd Machan
Honorable Mention #3 Heron Barbara Blanks
Honorable Mention #4 Silence Jane Ellen Glasser
Contest Category: 25. EMMA GRAY TRIGG MEMORIAL -- Judge: Joshua Poteat
Place Author
1st Making Time Amelia L Williams
2nd In the Spirit of the Red Book by Carl Jung Irene H Wellman
3rd An Unwritten Poem Derek Kannemeyer
Honorable Mention #1 After All Allen M Weber
Honorable Mention #2 Elder Angel Explains Life to a Novice Richard L Rose
Honorable Mention #3 Our Hands Were Once Webbed Valerie Nieman
Honorable Mention #4 Queen Anne's Lace DL Pearlman
Contest Category: 26. KARMA DEANE OGDEN MEMORIAL -- Judge: James Owen
Place Author
1st The Wasting Hydrangea Erin Newton Wells
2nd Burrowing Chapman Hood Frazier
3rd DIY Repairs Amelia L Williams
Contest Category: 27. LORETTA DUNN HALL MEMORIAL -- Judge: Margaret Mackinnon
Place Author
1st A Ram Caught by Its Horns in the Brambles Bill Ayres
2nd My Grandparents' House Erin Newton Wells
3rd when people ask my mother how many children she has, she hesitates Rebecca Brock
Honorable Mention La Abuelita (The Grandmother) Elizabeth Spencer Spragins
Contest Category: 28. UNDERGRADUATE POETRY AWARD -- Judge: J. Scott Wilson
Place Author
1st Continental Drift Eliza Browning
2nd A Beast Living Through Beauty Shannon Gieseke
3rd Dissolution Kailyn Sasso




Meet our Judges

Robert P. Arthur

Our outgoing President, Robert P. Arthur is a poet, novelist, short-story writer, playwright, critic and professor. His book of poetry, Hymn to the Chesapeake, was the best- selling book in the history of Road Publishers and has been produced as a musical play of the same name in Washington, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and in St. Petersburg, Russia. The author of over twenty books and plays, Arthur was a finalist for Poet Laureate of Virginia in 2008 and 2010. He has won awards in four genres, including poetry and drama, as well as criticism. In fiction, he won the Mary Ann Farley Award both for Storm Caller and for Master William and the Finman in consecutive years at the Virginia Writer's Conference.

Jeff Hewitt

Jeff Hewitt is a co-founder of the Hampton Roads' performance poetry scene dating back to the 90s, an interdisciplinary artist, actor, musician, and an award winning photographer. He has been an active participant on nearly every poetry stage throughout the 757 for two decades, and competed in poetry slams on a national level for ten years. He has authored three full collections of poetry as well as around twenty chapbooks. He is the owner and Editor-in-Chief of San Francisco Bay Press — which has been publishing poetry and prose since 2006. In January of 2018 he launched a web-based photojournalism site — The Norfolk Antonym, covering local arts, music, and politics. His photography has been featured at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. He was very recently elected President of the PSoV.

Patricia Fargnoli

Patricia Fargnoli, from Walpole NH was the New Hampshire Poet Laureate from 2006-2009. She’s published 5 books and 3 chapbooks of poetry. Her latest book is Hallowed, Tupelo Press, 2017. She’s published over 300 poems in literary journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, Massachusetts Review, Harvard Review et. al. A Macdowell Fellow and retired social worker she now teaches poetry privately.

Heather Bell

Heather Bell has published seven books. Her eighth is forthcoming with CLASH. She lives in upstate NY with her kids, prairie dog and weird boyfriend.

Arthur Hoffman

Arthur Hoffman is a native son of New Jersey. He has been a writer, printer, small press publisher, editor, and tech writer. His only poetry book still in print is On the Wings of an Ant from 1986. As a writer, he has specialized in shortness: poetry, short stories, articles, song lyrics, journalism, jokes for standup comics, and rantings on social media. He has also done stints as an actor, office drone, and, for the last 25 years, a cardiovascular technician.

John Hoppenthaler

John Hoppenthaler’s books of poetry are Lives of Water, Anticipate the Coming Reservoir, and Domestic Garden, all with Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays and interviews on the poetry of Jean Valentine, This-World Company (U Michigan P). ​For the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, he edits “A Poetry Congeries, and he serves on the advisory board for Backbone Press, dedicated to marginalized voices whose work may not be published elsewhere. He is a Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University.​​

Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley is the author of Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize; and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a memoir about living with disability. She also edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches with the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program.

Tom Williams

Tom Williams, author of several volumes of poetry, is a professor and writer who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia and runs a horror film blog in his spare time.

Luisa Igloria

Luisa A. Igloria is one of 2 Co-Winners of the 2019 Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in 2020). She is also the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. Former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey selected her chapbook What is Left of Wings, I Ask as the 2018 recipient of the Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Poetry Chapbook award. Other works include The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2018), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (2014 May Swenson Prize, Utah State University Press), and 12 other books. She is a Louis I. Jaffe Endowed Professor and University Professor of English and Creative Writing, and she teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. Her website is: www.luisaigloria.com

James Owens

James Owens lives in Wabash, Indiana. Two books of his poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, stories, translations, and photographs appear widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in Superstition Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Cresset, Poetry Ireland Review, and The Stinging Fly.

Greg Donovan

Gregory Donovan has authored the poetry collections Torn from the Sun (Red Hen Press), a finalist for the 2016 Julie Suk Award, and Calling His Children Home (University of Missouri Press), winner of the Devins Award for Poetry. With his wife, the writer/director Michele Poulos, he produced A Late Style of Fire, the feature-length documentary on the life and work of the poet Larry Levis. Donovan is a founding faculty member of Virginia Commonwealth University’s graduate creative writing program, and he is senior editor of the online journal Blackbird.

Margaret Mackinnon

Margaret Mackinnon is the author of Naming the Natural World, which won The Sow Ear’s Poetry Review chapbook competition and was published in 2018. Her first full-length collection, The Invented Child, won the Gerald Cable Book Award and the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Poetry. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Poetry, Image, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, and New England Review. Other awards include the Graybeal-Gowen Award from Shenandoah, the Richard Eberhart Prize from Florida State University, and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Joshua Poteat

Joshua Poteat’s most recent book, The Regret Histories (HarperCollins, 2015), won the 2014 National Poetry Series prize. He is also the author of Illustrating the Machine that Makes the World (University of Georgia Press, 2009) and Ornithologies (Anhinga Press, 2006), as well as three chapbooks: The Scenery of Farewell and Hello Again (Diode Editions, 2014), For the Animal (Diagram/New Michigan Press, 2013), and Meditations (Poetry Society of America's National Chapbook Prize, 2004). In 2015, he was awarded the Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry. Joshua lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he works as a copy editor at The Martin Agency.

J. Scott Wilson

J. Scott Wilson is an opaque surfaced, three-dimensional, somewhat sentient life form. He has resided in Virginia for all of his 50 years, most of those in Hampton Roads. The current phase of his life has seen a significant output of poetry, much of that being concerned with how we humans treat each other. He also pursues ambitions as a novelist and social commentator. He can be found at poetry events all around Hampton Roads where he takes the stage under the name "Teech." He is also a key force behind Wider Perspectives Publishing.