California State Poetry Society is pleased to announce the winners of the Monthly Poetry Contests for the first quarter of 2021. Alice Pero, Monthly Contest Judge made the selections.
JANUARY 2021 WINNERS
- Dr. Emory D. Jones, "Sanctuary" - 1st place
- Marlene Hitt, "Summer of Fire" - 2nd place
- David Anderson, "The Coming Snow" - 3rd place
FEBRUARY 2021 WINNER
Claire J. Baker, "Speculation" - 1st place
MARCH 2021 WINNER
- Julia Park Tracey - "Just One Thing - " 1st place
JANUARY 2021 WINNERS
FIRST PRIZE - DR. EMORY D. JONES - "SANCTUARY"
Bent grasses hint
at the passing of unseen winds and spirits.
Spires of black spruce,
rise out of moss
and point skyward,
their broken branches
draped with a haunting thin gauze
Poisonous red capped mushrooms stand
like miniature tables and chairs
that some secret night
might have hosted
the "little people"
so important in the folklore
of the native Ojibwa.
Something spiritual lives here,
something dark something old.
SECOND PRIZE - MARLENE HITT - "SUMMER OF FIRE"
Summer of Fire
... only a few clear days to see mountains
that summer of smoke.
It blew north to south, west to east
then due westward with a thick canopy
veiling the sky.
That one morning, dawn sun
rose red as blood yolk,
fiery as those flames
that devour the ridges and ranges
licking them clear of chaparral.
That sun spread orange on the sheets
where we lay while orange flames
covered thickets and nests.
You have such a terrible craving
reducing cedar and pine to
blackened stumps, sumac to ash.
We pray for rain to bear you downhill
to melt the rage of you.
This morning in the orange light
air is pungent;
the smell of black brush,
the fear of live creatures.
After the night of fire
I do not fret over the smell of
last night's onions
nor do I light a bathroom candle,
but gaze out to yellow-grey,
watch the mountains disappear.
The Coming Snow
The lone buffalo grazes
ninety feet away
from a single giant pine.
This landscape hangs
by the haze of a coming storm.
Coated with ice
continues to bite
the short grass
we cannot see
under the shifting layer of slush.
Spare winter feed belies
the flourishing tree
which, like the buffalo,
and catches the diamonds
of the oncoming snow.
MARCH 2021 FIRST PRIZE WINNER - JULIA PARK TRACEY "JUST ONE THING - "
Just One Thing—
Between two trees, a pretty
patch of light like sun on water, firelight on walls—
like rain against the window, where every gleam’s
Mica in concrete. Ice crystals. My
wedding band with a diamond for each child.
William Carlos Williams’ broken glass
and Lucy in the sky, all shining with that
unbearable beauty, the only thing
that keeps my two feet moving when I should otherwise
collapse. A sparkle so bright it
waters my eyes. A light so delicate and sharp
like the first breath on a January morning.
Strange that’s all it takes some days to endure.
So little. So much.
CSPS MONTHLY CONTESTS 2021
California State Poetry Society encourages poetic creativity by organizing monthly contests. The contests are open to all poets, whether or not they are members of the CSPS. Reading fees are $1.50 per poem with a $3.00 minimum for members and $3.00 per poem with a $6.00 minimum for non-members. Entries must be postmarked during the month of the contest in which they are entered. They must consist of a first page with all contact information (name, address, telephone number and email address) and the titles of the poems being submitted.
At this time there are two ways to submit, by regular mail (enclosing check) or by email (using PayPal and email CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety@gmail.com) to make a payment - adding $1.00 for PayPal fees if submitting by email.
CSPS Monthly Contest – (Specify Month)
Post Office Box 4288, Sunland, California 91041
Alternatively, poets may submit their work by email to: CSPSMonthlyContests@gmail.com (Specify Month) and simultaneously pay their contest fees by PayPal to: CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety@gmail.com, adding $1 for PayPal fees.
All contests are judged by Alice Pero, CSPS Monthly Contest Judge. The 1st place winner receives half of the prize pool for pools less than $100. For pools of $100 or more, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners receive $50, $10 and $5, respectively. If there are insufficient fees submitted, the minimum prize is $10. There are no exceptions to the prize disbursement rules. The monthly contest winners are announced as they are awarded and the winners are notified by mail. All of the winners for the year are listed in the first CSPS Newsbriefs of the following year. In addition, the first prize winners are published in the CSPS Poetry Letter (PDF, email, posted on website) and posted on this blog.
Please note: Do not send SAE’s. We do not return poems. If you win, we will let you know. Otherwise there are no notifications.
CSPS Monthly Contest Themes (Revised)
- January Nature, Seasons, Landscape
- February Love
- March Open, Free Subject
- April Mythology, Dreams, Other Universes
- May Personification, Characters, Portraits
- June The Supernatural
- July Childhood, Memoirs
- August Places, Poems of Location
- Sept Colors, Music, Dance
- October Humor, Satire
- November Family, Friendship, Relationships
- December Best of Your Best (Winning or published poems only. Indicate name of contest or publication and the issue/dates of publication/award.)