Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest 2007
Congratulations to the winners of the 2007 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest!
First Prize $1,000
Zoe Krasney, Another Country
Second Prize $400
Paul Hamill, A Midcentury Advent
Third Prize $200
Johnmichael Simon, To Sing the World
Most Highly Commended $100
- Helen Bar-Lev, Patterns of Breath
- Mike Burch, Leaf Fall
- Debbie Camelin, Mavillette
- Noble Collins, Doug Died
- Rollin Lasseter, The Great Secret
- Frances Truscott, Mist Wraiths
- Mollybee Welkin, In the Whit’ning of Day
Highly Commended $70
- Helen Bar-Lev, From This Desk
- Jerry Betts, Ballad of Christmas Present
- Noble Collins, Second Oldest of Seven
- Graham Lancaster, Freedom Song
- Rollin Lasseter, The Bushel
- Elizabeth Melville, Gentile
- Alicia Patti, Vino Rosso
- Jennifer Perry, Here
- Meryl Raw, Somebody Else
- Jackie Richmond, Ollie Ollie Oxen Free
- Frances Truscott, Sunshine on a Wooden Floor
- Peter Endersbee, Grape Vine Dream
- Lance Mason, My Sweater
- Mimi Moriarty, In the Dark
- Heather Nicaise, Crimson Lady
- Glory Odemene, Dance With Me
- Elizabeth Pessl-Rossi, Suspended, February 8, 2007
- Meryl Raw, Signature
- Norma Roth, My Mother Spoke Volumes
- M.E. Silverman, Explaining the D to You
- Joseph A. Soldati, Remembering Miss Baker
- Aline Taylor, For Landon
- Max West, Another Street, Filled with Too Much Rain
First Prize - $1,000 - Zoe Krasney
Contest judge John H. Reid said, "This hauntingly atmospheric piece by Zoe Krasney not only stays in the memory but forces the reader to return to its embittered images time and time again. The language is not only novel but powerful in its immediacy. The poem sings in the present, yet reflects on the past with a potent streak of bitterness that runs parallel with its sorrow. Rarely have words and images formed such a mind-numbing portrait. With a few extra twists, it could easily have become an unrelenting portrait of despair, yet the poet commendably resists this temptation. In the final stanza, the dark images take on a brighter hue, betokening a hope and an inner peace which even the bitter sting of the final line cannot overcome. "
Contest judge Dee C. Konrad said, "'Another Country' by Zoe Krasney becomes alive with its vivid word pictures making that country ours—even with examples that shock us to attention. The poet translates personal reactions into patterns that we not only see but also understand. Special lines are written with a personal honesty that resonates to add an exotic sense to the conundrum of Cruz."
Second Prize - $400 - Paul Hamill
"A Midcentury Advent"
Reid said, "A religious poem is one of the most difficult to write with verve, vigor and meaning, particularly if the poet's aim is to avoid the doggerel rhymes and hackneyed sentiments usually associated with the genre. Paul Hamill has brilliantly solved the problem by setting his poem not only in the not-so-distant past (midcentury, which I read as 1950) and at a particularly meaningful point (Advent) in the liturgical calendar, but in a particularly atmospheric place (a Catholic church). Exactly where this church is located is cleverly left to the reader's own devising, although the poet is not backward in providing plenty of pleasingly picturesque clues. Yet there is still a deeper meaning, couched in the rich images just below the surface of the poem, which challenges the reader to 'unseal the glazed impervious vessel' of his mind and wake the sleeping 'watchman, past whom time flows and dissipates like night.'"
Konrad said, "Paul Hamill creates 'A Midcentury Advent' with a sense of 'worldly' prayer—honest and hoping for grace through human attempts to reach God. We sit with his parishioners. We note his words are committed to the expression of life experience challenged by the reality of the Mass. The last line seals the compelling exploration of the inner need to conquer the human with the divine."
Third Prize - $200 - Johnmichael Simon
"To Sing the World"
Reid said, "The music of language is a recurrent theme in Johnmichael Simon's work. Here the poet inventively tackles the theme head-on by insisting not only that 'each language has its magic', but that 'each of us has his own music.' The first proposition is then amusingly illustrated by contrasting 'a flurry' of Italians, Frenchmen and Greeks. In considering our own individual music, however, the poet becomes more serious, vigorously pointing out that 'each hymn' can become 'an anthem to divide us.'"
Konrad said, "'To Sing the World' is a melody of words by Johnmichael Simon that highlights various languages and their special beauty as well as the language of all individuals and other creatures of the world—who speak with music, sweet and sharp. This poem reconstructs the history of man and his present life in the music heard within these lines that sing in an idiom all their own."
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.