Po­etry Con­test Win­ners


Our 2017 po­etry con­test was judged by Jónína Kirton. Here’s how she de­scribes the win­ning works:

I chose “Defin­ing: Clean, Fly, and Plum” as a three-way tie as I sim­ply could not se­lect one as “the win­ner.” As I en­tered each piece, I ex­pe­ri­enced an up­end­ing of the ex­pec­ta­tion of safe in­ter­ac­tions be­tween these in­nocu­ous words, the child, and their grand­fa­ther. A tight­en­ing took place in my body as I ex­pe­ri­enced the loss of in­no­cence as if it was my own. Each piece “a fish­hook” in which a grand­fa­ther’s lips feel like “a dozen tiny flies bit­ing the top of the girl’s bot­tom.” I was tempted to turn away yet found my­self re­turn­ing again and again to these pieces. They are a road map point­ing us to­ward all that was taken and can never be re­turned.

“Hip­pocrene” is filled with move­ment and the kind of wild fem­i­nin­ity the world is in need of. It opens us wide like “el­e­va­tor doors.” The “she” could be us. In fact, I wanted her to be me. I felt her stride in my legs. I felt my­self be­come “the wheel of a wagon rolling loose” and “a sashay­ing al­le­gory.” I be­came rav­en­ous for the rhythms of­fered by the “DJ in a farm­yard night­club . . .” I had no idea I was so hun­gry.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our win­ners, and thank you to ev­ery­one who en­tered. Read “Defin­ing: Clean, Fly, and Plum” and “Hip­pocrene” next, and read the hon­ourable men­tion “mother’s tongue” by Ki­ran Dhali­wal at room­magazine.com.

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