I chose Ms. Pylant's poem as first prize because it shows technical skill wedded to a complex understanding of human motivation: how the oppressed becomes the oppressor, and how we often squander the 'mercy and grace' we are given. We empathize with the characters even as we condemn their choices, or wonder uncomfortably how we might have reacted in their place.
Northampton, MA (PRWEB) November 15, 2008
Winning Writers is pleased to announce the results from its seventh annual War Poetry Contest. Aliene Pylant of Dallas, TX won first prize and $2,000 for her poem "Unerring Mercy and Pure Grace", which juxtaposes two narratives of fathers, daughters, and conflicted loyalties in 15th-century Spain. A young princess Isabel prays for deliverance from marriage to a brutal lecher, but her gratitude to Christ expresses itself in Crusades and Inquisition, forcing another young woman to choose between her Jewish father and her Christian lover, with tragic consequences.
682 entries of 1-3 poems each were received from around the world. They were judged by Jendi Reiter, award-winning author of A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003).
Ms. Reiter comments, "It is difficult to generalize about this year's winners, given the welcome diversity of topics and styles, but we did receive an unusually strong selection of poems about the aftermath of war, and its impact on soldiers' families. Our winners...plumbed the mystery of how violence is passed down through generations, in individual families as well as nations and cultures. These characters are caught in a web of suffering and retribution that is only dimly visible to them, but illuminated for us, the readers...
"I chose Ms. Pylant's poem as first prize because it shows technical skill wedded to a complex understanding of human motivation: how the oppressed becomes the oppressor, and how we often squander the 'mercy and grace' we are given. We empathize with the characters even as we condemn their choices, or wonder uncomfortably how we might have reacted in their place."
David Brendan Hopes of Asheville, NC won second prize and $1,200 for "In the First Days of the War" and "Memorial Day". In these poems, the heroic beauty of young men killed in war inspires the narrator to believe, despite the violence and cynicism of the present age, that redemption and peace are possible.
Jude Nutter of Edina, MN won third prize and $600 for a group of three poems: In "Via Negativa" and "Visiting Uncle Peter's Grave", Nutter reconstructs the life of her uncle, an RAF pilot killed in World War II. In the absence of facts, he becomes a symbol of self-transcendence. In "Carolina Grasshoppers", a school dissection project becomes an almost mystical experience of beauty and fragility, as anatomical discoveries in the laboratory mirror the young narrator's first sex with a boy who would soon "die, facedown, in the wet heath of the Falklands".
Twelve honorable mention awards of $100 were also made, bringing the prize total to $5,000. The winners and 11 finalists are published at WinningWriters.com.
About the War Poetry Contest
The War Poetry Contest is sponsored by Winning Writers. It seeks original, unpublished poems on the theme of war. Contestants may submit 1-3 poems, up to 500 lines in all. Submissions for the 2009 contest are accepted from November 15, 2008 through May 31, 2009. The prize pool is $5,000, including a first prize of $2,000. Entries are accepted online and by mail. The entry fee is $15. For more information, please see WinningWriters.com.
Please feel free to request additional information or permission to reprint poems, or to arrange interviews with the contest winners.
About Winning Writers, Inc.
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 four years in a row (2005-08). Our online database, Poetry Contest Insider, includes complete guidelines and rankings for over 750 poetry contests, plus over 300 of the top fiction and essay contests. Our free email newsletter offers news about quality free contests and literary resources. Winning Writers sponsors two annual contests, the War Poetry Contest and the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest.
Winning Writers was founded in 2001 by Jendi Reiter and Adam Cohen. Learn more at http://www.winningwriters.com