2013 Poetry Contest Winners
Split This Rock is thrilled to announce the winners of our sixth annual poetry contest, judged by 2008 featured poet Mark Doty.
Mark Doty's Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. Doty is the author of eight books of poems and four volumes of nonfiction prose including Dog Years, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2007. Doty’s poems have appeared in many magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The New Yorker. Widely anthologized, his poems appear in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry and many other collections. Doty's work has been honored by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction and the Witter Byner Prize. He is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K., and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ingram Merrill and Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2011 Doty was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. His new book, A Swarm, A Flock, A Host: A Compendium of Creatures will be out March 2013.
- First Prize: "Nocturne: Beheaded" by Saeed Jones.
......Saeed receives $500, free festival registration, and an invitation to read the winning poem at Split This Rock Poetry Festival in March 2014.
- Second Prize: "Fall" by Tara Burke, Norfolk, Virginia.
......Tara receives $250 and free registration at the 2014 festival.
- Third Prize: (tie)
"Eighteen" by Lauren K. Alleyne, Dubuque, Iowa
"Certain Seams" by Jill Khoury, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
......Lauren and Jill will receive $250 and free registration at the 2014 festival.
- "The Tenth Time" by Meryl Natchez
- "What Lies Beneath" by Cynthia Manick
- "Yes, we the young widows" by M
- "Interchangeable Genitals" by Aimee Herman
- "John Brown, Osowatomie, Kansas, September 1856" by Veronica Golos
- "For My Daughter" by Michelle Regalado Deatrick
"War of Attrition" by HV Cramond
- "Bye Boy" by Emily Brandt
- "Blue Land" by Linda Beeman
- "Suicide High" by Christopher Adamson
We are grateful to Mark Doty and all the poets for their submissions. We hope you will consider sharing your work with us in future years. Submission fees help support the mission of Split This Rock, integrating the poetry of provocation and witness into public life and supporting the poets who do this vital work.
...............for Thapelo Makutle
All throat now.....already brighter than the stars.
I could hold you in my song. Sotto voce, tremble
against me: a breeze slips in, cools my blood
to garnet.....bed stained with stones, cold and finally
useless...........I Orpheo,.....I lyre. Down river, even damned
with hum, there is room for your cry in my mouth......Sweet,
sweet sotto voce, I sang your moan until.....the machete
swung.....then I kept singing. I eyeless,.....I eternal.
The guards hold blades to the sky and cut the dark open.
Do you hear me raining..........from the wound? My tongue
is a kingdom......You live there.
Saeed Jones received his MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University – Newark. His chapbook When The Only Light is Fire is available from Sibling Rivalry Press. His work has recently appeared in Ebony, The Rumpus, Guernica, Hayden's Ferry Review and Quarterly West. He is the recipient of fellowships from Queer / Arts / Mentors and Cave Canem and several Pushcart Prize nominations. In February 2013, he will join BuzzFeed as the editor of BuzzFeed LGBT.
When we met we fell for each other like leaves.
Behind black curtains your bedroom was always dark
except for unexpected soft-yellow walls. Your dogs
would lie behind the closed door, waiting quietly
to be let in between us. Later, we became
four sloppy beings intertwined: fur, legs, breasts, sheets
skin, slobber, scents—all sleepy and sweet together, snoozing
until the bedroom’s next dark noon. We slipped pink steaks
between our wine-stained cuspids one night, chewing
and chatting by autumn city fire pit, enjoying the slow
getting-to-know-yous necessary to make something more
than just sex. Why would you want to fight in Iraq? I asked
between bloody bites, knowing the wrong answer might set
me off, make me primal, an animal wanting nothing more
than a few more nights: tipsy urge-easing evenings. Nothing more.
Your answers always surprised me. You taught me
more than I’d bargained for, the old me ready to run with one
wrong answer about war. You made me listen, and your body
suspended my judgment long enough to fall quickly. I worried
every night that I’d become a dry winter earth, cracked and cold
from holding in all the protest, just to experience, just once
what it was like to fall in love. That night, we took the fire
to the bedroom again. I expected the slow honey we’d made
to cool off, change shape. But I ate the thick sugar and finally
let go. I dreamt of you behind steel Navy-Walls at sea, not
active but present, taking down American-made enemies, awoke
in the dark and touched your skin, understood your choices
like most things that live in the raw honey between extremes. We
were two women finding beauty in clichés, in differences,
in overlaps, the sweet burn of sun on our skin as we fell to the ground.
Tara Shea Burke earned her M.F.A. in poetry from Old Dominion University in May 2012. She also holds a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies, and has traveled to South Africa and Senegal to work with and offer service to NGOs. She has served as poetry editor for Barely South Review, will guest edit for The Quotable in Spring 2013, and teaches writing composition and literature. Burke also teaches an LGBT-centered creative writing course at The Muse, a non-profit community-writing center in Norfolk Virginia. She has an essay in the forthcoming book Loving The L Word: The Full Series in Focus titled “Why The Real L Word Matters: Community and Lesbian Sex, In The Flesh.” Her poems are featured in The Quotable, Switched-on Gutenberg
THIRD PRIZE (tie)
"Eighteen" by Lauren Alleyne (PDF)
Lauren K. Alleyne is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Cornell University, and is currently the Poet-in-Residence and an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque. A Cave Canem graduate, her work has been awarded prizes such as the 2010 Small Axe Literary prize, the 2003 Atlantic Monthly Student Poetry Prize, the Robert Chasen Graduate Poetry Prize at Cornell, among others. She has been published in several journals and anthologies, including Crab Orchard Review, The Cimarron Review, Black Arts Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, The Belleview Literary Review, Growing Up Girl and Gathering Ground. She is co-editor of From the Heart of Brooklyn, and Youth Gallery; her chapbook, Dawn In The Kaatskills, was published in 2008 by Longshore Press.
"Certain Seams" by Jill Khoury
earned her Masters of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Sentence
, Hayden’s Ferry Review
, Harpur Palate
, and RHINO
. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice by Breath and Shadow: A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature,
and has a chapbook, Borrowed Bodies
, from Pudding House Press.
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