The SFPA Contest Committee is pleased to announce the results of the 2008 Poetry Contest. We received more than 400 poems from more than 25 countries. Poems came in from Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, UK, and Wales, as well as from 40 U.S. states.
The entries were judged blind, and the judges selected one honorable mention and eight judges' picks as well as the top three winners.
1st Place "She Seemed So Quiet" by Marion E. Boyer, Mattawan, MI
2nd Place "Artifacts of Intelligent Design" by Elizabeth Barrette, Charleston, IL
3rd Place "And I Fly" by Frances Shi, Woodhaven, NY
1st Honorable Mention: "Photograph of Mt. St. Helens" by Lois P. Jones, Glendale, CA
Lois received a copy of The Poet's Workshop—and Beyond by Terrie Leigh Relf, M.A.
Judge's Picks:Marcie Tentchoff's choices
- "Dead City" by Scot Brannon, Seattle, WA
Scot received a copy of the SFPA Sonnets Chapbook and Charles Gramlich's Wanting the Mouth of a Lover, both donated by Spec House of Poetry.
- "Potential Energy" by M. Frost, Baltimore, MD
M. Frost was awarded a copy of Covenant by Elissa Malcohn.
- "Don Quixote's Quandry" by Colleen Anderson, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Colleen's prizes were a copy of The Shantytown Anomaly #3 and Greg Beatty's Phrases of the Moon, courtesy Spec House of Poetry.
- "a star hunt" by Nadia Chaney, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Nadia received The Shantytown Anomaly #5 and a copy of Kendall Evans's chapbook Poetry Red-Shifted in the Eyes of a Dragon, both donated by Spec House of Poetry.
- "Scientific Experiment/1927" by Elizabeth Penrose, Pittsburgh, PA
Elizabeth was awarded a copy of The Shantytown Anomaly #2 and a copy of Bits and Pieces by Greg Schwartz, courtesy Spec House of Poetry.
- "Future Freedom" by Elizabeth Bennefeld, Fargo, ND
Elizabeth received Passionate Eye: The Collected Writings of Suzanne Vega by Suzanne Vega.
- "Stone, Soup, Bones" by William Copeland, Redford, MI
William's prizes were The Shantytown Anomaly #4 and David C. Kopaska-Merkel's Drowning Atlantis, both from Spec House of Poetry.
- "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost" by Peg Duthie, Nashville, TN
Peg received The Shantytown Anomaly #6 and Kendall Evans's Star Birth (Postcard)—both courtesy Spec House of Poetry.
She Seemed So Quiet
Before last week no one guessed that deep below
the surface a third of the living stuff
on the planet seethes in the dark. On the sea floor
microbes pile up black knobby spires.
Chimneys rise soft and fleshy, towering
in effervescent mist. It is cold. No fish
live at that depth. Banked in secret niches
methane forms and traps in ice-like cages.
Most of the methane never escapes,
though sailors have seen flashes ignite waters
of the Black Sea. There've been landslides,
tsunamis, oxygen losses, mass extinctions.
The sky whispers blue, blue. Distant sails tilt and glide.
A gull shrieks. Which wave tips the tide?
What strain before a small fault gives way?
Gas blistered up from the bottom once. It set the world on fire.
—Marion E. BoyerFirst Prize: $100 cash, publication on the SFPA website, a Waterman pen and journal, a signed hardcopy copy of The Journey to Kailash by Mike Allen, a copy of In the Yaddith Time by Ann K. Schwader, and a one-year SFPA membership.
Artifacts of Intelligent Design
These were the things we discovered in the World That Had Been Made:
- skulls of animals and people, each plate neatly bolted into place,
gears still sharp: yet all dead, nestled in silent dust
- great cables snaking underground, embracing the continents;
our geologists told us these had once controlled the fault lines, but now
the ground trembled and shivered at our touch
- jewels that shone in the broken sunlight, casting not shadows but shows
of aliens capering through the remnants of their cities
- stones that broadcast their brilliant thoughts into our brains, explaining
how the World That Had Been Made came to an end
when the Energy that sustained it diminished,
leaving all brightlife to dwindle away.
Then we looked at each other,
our soft hands scratched by the hard artifacts,
our biological digestion already signalling hunger, our skins smelling of sweat;
and we looked at the beautiful brightlife beings now lying
dead before us,
all their shining systems fallen still, their world a stopped clock in the cosmos;
and it humbled us to stand there, in the face of intelligent
with our clumsy chemical systems—evolved through chaos and nature—
—Elizabeth BarretteSecond Prize: $40 cash, SFPA website publication, an original painting by Marge Simon (the winner's choice of three), a one-year subscription to Dreams & Nightmares, and a copy of Riffing on Strings, edited by Sean Miller and Shveta Verma.
And I Fly
There is Death at my bedside, leering, sneering, jeering,
He is advancing, up, up, up—why the rush? Take your time
In these final moments, I am so cold and alone,
Alone, but for the angels that haunt me.
These angels, these demons, I have seen them before,
They have been at my side for months,
Drinking my life, devouring my soul,
Feasting on my spirit, savoring every molecule, every atom.
They've taken so much, and yet they've taken nothing,
The memories still haunt me in my last hour,
As I grow weaker, my energy fading, dying,
As they loom larger in the horizon of my sight.
This is how we die; this is how we live,
There are demons all around, waiting to kill, to devour,
Until weakness overcomes us, until our life fades
I close my eyes,
And dream of flying, of soaring, of breathing the ocean
I take my last breath,
And I fly.
—Frances ShiThird Prize: $20 cash, SFPA website publication, a copy of Lost Innocence: A Niteblade Anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish, and a copy of Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic edited by Karen A. Romanko.