Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest 2006
Congratulations to the winners of the 2006 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest!
First Prize $1,000
Debbie Camelin, Intimidation
Second Prize $400
Noble Collins, Old Hawk
Third Prize $200
Jessica Morrow, For Jen
Most Highly Commended $100
- Tom Berman, The Leather Suitcase
- Debbie Camelin, Lobsterman
- Noble Collins, Central Park
- Linda Dousay, Paved with Diamonds
- David J. Goss, Popcorn Neuroses
- Johnmichael Simon, Peanuts
- Martin Steele, Service and Set
Highly Commended Awards ($70 each)
Martin Angulo, "Gina"
Noble Collins, "Brakeman on a Midnight Train"
Glenna Holloway, "Losing the Farm"
Graham Vivian Lancaster, "Craft Master"
Berwyn Moore, "The Game Lords"
Peter Nash, "Sitting Under a Green Leaf Maple"
Justin Naylor, "Tales from Wychwood"
Lynn Veach Sadler, "Not in the Holy Month of Ramadan"
Hans Jorg Stahlschmidt, "Upstairs"
Susan Thomas, "The Murdered Girl"
Commended Awards ($50 each)
Helen Bar-Lev, "On the Banks of the Dead Sea"
Therese Down, "Vanishing Act"
Gretchen Fletcher, "The Sand Women"
Donna A. Frisinger, "Oom-Pa-Pa Parade"
Faye Williams Jones, "In McDonald’s parking lot"
Daniel Lawrence, "Prime of Life"
Sarah McKinstry-Brown, "Hand Me Down"
Catherine McLaughlin, "Blue Collars"
Frances Truscott, "Dancing at Midnight"
Frances Truscott, "The High Toby"
First Prize - $1,000 - Debbie Camelin
Contest judge John H. Reid said, "It's always difficult to make a political statement in a poem without seeming arch, prosaic, heavy-handed or, worse still, offensive... Debbie Camelin has not only courageously tackled this subject head on but manages her poem, 'Intimidation', with sympathy and lyricism, with feeling and humanity. She avoids the pitfalls of prose by the inspired use of spacing (rather than punctuation), repetition and rhyme (which make her statements rise above the prosaic and become a song, a hymn to a triumphant salvation). Above all, with great economy and skill, she presents an indelible, poignant picture of this brief street scene. It is an image which not only captures the eye of the reader, but the mind and heart."
Contest judge Dee C. Konrad said, "Ms. Camelin's 'Intimidation' highlights a determination of political forces and an ongoing resistance to that pressure and persistent personal pain. Significant blocks of structured lines, deliberately spaced irregularly to represent the lack of communication, indicate the policies against freedom and the insistence for the freedom of recognition."
Second Prize - $400 - Noble Collins
Reid said, "To win a major prize in a major contest, it's not enough that a poet should be a master of imagery, a spectacularly skillful wordsmith and that he should be particularly adept in presenting his ideas in a fresh and striking manner. Noble Collins has fulfilled all these desiderata in 'Old Hawk'. His poetry sings with life, with rhythm, with passion. Words are his compliant tools, his paints, his servile pigments. Yet even more importantly, Mr. Collins has a voice. And above all else, a poet must have a distinctive voice, a pleasing voice, a subtle voice that colors all his work, no matter what its subject matter. The judges are thrilled to have discovered Mr. Collins and to acclaim him as a major poet."
Konrad said, "Not often does a poem swoop and fall and soar in designed deliberation, but Mr. Collins' 'Old Hawk' accomplishes just that. Structure is one force here that matches the hawk's intent and the field mouse's clutch at life. Careful pacing of chase and flight develops an interest as well as sympathy for both of those two creatures in nature. Specifically chosen, words glide and hide, creating a reality that must end to become the past. The reader swoops upon that eternal riddle in life and soars with Mr. Collins' intelligent philosophy of vision."
Third Prize - $200 - Jessica Morrow
Reid said, "The elegy seems to have gone out of fashion. Only a handful were placed before the judges in the current contest. Yet, as a medium to convey the deepest feelings, the elegy has no equal. With commendable economy, Jessica Morrow uses 'flash' recollection and bold, emotional imagery to draw rounded yet heartfelt portraits not only of the lost Jennifer but of her 'best friend'—the narrator herself."
Konrad said, "In her elegy, Ms. Morrow 'silhouettes' a friendship against 'the sunset' of her loss. Details of shared lives form a personal frame around the depths of a quiet despair. Careful phrasing points to closeness, now arid, and the need 'to pull ghosts out of empty places.' Ms. Morrow recognizes such a need, using it to reinforce some understanding of death. Certain chosen moments lived with Jen accentuate the growth of friendship and sing not only its sad farewell but, interestingly, also point to a personal type of resurrection."
John Howard Reid has won first prizes and other awards in prestigious literary events. A former journalist and magazine editor, he has 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 lives in Wyong, Australia.
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.