Rattle Magazine: The Neil Postman Award for Metaphor
Rolling deadline, no fee
Congratulations to Rebecca Starks, winner of the 2018 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor for her poem "Open Carry", which appeared in Rattle's Poets Respond series last fall. The annual award gives $1,000 to the poet who made the most of metaphor in a poem published by Rattle in the previous year.
Some years the entire poem is a great extended metaphor. Other years it's a poem chock full of them. This year it was a bit of both. There are no rules, no entry fees—every poem submitted to Rattle is automatically considered. To enter your own, just follow the regular guidelines and choose an appropriate category on our Submittable portal. For more on Neil Postman and the importance of metaphor, and to read the past 12 winning poems, visit the award page.
Please enjoy the winning poem by Rebecca Starks:
What if each of their Lives had Stood,
a folded Umbrella, until that Day—
What if the National Umbrella Association
lobbied to change luck's laws
and we could open umbrellas in the house,
lay them on beds and give them as gifts—
and even on sunny days, carry them open
in night clubs and churches,
movie theaters and elementary schools,
offices and outdoor concerts—a real cause,
so we no longer had to leave them shut up
in closets or hanging on walls
or leaning against porch railings
or stashed in the drawers of bedside tables
in hotels—so that everyone could be prepared,
everyone be saved, the black honeycomb
of mourning stand its ground
shoulder to shoulder against the cloud's
It rains four inches a year in Las Vegas.
What if this isn't the time to talk about umbrellas?
I have one in my bag right now,
a Robinson, a Gamp, a spring-loaded automatic,
at a touch it will bloom
to receive the syncopated sound of rain
dancing, hopping on the taut roof
the way a gun can sound like firecrackers from the sky.
It's true there are still puddles and spray,
there is the lower half of you, the arm aches,
the skin blows inside out like a skirt in the wind.
See the man trying to keep a woman dry,
covering suede and silk and hair
with the shield of his body.
What if umbrellas don't keep you dry,
people keep you dry, and are broken trying.