2018 Contest Results

New England Poetry Club Prize Winners and Honorable Mentions 2018

Samuel Washington Allen Prize, selected by Marilyn Nelson

For a long poem or a sequence

“Home” by Jean Kreiling

“Witch Kitsch” by Cindy Veach

Honorable mention: “The Running of the Brides” by Patricia Sheppard

Amy Lowell Prize, selected by Mary Buchinger

For an outstanding poem in any form or style

“The Tree” by Susan Jo Russell

Honorable mention: “Afterword”  by Philip Burnham

Honorable mention: “Nile Delta: Mattocks” by Hagop Merjian

E.E. Cummings Prize, selected by Regie Gibson

For a compelling, lyrical, or experimental poem under 21 lines

“Offering” by Lillo Way

Honorable mention: “Monet vs. The International Pop Art Exhibit” by Don Hogle

Diana Der-Hovanessian Prize, selected by Susan Barba

For a translation

“Youth’s path unknown” from Gilles Corrozet, Hecatomgraphie 93, translated and adapted by Catherine Rockwood

Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize, selected by Krysten Hill

For a chapbook published in the last two years

Dirt  by C. Prudence Arceneaux

Judge’s Note:

C. Prudence Arceneaux’s Dirt is a force that gutted me from beginning to end. From the very first poem, “Genesis,” the speaker urges the reader to imagine the force of cicadas who are “A million Adams, rising from the all that/was to sing, into the bellows of air, /simply to sing.” I was hooked not only in the uneasiness of the image, but in the music of those lines. I also couldn’t resist the urge to read this chapbook aloud. Good poems leave you with a visceral sensation that you cannot shake, and these poems did that for me throughout this book. There is an unflinching honesty to the speaker throughout. In the title poem, “Dirt,” Arceneaux begins by stating, “I am not a gardener, grubber of plants,/shifter of soil. My nails clean. /I stopped kneeling years before I reached/this age. If you ask, I can tell a food seed/from a pretty one.” For me, these lines comment not only on the literal moment that the poem stays planted in, but also the complicated role of a poet. These poems tackle loss in a way that remind me of fragile moments of losing something and also the power of naming what is lost. Grief is a hard thing to capture, and these poems cut this feeling open and dare the reader to look inside. —Krysten Hill

Water Street by Naila Moreira

Judge’s Note:

What drew me into Naila Moreira’s Water Street was its immersive descriptiveness that never underestimates the power and tension that the natural world can embody. These powerful poems delivered me to all kinds of ecosystems thriving just underneath the surface in all their violent glory. There are times when the natural world collides with human destruction to create a sinister chain reaction. Moreira reminds us of a world where “…planes fall, frogs spawn/against backdrop of rubber, plastic, steel;/a thousand eggs; a thousand tiny bombs./They hatch into a universe of fear.” The speaker exists in nature’s hiding places and out in the open where they are exposed and vulnerable to the vulnerability that they see in nature. At times, these poems suggest a disquieting tone that haunted me throughout the day. At other times, I felt a liberating honesty and was grateful for how it shook me awake. —Krysten Hill

Honorable mention: From the Other Room by Anna M. Warrock

The Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize, selected by Danielle Legros Georges, will be announced in September.