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.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Click the poem's title to read. Use the back button at the bottom to return to this page.
All poems are copyrighted 2019 by their respective authors and may not be used elsewhere without their express permission.
|1st||When Morning Comes After Noon||DL Pearlman|
|1st||Zeno's Paradox||Bill Glose|
|2nd||Manicure for My Sister||Jean L. Kreiling|
|3rd||WINTER'S CUSP (A Sonnet)||Linda Kennedy Partee|
|1st||Carmen Aponte||Donna Isaac|
|2nd||One Summer With Claudia||Sarah E N Kohrs|
|3rd||The College Yearbook||Elizabeth Spencer Spragins|
|1st||Stars at Dusk||DL Pearlman|
|2nd||Department of Agriculture Photographer, 1943||Amelia L Williams|
|3rd||Farm Auction||Richard L Rose|
|2nd||As It Curves Beyond Memphis||Erin Newton Wells|
|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|
|1st||The Space Between||Sally Zakariya|
|2nd||Little Lincoln||Nan Ottenritter|
|3rd||SPACE ALIENS COME UPON THE DICTIONARY PAGE THAT STARTS WITH COLONEL BLIMPISM AND ENDS WITH COLORWAY||Tony Gentry|
|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|
|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|
|1st||Riverwater Slips Into Unshakable Night||Sarah E N Kohrs|
|1st||Necessary Lies||Bill Glose|
|2nd||When I Die||Jacqueline Jules|
|1st||The Lone Merganser||Greg Friedmann|
|Honorable Mention||Sparrows||Bill Glose|
|1st||Wheatfield with Crows||Erin Newton Wells|
|2nd||Hotel Lobby||Jean L. Kreiling|
|3rd||"Desmoiselles D'Avignon||Jane Ellen Glasser|
|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|
|1st||"Eyes Downcast"||Katharyn Howd Machan|
|2nd||Running Eulogy||Amanda Sue Creasey|
|3rd||Narcan||Eric James Forsbergh|
|Honorable Mention||Yellow Balloon||Larry R. Turner|
|1st -- tied||A Chinese Birdcage||Erin Newton Wells|
|1st -- tied||Recovering||Kindra McDonald|
|3rd||The Foreclosure||M. Lee Alexander|
|1st||Reverse Lottery||DL Pearlman|
|2nd||For A Tobacco Factory Trash Compactor||Derek Kannemeyer|
|3rd||The Measure of Time||Erin Newton Wells|
|1st||Drink and Be Whole Again||Erin Newton Wells|
|3rd||Tangier Island||Chapman Hood Frazier|
|1st||Encounter Near Aldie, Virginia||Donna Isaac|
|3rd||Marie Kondo||Christian Aguiar|
|1st||Father's Funeral||Chapman Hood Frazier|
|2nd||On Wrestling My 15 Year Old Son||Kathy Cable Smaltz|
|3rd||Shark-Mouthed Skies||Bill Glose|
|1st||Frozen||Kathy Cable Smaltz|
|3rd||The Exile of Polymer Adam||Allen M Weber|
|1st||Reading Chinese Poetry||Ruth Holzer|
|2nd||At Cancer Surgery||Richard L Rose|
|Honorable Mention||The Clever Jack Pine||Jacqueline Jules|
|1st||The Knife-Switch||Richard L Rose|
|2nd||I Talk Too Much||Jerri Hardesty|
|3rd||Black Cat Halloween||Adele Gardner|
|1st||Clouds Cloak Like a Pallid Night||Sarah E N Kohrs|
|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|
|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|
|1st||The Wasting Hydrangea||Erin Newton Wells|
|2nd||Burrowing||Chapman Hood Frazier|
|3rd||DIY Repairs||Amelia L Williams|
|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|
|1st||Continental Drift||Eliza Browning|
|2nd||A Beast Living Through Beauty||Shannon Gieseke|
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 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, 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 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 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’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 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, 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 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 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.
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 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’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.