Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse 2008
Congratulations to the winners of the 2008 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse!
First Prize $2,000
Reena Ribalow, Jerusalem of Heaven, Jerusalem of Earth
Second Prize $1,000
Louis Giron, I Am a Fado Song
Third Prize $500
Bernard Mann, Morning
Fourth Prize $250
Helen Bar-Lev, Two Zinnias
Honorable Mention $200
- Debra Gundy, Watercolor Lighthouse
- Aliene Pylant, To Botticelli
- Frank Salvidio, English 379 Revisited
- Joyce M Shepherd, Schubert’s Sweet Symphony of a Woman
- Johnmichael Simon, Las Meninas
Most Highly Commended $100
- George Carle, Coal Dust Street
- Judith Ford, Haiku Series
- Joseph Gorman, Fear’s Profiteer
- Sandra Kasturi, Old Men, Smoking
- Sam McCarver, Preferences
- Tim Napier, The Last Straw
- Tony Peyser, Different Businesses, Same Location
Helen Bar-Lev, "15 December", "A Hot Cup of Corn Soup", and "Gloria"
Tom Berman, "Hronov Homecoming 1994" and "Hill"
Elizabeth Davies, "The Fox-Woman"
Annesley Downey, "The Electricity in Tony Bennett's Eyes"
Hal Fleming, "The Last Circus" and "Deer on the Fence Line"
Lawrence Kessenich, "The Piano"
Joseph A. Soldati, "From Huckleberrie—A Favorite Cat"
John Whitworth, "Life at Eighty" and "On the Deaths of Philosophers"
Karen Winterburn, "Call Out of Exile"
Daniel Wormhoudt, "Morning in the Tropics"
First Prize - $2,000 - Reena Ribalow
"Jerusalem of Heaven, Jerusalem of Earth"
The judges said, "For obvious reasons, more has been written about Jerusalem than any other city in the world. In the Hebrew Bible alone, the city is mentioned by name well over 700 times. In Hebrew, the word means 'founded peaceful', yet Jerusalem's subsequent history has seen a great deal of strife. This forms the burden of Reena Ribalow's heart in the first part of her moving, beautifully composed entry. In a powerfully personal, yet overwhelmingly universal application, the poet hauntingly describes streets 'narrow as a curse', windows with 'closed eyes', and ramparts with 'a heart of dust'. This is the Jerusalem of earth, a place that 'may', no, 'will' break the poet's heart. Arrestingly contrasted in the second section of her poem, the writer moves gradually to a more candidly realistic realization of the Jerusalem of heaven, where 'lemon blossoms drift upon the path' and 'ancestral shades stir the dusky air'. On such nights, she writes, Jerusalem no longer seems a city to break the heart, but a place of refuge where 'a wanderer like me is taken under the benedictory palms… warding off the dark.'"
Second Prize - $1,000 - Louis Girón
"I Am a Fado Song"
The judges said, "It is almost impossible to capture the essence of song in a poem, for the simple reason that Poetry is itself a song, with its own music, its own rhythms, its own history, its own background. In 'I Am a Fado Song', Louis Girón has succeeded in the almost impossible by using the inspired device of personifying fado, and writing in the first person. What is fado? Everything that Girón so vividly describes. The poet has not missed a single characertistic. The fado singer is indeed the sorcerer, the miracle worker who rouses supine hearers from lassitude to a point where they 'eclipse the performers on the stage'. But at the heart of this passionate excitement lies the grief of loss, the tears of Portugal's soul—as Girón overwhelmingly defines."
Third Prize - $500 - Bernard Mann
The judges said, "A most delightful poem that gains almost as much impact from its emotionally pleasing and deftly conceived visual layout, as from its potent, sensual imagery laced with vivid nostalgia, 'Morning' satisfies the reader on a number of euphoric levels. While the subject is by no means unique, Bernard Mann has skillfully conjured an appealing picture of rustic, sunlit serenity that gratifies the eye, the mind and the heart."
Fourth Prize - $250 - Helen Bar-Lev
The judges said, "While it is not unusual to find two prizewinning poems set in the same city, it is remarkable that both display a somewhat similar viewpoint and induce an almost equally powerful response. However, Helen Bar-Lev's cleverly conceived focus, so stunningly expressed in the 'Two Zinnias' of the title, seems more personal, more domesticated, more down to earth, more accepting of the general 'faces [that] do not smile' in the light of personal nostalgia and the pleasing discovery of a 'sanctuary amidst the city's insanity'."
John Howard Reid, founder of the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest and the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest, won first prizes and other awards in prestigious literary events. A former journalist and magazine editor, he published several historical novels, a collection of poetry, a guide to winning literary contests, and over fifty books of film criticism and movie history. See his work at Lulu. He lived in Wyong, Australia, and passed away in 2018.
Dee C. Konrad
A leading educator and published author, Mrs. Dee 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.