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"Dead Center" by Dinah Kudatsky, Honorable Mention in the 2005 War Poetry Contest

Featured Poem:
"Urginea Maritima"

Featured Poem:
"Song for Rana"

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"The Most Exquisite Corpse" by Wilhelmina Hemmingway, Honorable Mention in the 2003 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

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Award-Winning Poems: Fall 2007

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Welcome to our Fall 2007 selection of award-winning poems. These quarterly specials are included with your free Winning Writers Newsletter subscription. We'll release our next regular newsletter on September 15.

Lost one of our newsletters? Message garbled in transmission? Not to worry. All our recent newsletters and specials are posted online at

Jendi Reiter has won first prize in the 2007 Elizabeth Simpson Smith Award for a Short Story for "The Albatross", an excerpt from her novel-in-progress. This contest from the Charlotte Writers' Club offers a top prize of $500. Ms. Reiter will read her work at the award ceremony at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in the Southpark Mall, 4345 Barclay Downs Drive, Charlotte, NC on September 18, 7-9pm. The next submission period is March 1-May 31, 2008. "The Albatross" also won an honorable mention in the spring 2007 Fog City Writers Short Story & Poetry Contest. The most recent deadline for this $1,000 prize from a San Francisco arts organization was July 31. Fog City Writers contests are offered several times a year, but the next deadline has not yet been announced.

Congratulations to Martin Steele. His poem "Urginea Maritima" won one of the second prizes in the Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International. He kindly shares his poem with us below. The Dancing Poetry Contest offers prizes up to $100 plus the opportunity to have your poem presented as an interpretive dance at the annual Dancing Poetry Festival. This year's festival will take place on September 29 from noon to 4 PM at the Florence Gould Theater, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco. Buy tickets here. The most recent deadline was May 15.

Congratulations to Charlotte Muse. Her poem "Song for Rana" won the 2007 W.B. Yeats Society Annual Poetry Competition, judged by Marie Ponsot. This award includes $250, web publication and an award ceremony at the elegant, prestigious National Arts Club in New York City. The most recent deadline was February 1. Ms. Muse writes, "I'm a total fan of Winning Writers—thanks for a wonderful service!" She kindly shares her poem with us below.

Closing This Month
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its fifth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. 30 cash prizes totaling $3,500 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,000. The entry fee is $6 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2008
Now in its 16th year. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded, plus five High Distinction awards of $200 each and five Most Highly Commended Awards of $100 each. Submit any type of short story, essay or other work of prose, up to 5,000 words. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. $12 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2008
Winning Writers invites you to enter the seventh annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, called "infamous" by Writer's Digest. Fifteen cash prizes totaling $3,336.40 will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,359. There is no fee to enter. Judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

If you enjoy using The Best Free Poetry Contests, consider upgrading to Poetry Contest Insider. The Best Free Poetry Contests profiles the 150 or so poetry contests that are free to enter. With your Poetry Contest Insider subscription, you'll get access to all of our 750+ poetry contest profiles, plus over 100 of the best prose contests. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. Access to Poetry Contest Insider is just $6.95 per quarter, with a free 10-day trial at the start. Cancel at any time.

Most contests charge entry fees. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars and many hours entering these contests each year. Don't waste your time or money. Out of hundreds of contests, there might only be two or three dozen that are especially appropriate for your work. We help you find them fast. Interviews and links to award-winning work help you refine your craft. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.



by Theodore Worozbyt
Winner of the 2007 Juniper Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: September 29
This prestigious manuscript contest, offering $1,500 and publication by the University of Massachusetts Press, alternates between a first-book prize (deadlines in odd-numbered years) and a prize for subsequent books (deadlines in even-numbered years). Accordingly, the contest that closes September 29, 2007 is open to authors with no prior published poetry books of 45+ pages. Worozbyt, author of the prizewinning collection Letters of Transit (forthcoming in 2008), gently puts a well-known poetic mood in perspective in this eloquent poem.

by Susanna Childress
Winner of the 2005 Brittingham Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: September 30
The University of Wisconsin Press sponsors the Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes, two open manuscript contests offering $1,000, a $1,500 honorarium for reading in Madison, WI, and publication. This tenderly erotic poem from Childress' prizewinning collection Jagged With Love imagines the boundaries of self and species dissolving in the primal waters of intimacy.

by F. Daniel Rzicznek
Winner of the 2007 May Swenson Poetry Award
Postmark Deadline: September 30
This high-profile open manuscript contest offers $1,000 and publication by Utah State University Press. This poem from Rzicznek's prizewinning collection Neck of the World explores the landscape of associations—some bucolic, some sinister—that the brain automatically creates around a familiar phrase.

We are gathering a growing library of award-winning poems in Poetry Contest Insider, over 80 to date. Enjoy a wide range of today's best work. Sign up for a free trial.





by Dinah Kudatsky

We'll hit dead center. The center is dead
Baghdad, the dead center, the bloody center
Baghdad, the center with the cherry filling
A painless Pac-man pogrom, Nintendo warriors in a flawless execution
We send our hamburger-helper heroes to render their Captain Video carnage
as we hunker down in the living room with the nut mix

The history of the world has always been written by idiot Promethean punks
       on Harleys.
Each time, they say, this war is the good war.
This war can fill the dead center in you with a creamy cherry filling

And they tell us this war has powerful cleaning agents!
and they tell us this war is ready in minutes at the touch of a button!
and they tell us this war can make its own gravy!
This war, they say, will not harm your fine washables!
this war, they say, has been sanitized for your comfort and safety!
this war can be yours for just pennies a day!
(Why, even a child can operate this war!)

While CNN kills CBS in the ratings war
computer-chip gladiators slap a high five under Old Gory
pound each other on the back like the Giants pounded the Bills
like they are pounding Baghdad.
Better than a first down,
better than the best lay,
better than a close-out sale at the mall

In school, tow-headed children salute the red, white, and brutal
In school, they'll see historic videos of their fathers—
helmeted electron cowboys framed against a telegenic Arabian moon.

Now the Bush-master[1] lies with his five-sided mistress
There is some massive dysfunction in his love organ
He cannot contain himself. He commits premature annihilation
His mistress won't tell him he's a lousy lover
Clytemnestra[2], we await your avenging sword!

When you have a dead center, you can aim dead center
The Bush-master hits a bull's eye with his own bull in the dead center of America
He dreams of mobile launchers erecting
of cruise missiles cruising the soft creamy center of Mesopotamia
He sniffs and drools at the crotch of Mesopotamia
Naked in his aggression, he bites, the cherry goo center he bites, gushing
       red and black
and this is how he gets his rockets off
He dreams of oil gushing in rivers from Al Jazirah to Corpus Christi,
(this is my body this is my blood)
the Bush-master, in a sacrament from hell, in a ballistic frenzy, turns cannibalistic
chews off his own lips: we read his bloody lips
History is being written in a children's video arcade!
History is being written in the electronic cathedral!
History is being written in the sanitized lysol apocalypse!

The conquering blackhead[3] Norman brushes aside rumors of collateral damage,
like flies at a banquet. (He says America is well-aimed).
While children scream under their beds, drowned out by the screams of
        approaching B-52s
The Tigris, Euphrates, and Potomac are now joined at the mouth of the river Styx
While Mesopotamia bleeds black, the ink runs red
The CBS eye winks at the powerful. Peter Jennings dreams of a 30 share,
and in a fit of patriotism, the NBC peacock buries its own head in the sand

And Saddam, invited to dinner, is locked in the pantry
The state department has re-arranged all the chairs!
He hears them laugh, "Now there's more for us!"
He peers through a window, sees a carcass dead center, carved by psychopathic
They dip their oily fingers in bowls of fragrant water, awaiting dessert.

And Saddam sits on the golden throne of his imagination.
Dreams of Bush beheaded. Dreams that he has become Saladin, conquerer of
Spouts the poetry of holy death. Spills blood like sacramental wine
Crushes his people like a pomegranate

Each day these two grow more and more alike, the oilman and the sandman
They wear the same shrunken-head necklaces
Each faces Mecca, suitors holding poison bouquets
Dangling two pieces of the broken heart of the world, each worn on a golden chain
by two lovers who have not yet met

And what is the sound that the soul makes when it leaves the body in Baghdad?
in Kuwait? in Tel Aviv? in Amherst? (It goes whoosh.)
Hundreds of thousands hurtling through a hoop of flames—
The mother of all wars is eating her young! She doesn't know how to stop!
Even Moloch[4] is bloated and belching!

Now they sit very close, the firebombed, the crushed, the executed
They whisper to one another in an ancient tongue we can no longer understand.
They have become candles on the table in the house of a terrible god.

My dreams are all the power I have
I dream the Bush-master, in a convulsion of Manifest Destiny, devours his own tail.
I dream he is strangled by miles of yellow ribbon
I dream he is torched by a thousand points of light
I dream he becomes a burning Bush, by fury engulfed, by fury extinguished

And as we now pause for nation identification
I dream a crazy dream — that I've sent for that Clapper thing on t.v.
and I plug the war in, and turn this war off with just two claps
Then, we get to sleep the sleep of brothers and sisters hear only the sound of a
       whispering sigh
and dream an arabesque of cypress and elm

I think that life loves life still
The grass will grow again on the scorched earth
The mosque, the church, the temple, all
by war, peeled open to the ceiling of heaven itself
might now invite... a larger God.


[1] Bush-master
Slang term for a 12-foot pit viper, a venomous snake

[2] Clytemnestra
King Agamemnon's wife. He slew their daughter to insure a Trojan War victory. Clytemnestra murdered him to avenge the deed.

[3] blackhead
Translation of (General) Schwarzkopf

[4] Moloch
The deity to whom children are burnt in sacrifice

Copyright 2005 Dinah Kudatsky

This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2005 War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.



Lucidity Poetry JournalLucidity Poetry Journal
Lucidity Poetry Journal, now in its 22nd year of publication, is seeking poems dealing with all the facets of human experience such as life, love, loss, joy, sorrow, hope, disappointment—all those elements faced by people in human relationships and daily events. We want poems that are lucid and clear in diction and deal with everyday issues, avoiding vulgarities and jabberwocky. We also avoid political and religious verse, as well as purely nature poems: such as butterflies, sunsets, birds, etc. We are open to any format: formal or free verse but it is important to read our guidelines before submitting poetry. We do not consider email submissions.

If your work is accepted for publication, you will receive modest payment (from $1 to $15), plus a free copy of that issue. We do charge a small entry/reading fee to pay the publication and postage expenses of our journal. Please email us for submission details or visit our website: (the 00 are zeros). In addition to our twice-yearly journal, we also publish chapbooks for poets at a reasonable cost if you wish to have your poems in a book. Contact us for details and prices.

Response has been good to a new concept in publishing that we have developed which we call a Mini-Chapbook, featuring a 12-page booklet containing 8 of your poems with an attractive cover showing title, your name and illustration. These booklets are great for mailing or giveaways, and are far cheaper than a greeting card. Send $1 for a sample of the Mini-Chapbook. It's an easy way to get your poems in print in a professional venue.

In April 2008 we shall sponsor the 16th annual Lucidity Ozark Poetry Retreat at Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This 3-day event features lectures, critiquing groups, read-arounds and fellowship with poets from across the country. We have booked 30 rooms for the 2008 gathering. Registration fee for all 3 days is only $35. For details, please write to Lucidity Poetry Journal, Ted Badger–Editor, 14781 Memorial Drive, No. 10, Houston, TX 77079-5210, USA, or email

Also, check out our Lucidity Poetry Journal Awards in Winning Writers' guide to The Best Free Poetry Contests. The postmark deadline is October 31 for submissions.

Rachel Basch
Announcing the 2nd Annual Litchfield Review Writers' Conference at Chase Collegiate School
Saturday, October 20, 2007, 9am-5pm
St. Margaret's Hall, 565 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT (see map)

Keynote Speaker: Novelist Rachel Basch, author of Degrees of Love and The Passion of Reverend Nash

Workshops with novelist Kay Abella, novelist Chantel Acevedo, nonfiction magazine writer Chris Dannen, publisher/author Patricia D'Ascoli, composer/researcher Janet Marlow, editor Laura Hazard Owen, magazine writer Colleen Plimpton, children's author Nan Rossiter, editor Keneisha Sinclair and poet/author Theresa C. Vara

To reserve a place, please register online at or make your $100 check payable to The Litchfield Review Writers' Conference and mail to:

     Mary Donnarumma Sharnick, Editor
     The Litchfield Review
     7 Bonna Street
     Beacon Falls, CT 06403

Questions? Please contact Mary at 203-723-9321 or at

Martina NewberryOn Sale Now: After the Earthquake

Martina Newberry's haunting and passionate new book, After the Earthquake, calls us to open ourselves to all things human. Says Saul Landau, author and award-winning filmmaker, "...Martina Reisz Newberry embodies the enigmatic brilliance of Emily Dickinson and the working class insights of the great singer-poet John Prine..." This book, as all her books have been, is available from most online bookstores, or order directly from the author. Website:

Excerpts from After the Earthquake...
From "The Full Moon Rises"
In that sickly hour between light and dark, there is the screaming
of a Summer lost. At the door of an office,
there is the screaming of shadows and paradigms.

My skeleton dreams have laughed at me long
enough for settling with a blanket and
pacifier when I should have been spreading
out over the days like raging clouds.
You've heard it here first. I am not sorry.

From "A Knot of Sorrow Caught Forever In My Throat"
Last night, we cut our eyes toward each other, smiled one-sided smiles.
We were not worried about spiritual enhancements or mantras or prayer beads. We lifted our glasses and pretended that our hearts were not as open as our eyes hoped to be.

Ron N. Cervero's Cranial Speedway, On Sale at
Ron Cervero's Barbaric Yawp
In a long tradition of "outside" poets, from Whitman's "barbaric yawp" through Bukowski, comes Ron Cervero, who has crafted a volume of short rough poems which primarily are written as responses to daily occurrences, or, more often, outrages. The outrage is keenly felt, and Mr. Cervero's responses are often bitter and sardonic.

Cranial Speedway by Ron Cervero "Cervero claims not to have read Bukowski before writing this volume and while comparisons, especially eternally being at odds with the Establishment, are evident, these poems are as fragmentary and episodic as, say, videotaping a hanging surreptitiously with a cell phone. Still, they add to define the personality of the poet, whose tattooed legs and torso are displayed on the cover and whose unique view becomes more clear with each poem." —Professor David Mix, Northeast Review

by Ron Cervero

Cannibals gather
For the feast of knowledge
Devouring themselves
In games of fire & instinct.
In desperation,
Lost kings search for the King
Anointed in love.
Shepard's forked tongues
Breed wounded warriors.
Share me not in the
Bounty of bitter roots,
And darkened dreams.
Cleanse me in Lion's blood.

Copyright 2006 Ron Cervero

The Book of Hopes and Dreams On Sale Now: The Book Of Hopes And Dreams

This poetry anthology raises money for the Medical Aid (Afghanistan) appeal of the Glasgow-based charity Spirit Aid, (an entirely volunteer-run organization, headed by Scottish actor and director David Hayman).

Funds raised from sales of The Book Of Hopes And Dreams will go towards providing mobile clinics, doctors, nurses and medicines for the people of the far-flung mountainous region of Baglan in North East Afghanistan, where the population had not received any modern medical care for 25 years, until Spirit Aid raised funds for their first mobile clinic. Spirit Aid hopes to be able to raise enough money to provide at least a further five mobile clinics, which would enable them to provide a basic service to the entire population of Baglan province.

The aim of The Book Of Hopes And Dreams is two-fold: to raise funds for Spirit Aid; and to spread a message of hope. With such an ethos, this anthology has attracted contributions of a very high caliber from some of the finest and most influential contemporary poets, including: Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Heath-Stubbs, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage, Tony Harrison, Alasdair Gray, Edwin Morgan, Penelope Shuttle, Anne Stevenson, Jon Stallworthy, Alan Brownjohn, Ruth Fainlight, David Constantine, Moniza Alvi, Cyril Dabydeen, Elaine Feinstein, Vicki Feaver, Michael Horovitz, Tom Leonard, Robert Mezey, Lawrence Sail, Jay Ramsay, Charles Ades Fishman, Geoffrey Godbert and Ian Duhig, amongst others.

The Book Of Hopes And Dreams can be ordered in any High Street bookstore in the UK. It can be purchased worldwide via the publisher, Bluechrome, or from Amazon (UK), or from Waterstones.

From The Book of Homes and Dreams...
by Edwin Morgan

Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening
a young man and two girls, under the Christmas lights —
The young man carries a new guitar in his arms,
the girl on the inside carries a very young baby,
and the girl on the outside carries a chihuahua.
And the three of them are laughing, their breath rises
in a cloud of happiness, and as they pass
the boy says, "Wait till he sees this but!"
The chihuahua has a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a
    teapot holder,
the baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth
   like favours in a fresh sweet cake,
the guitar swells out under its milky plastic cover, tied
   at the neck with silver tinsel tape and a brisk sprig
   of mistletoe.
Orphean sprig! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua!
The vale of tears is powerless before you.
Whether Christ is born, or is not born, you
put paid to fate, it abdicates
            under the Christmas lights.
Monsters of the year
go blank, are scattered back,
can't bear this march of three.

— And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd
(yet not vanished, for in their arms they wind
the life of men and beasts, and music,
laughter ringing them round like a guard)
at the end of this winter’s day.

Robert Frost Foundation
Last Call!
11th Annual Robert Frost Foundation Annual Poetry Award
Postmark/Email Submission Deadline: September 15
The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its 11th Annual Award. The winner will receive $1,000 and an invitation to present the winning poem at the Frost Festival located at the Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence Street (at the intersection of Lawrence and Haverhill Streets) in Lawrence, MA 01841, on Saturday, October 27, 2007. Festival readers will include X.J. Kennedy, Rhina Espaillat, Jeffrey Harrison and others.

Please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information and one copy free of all identifying information. Mailing address: Robert Frost Foundation, Lawrence Library - 3rd Floor, 51 Lawrence Street, Lawrence, MA 01841. Email submissions are also accepted at Reading fees are $10 per poem (send fees via regular mail, please). Read last year's winning poem and this year's guidelines at Enjoy this audio recording (WAV file) of 2006 winner Rob Smith delivering his poem.

Voices Israel
Closing Next Month
The Eighteenth Annual Reuben Rose Poetry Competition
Sponsored by VOICES - Israel Group of Poets in English
Entries must be received by October 7 (rolling deadline)

Our annual poetry competition honors the memory of Reuben Rose (1921-1989), former Editor and one of the founding members of VOICES Israel. Reuben Rose worked for the encouragement and promotion of English Poetry in Israel. Entry fee: NIS15; US$5; €4; or £3 (pounds sterling) per poem (these currencies only, payment by cash or check, made payable to "Voices Israel"). Receipt of submission acknowledged if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope with appropriate Israeli postage, or enclose three International Reply Coupons (available from your post office). Please see our website at for more information.


Poem Format & Content
General, not necessarily on Jewish or Israeli subjects. Challenging, humorous and/or curious poetry is welcome. Poems should not be more than 40 lines, submitted in duplicate (one copy should NOT have any identifying information) and accompanied by a cover letter giving the titles of the poem(s) submitted, with your full name and address. You may enter as many poems as you wish at $5 etc. per poem. Entries received after the deadline will be automatically entered into the following year’s contest. Mail your entry to:
VOICES ISRAEL Group of Poets in Israel
P.O. Box 236
Kiryat Ata 28101

Entries are judged anonymously by Doug Holder, a Boston poet educated at Harvard and other universities. Founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. Widely published in many literary journals and anthologies. His two most recent poetry collections are Of All The Meals I Had Before: Poems About Food and Eating (Cervena Barva, 2007) and No One Dies at the Au Bon Pain (sunnyoutside, 2007). He has led many poetry workshops over the past five years and will be adjudicating two poetry workshops in Israel this December.

Winners will be notified personally. The results will be published online in December and in the Monthly VOICES Newsletter. Winning poems are collated as a group and distributed with the annual VOICES Israel edition. A public reading of the poems is held in Israel at a special evening devoted to poetry.

Writing It Real Now Open
Writing It Real Personal Essay Writing Contest
Postmark Deadline: December 1 (online submissions also accepted)

Sheila Bender's Writing It Real (, an online magazine for those who write from personal experience, announces its Fall 2007 personal essay contest with cash prizes:
First prize: $150 dollars
Second prize: $75 dollars
Third prize: $50 dollars

Each of the top three winners receives a copy of LifeJournal for Writers software with instructional exercises by Sheila. Ten Honorable Mentions receive detailed responses from Sheila.

Unpublished essays up to ten pages double-spaced may be submitted electronically at or mail hard copy to Writing It Real, 394 Colman Drive, Port Townsend, WA 98368 by December 1. A $15 contest reading fee must accompany each entry (pay by check for mailed entries, PayPal if submitted electronically). This fee entitles the entrant to a six-month subscription to Writing It Real. The magazine publishes one article a week and its archives contain weekly articles dating back to October 2001.

Winners announced by Christmas 2007. Author's name, title of the essay, phone number, address and email must be on a separate cover sheet. Entries will not be returned, so don't send originals. No SASE required as winners are announced by email. The winning essays are published in Writing It Real in January.

Visit Writing It Real for information about Sheila's online writing workshops and to sign up to receive email about these classes as well as her live seminars and the annual Writing It Real in Port Townsend Summer Writers' Conference.

The Litchfield Review
The Litchfield Review Writing Contest
Postmark Deadline: December 31
We seek poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction for our semi-annual magazine competition. Prose entries should be 3,000 words or less. Poetry entries may be of any length.

To be considered for both publication and a cash prize, please enclose $10 with each essay, short story, or set of 1-3 poems. Enclose $15 and you may submit an unlimited number of entries. Mail your manuscripts to:

     The Litchfield Review
     7 Bonna Street
     Beacon Falls, CT 06403

For more information and news about our ongoing writing contests, please check our website,, or contact Theresa C. Vara at

The Litchfield Review proudly congratulates Bobbi Dykema Katsanis as the First Prize winner of The Litchfield Review Spring 2007 Writing Contest. Her poem "Brother August: A Psalm" appears in the Spring issue.

The Litchfield Review proudly announces Marshall Leroy Smith as the Second Prize winner of The Litchfield Review Spring 2007 Writing Contest. His piece "The Mountains Divide" appears in the Spring issue.



Urginea Maritima
by Martin Steele

In Sardegna
Near Alghero
The clouds blow
Red-red-red rain
Onto the red-red-red soil
That surrounds her.

She silently stands
And supremely sways
In a soft-soft breeze
By the roadside
Leading from Capo Caccia;
An elegantly tall maiden
Swaying East and Westwards
Throughout the day and night
Every October.

Her smile entrances
And her careful elegance
Helps you fall in love

Listen carefully, carefully.
Hear low whispered refrains
That will haunt you.
You will dream of her
Long after
You have passed her by.

Walk on
Past her smiles and sways.
Do not disturb her,
For her goal
And fate in life
Is to await her lover
Who never returns.

And you will have to traverse
Many hidden shores
To find the likes of her again.

Inspired by Antonio-Richard-Monti,
Alghero, September 1998

Urginea Maritima is a graceful plant standing about one and one half meters high. They congregate in pairs but I have only seen them mainly growing alone in isolation from other plants. They are endowed with blonde strands falling from the top of the plant; almost like a young girl's tresses. There is an awe of femininity about them that tugs at the heart. They grow alongside roads and one has the impression that they scrutinise every passing person or car.

Copyright 2007 by Martin Steele

This poem won second prize in the 2007 Dancing Poetry Contest from Artists Embassy International.


Song for Rana
by Charlotte Muse

Epigraph: The frog (Rana; of the family Ranidae) is disappearing all over the world.

Come back to our dreams with your cold and warty skin
your sideways eyes
your splayed hands clothespin-fingered,
the litheness of your open thighs
ballooning of your singing throat

We knew before the forests came
and went that you were magic.
We'll look past your crude disguise,
we told you. Fetch the golden ball
and you shall sleep upon our pillows singing

We wove you in, we made you songs,
mm-hmm, mm-hmm,
We thought you were unpleasant but we did,
A prince of a fellow, all in all,
we listened for you spring and fall
mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm

When it was midnight, I held my breath
and kissed him handsome.
He waltzed me to my room.

Kick your shoes off, do not fear,
bring that bottle over here,
he sang, and I did. Outside,
under a black and silver sky
the voices of a thousand frogs
rang like muffled bells.

But who needs the frog
when the prince is underneath?
we asked ourselves,
netting frogs from their dank ponds
by the thousands. We'd hand one,
pickled in formaldehyde,
limp as a potholder,
to any biology student
who'd mine for the giblet heart,
the intestines rolled neatly as socks in a suitcase.

Such uses they found
for your body, Rana!
We've seen what makes you tick.
We know what makes you croak.

And now you answer
with an awful silence.

Please. Don't go.
We want you back.
We see now what we've broken.
We didn't mean to break it
break it   break it.   We didn't
mean to break it.

Copyright 2007 by Charlotte Muse

This poem won the 2007 W.B. Yeats Society Annual Poetry Competition.



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by Wilhelmina Hemmingway

Darling, dimpled, explosive posterior!
— unless Superman or Big Bird
lifts it into the white, fluffy new-fallen snow
It was a thumb I saw floating on the slick.
(inchoate my pancreas dreaming of your ultrasuede lips,
your red hot words: boiled lobster claws, rending my heart)
There are no metaphors in heaven.
(I've measured it from side to side,
'Tis three feet long and two feet wide.)
It mattered as much as a flea's fart in a hurricane.
There was a girl standing by a lake, her luminous form shadowed by a nimbus
       of moon.
Those purple bruises, your love bites on my neck,
love loves a pogo without its stick.
A good puke lessens the heart's burden.

Copyright 2003 Wilhelmina Hemmingway

Sent as a joke to, this poem received an honorable mention in the 2003 Wergle Flomp parody poetry contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Wilhelmina Hemmingway is a pseudonym for a group of poets who belong to the Wom-Po women's poetry discussion listserv. See the judge's comments on winning poems from this contest.


Winners Announced for the Fourth Annual Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Best Free Poetry Contests for September 16-October 31