Rita McGregor of Fargo, North Dakota Wins the Seventh Annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

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Rita McGregor is the winner of the seventh annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Tom Howard Books. This contest awarded $5,450 in cash prizes, including a top prize of $2,000, for the best original poems in any style or theme. McGregor's poem "Baby Girl", which contrasts the experiences of loved and neglected children, was judged the best of hundreds of entries from around the world. The top 15 winners and runners-up are published at http://www.winningwriters.com/tompoetry

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Rita McGregor has wedded theme, narrative and moral with such perfection, the poem engagingly flows and makes its devastating point with seemingly no effort on the poet's part at all. Now this is truly what the art of writing is all about!

Tom Howard Books is pleased to announce the results from its seventh annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest. Rita McGregor of Fargo, North Dakota won first prize and $2,000 for her poem "Baby Girl". Hundreds of entries were received from around the world.

McGregor's poignant poem begins with the narrator watching an older man indulge his playful little girl at the bus stop. Though the pair don't seem to have much money, they are rich in love toward one another. The sweet scene touches the narrator with sadness as she recalls her own mother's crueler reaction to her youthful escapades. Contest judges John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad said, "Rita McGregor has wedded theme, narrative and moral with such perfection, the poem engagingly flows and makes its devastating point with seemingly no effort on the poet's part at all. Now this is truly what the art of writing is all about!"

Second prize of $1,000 went to Carmine Dandrea for "In the Delhi Station", a stately and lyrical reminiscence of a journey through India, in which time slows down and small details take on vivid interest while the narrator waits for his stalled train to restart. The judges said, "The dualistic themes of time and train, observer and observed are introduced right from the very opening lines. The writer then expands upon this theme magnificently in the body of the poem with his brilliant idea of using the train's super-polished wooden panels as a reflective (in both senses of that word) mirror."

Tony Peyser won third prize and $500 for "What I Did in the 20th Century", an engaging epic in light verse that surveys the iconic moments of the past 100 years. The judges said, "Here is a poem that deliberately calls attention to itself and challenges the reader to admire its facility."

Susan J. Katz won fourth prize and $250 for "The Bowpicker", a narrative in which two visits to a seabird-watching festival, three decades apart, reveal the differences between youthful romance and long-married love. The judges said, "The poet majors on what she actually saw at the Annual Seabird Festival and what she expected to see. The joy of reading these verses does not just rely on that contrast, however, but on the unusual yet amazing subject matter which is so deftly and unobtrusively introduced into the natural flow of the poem."

Five High Distinction awards of $200 each went to Mary Jean Chan, Joseph Gorman, Susan Keith, Joseph A. Soldati, and Gisela Vigil. Seven Highly Commended awards of $100 went to Clyta Coder, Elizabeth Davies, Harry E. Gilleland, Jr., Joseph Gorman, Martin Steele, and Marie Delgado Travis (two awards). The winning entries are published online at WinningWriters.com.

About Tom Howard Books and John H. Reid

The Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest accepts original poems of any length, style or theme. Both published and unpublished works are accepted. The eighth annual contest opened on December 15, 2009 and will be accepting entries through the postmark deadline of September 30, 2010. The prize pool is $5,550, with a top prize of $3,000. Entries are accepted online and by mail. See the complete guidelines at WinningWriters.com/tompoetry

Contest sponsor and final judge John H. Reid is a former journalist and magazine editor who has published several novels, a collection of poetry, a guide to winning literary contests and fifteen books of film criticism and movie history. He lives in Wyong, Australia. Mr. Reid is assisted in the judging by Dee C. Konrad. A leading educator and published author, Ms. Konrad was Associate Professor in the English faculty of Barat College of DePaul University, and served as Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the year 2000-2001.

About Winning Writers, Inc.

Winning Writers assists with entry handling and publicity for the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest and other literary contests sponsored by Tom Howard Books. Winning Writers is today's leading source for poetry contest information. We have been selected as one of the "101 Best Websites for Writers" by Writer's Digest for five years in a row (2005-2009). Our online database, Poetry Contest Insider, ranks and profiles over 750 literary contests. Our free email newsletter offers news about free poetry and prose contests and quality literary resources.

Winning Writers was founded in 2001 by Jendi Reiter and Adam R. Cohen. Learn more at http://www.winningwriters.com

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