2016 Winners of Connecticut Poetry Award Announced
2016 Connecticut Poetry Award
Judge: Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang
“Echo of Stone”
by Elaine Zimmerman
by Sharon Charde
by Kat Lehmann
About the judge: Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang is a poet and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Hartford. She was a guest poet at the VII International Poetry Festival, Granada, Nicaragua, (2011), 22 International Festival of Medellin, Colombia (2012), the First Athens World Poetry Festival, Greece (2013) and BIGSAS festival in Bayreuth, Germany (2015). A graduate of three continents, Dr. Ashuntantang received a B.A in Modern English Studies with a minor in Theater Arts from the University of Yaoundé Cameroon, a Masters in Librarianship from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and a Ph.D. in English on African Literature from the City University of New York. She is the author of many scholarly and creative publications. Her collection of poetry, A Basket of Flaming Ashes, continues to be valued locally and internationally. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Greek, Hebrew and Turkish and many have been anthologized in poetry collections all over the world.
1st Place Connecticut Poetry Award 2016
Echo of Stone
for Nelba Marquez-Greene
The daughter is winging wildly
against the white orchards.
Braided hair, braided dusk.
The hills shift and fold in
ebbing light. A blue line
ribbons through memory.
The mother sobs.
Nothing but shattered urns.
Her daughter shot. Gone.
Where did we forget our wholeness?
Wanting the holes in her daughter’s fabric
to grow roots of purpose. Hair, limb, vine.
Open the skin. We sleep in dust.
Tear the pulp. Nothing is changed.
Repeat the end. An echo of stone.
Please, hold the roof down; guard
the light. Fold arms around each child
and what shoots forth from clay.
Do not ignore our small and vast despair.
Whisper of wings,
as close to us as breathing.
Each lamb returns slowly down the path.
The shepherd counts with rod of ash.
Through a dark window, the mother stares.
Twirls her son’s curls. The night
a long knife, sharp as what pierces
through dirt air sound breath.
2nd Place Connecticut Poetry Award 2016
That white slash of graffiti on golden stone from the bus down
to Via del Corso that morning––Americans, Roma will be your grave––
the words loomed so large they’re carved into me still. I didn’t
look at my son sitting next to me, attach the words to him, to us,
though he’d soon be dead. I think we were headed to see that Caravaggio
he loved––it was one of those churches so dark you put coins in a little slot
for two minutes of light––Americans, Roma will be your grave––
I wondered if it was the tourists they hated so, us with our neck-slung
cameras and credit cards, white sneakers and too-tight shorts? He tried
so hard to blend in that when the paparazzi found him by the Tiber dead
that morning they thought he was Italian, the inside of the leather jacket
he’d bought in Florence filled with blood from his fall. Was that painting
The Crowning With Thorns, The Martyrdom Of Saint Matthew,
The Fortune Teller? Caravaggio was a realist, he knew how to shift
the light to dark with little in between. No, I think it must have been
Ecce Homo we were looking at then in that dark church, later on
in the glaring brilliance of a Roman morgue.
3rd Place Connecticut Poetry Award 2016
it is my ambassador to the world
my hot, my feel, my here but not there
an inexact barrier, heat and sweat
like a muddled language seeping through
if I wore a different skin
would you still know it is me?
it is recognizable enough –
a fancy façade for the shy self within
without it, I might not realize my perimeters
or whether I am part of everything else
why do we need to be so distinct?
it must not be that important
for what skin is worn in the land of souls?
what use is a costume when the pageant is over?
I dream of pure beings in butterfly bliss
intermingling like soft flames
what was once contained in a fragile glass
will be made free as water
when we drop these worn garments
I will still know it is you
as we reach the latent truths of ourselves
and fall together, sure as gravity, shapeless as stars
CONNECTICUT POETRY AWARD
In honor of CPS founders Wallace Winchell, Ben Brodine
and Joseph Brodinsky
Made possible through the generous support of
The Adolf and Virginia Dehn Foundation
Submission Period: April 1 to May 31
Open to all poets.
Prizes: 1st $400, 2nd $100, 3rd $50
2017 Poetry Contest Guidelines
CONNECTICUT POETRY AWARD
In honor of Connecticut Poetry Society founders, Wallace Winchell, Ben Brodine, and Joseph Brodinsky
Made possible through the generous support of The Adolf and Virginia Dehn Foundation
Open to all poets
Opens: April 1
Deadline: May 31
Fee $15 for up to 3 poems; unpublished poems, any form, 80-line limit.
Prizes: 1st – $400; 2nd – $100; 3rd – $50
Winning poems will be published in Connecticut River Review and posted on the Connecticut Poetry Society website.
Simultaneous submissions are acceptable; however, please notify us immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.
Submit up to three poems, in one document, no more than one poem per page. No contact info on poems. (Contact information will be requested separately via Submittable).