Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Congratulations to the Winners of the Fall/Winter Contests!

As April speeds past, I think that we can say that winter is gone.  Certainly, spring semester is almost gone.  Tonight I'll take a break from grading papers to post the results of the fall/winter contests.

First, though, I would like to thank Michael Oliver and Catfish McDaris for judging Thelma's Prize (fall and winter), the 1900/1910 contest, and the local poets' contest.  I am honored that you are judging these contests--and thrilled to announce the winners (and honorable mentions).

Let's start with Thelma's Prize (Fall) whose winner Michael selected: poet, editor, and publisher A.J. Huffman for "In the Shadow of Song."  Congratulations!  This poem truly packs a punch.  Michael also singled out Angelee Deodhar's haibun "Xeriscape"  as well as the Scottish poet John McDonald's haibun "MONK (Thelonious that is...)" for praise.   It's wonderful to see the haibun draw more attention.

Catfish chose the eminently suitable winner for Thelma's Prize (Winter): John McDonald's winter haiku.  Newcomer Toula Merkouris' "Walking Amongst Time"  and noted poet Mark Anthony Rossi's "Short Poem for the Bluesmen" earned honorable mentions.

In the 1900/1910 contest, judged by Michael, the winner was John McDonald's "MONK (Thelonious that is...)." Bea Garth's "Always Too Big" (a poem inspired by Fats Waller) and local poet John MacDonald's "Those Parties We Talk Shit About Monk" received honorable mentions as well.

Each of the poets who submitted poems to the Latin Jazz contest took a distinct approach.  I chose Claudine Nash's "Clean Up" and Felino A. Soriano's "Oh, the joy"  although Allyson Lima's "House Musicians" was a very moving poem that reminds us of what it was like to be a woman in the 1950s.

Among the poems in the local poets' contest Catfish awarded the prize to Alex Conrad for his "Tower of Babble."   Congratulations to my multi-talented former student!  Catfish also praised Will Mayo for his poems "a wisp of smoke," "The Call of the Crow," and "Autumn Mill, 1998" as well as John MacDonald for his "Those Parties We Talk Shit About Monk."

Finally, the winner of Callie's Prize for visual elements is Kerfe Roig.  I especially liked her drawing of Sonny Rollins!

Congratulations to the winners of the fall/winter contests!

Thelma's Prize (Fall): A.J. Huffman for "In the Shadow of Song"
Thelma's Prize (Winter): John McDonald for his winter haiku
1900/1910:  John McDonald's "MONK (Thelonious...that is)"
Latin Jazz: Claudine Nash's "Clean Up" and Felino A. Soriano's "Oh, the joy"
Local: Alex Conrad for "Tower of Babble"
Callie's Prize: Kerfe Roig

Now Thelma reminds me that I need to post a little music.  I'll start with some Monk.

"Lulu's Back in Town" is a good choice:

This version of "I Mean You" is from 1969:

I'll finish with "Bolivar Blues":

I have been listening to Ben Williams lately, so I'll include two of his songs.  The first is *his* version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

His "Moontrane" will start us thinking about the spring contests!

I'd like to pass on Catfish's words of wisdom:

 Thanks again for inviting me to judge. All the poets are winners, there are no losers. It takes courage to be a writer and you'll never be lost.


  1. I just finished re-reading all the winners,HM, etc. The judges including you, Marianne, made fine choices. Thank you for your dedication. It takes a lot of time, and the site is well worth reading. Congratulation, everyone.
    A special notice to John and Angelee.

    1. Thank you so much, Mary Jo. I'll be starting up again soon!

  2. i love it...
    i had just seen it
    thank you once again for all your hard work and congratulations to all the participants... writing like any form of art takes courage , as well as many relentless nights like the owls....there is much procrastinating,and lots of paper... at the end we compose and we achieve a goal.. our goal... and yours
    thank you marianne for providing us the opportunity.
    ritamarie recine

    1. Thank you, Rita. :) It's great to hear from you.