Skip to Main Content

Poetry Contest 2021: Winners

Winners and honorable mentions for the Grace Doherty Library's free verse poetry contest!

"Siren" by Kennedy Bailey

I’ve been singing for as long as I remember--
flashing white hot light, red in waves,
I can’t say I know to whom I’m calling.
Rather, my rays blind empty skies, my cries rise as the sea parts,
empty. Of course, always empty. I long to close my eyes, to lie
still and to will nothing to be wrong today. I pray for a hand to hold,
a place to call my own, and yet I sing:
stay away, stay away, stay away.

"Gulf Fog" by Dr. Milton Scarborough, emeritus

Through translucent mists
To tunes of atmospheric music
The massive structure
Of many-towered Camelot
By its peerless knights
Of some grey-moist roundness
A newly found Port Royal
Twice born
From the womb of the sea
in a tedious seismographic wonder
by nature's own
Convulsive archaeology

Or is it
An ancient creature
Thawed from Loch Ness's
Deep freezer
Pushing its horny head
To the level of our reality
Belching a half-screen of smoke
Some Grendel's mother
Protecting her brood of monsters
From rocky-steel

Or is it
A screaming current of air
Swirling in cyclic fury with
A charcoal vortex
A cosmic maelstrom
into which ascends and descends the flotsam and jetsam
Of the sea
A magnificent appliance
Vacuuming the blue-green halls
Of Neptune's palace
The great molecular "500"

Or is it merely
The intricate structure of a liner
Cutting through the fog
Tug-hugged into port.


"Infancia" by Aranxa A. Parra

Se morian de risa.
Una botella de cerveza en la mano,
Envidia en la vecindad.
Mi padre.
Mi Madre.
Una promesa.

Mi padre durmiendose
En un sillón.
El reloj de la pared
Llevabo años detenido.
A mi Madre
Se le pedía,
Se le pedía que se quedara
Solo un poco más.
Decían que no era bueno.

Tu no estás conmigo
Mi infancia
¿Volverás? ¿Volverás por mi?

Volveré, volveré por ti.
Siempre, permaneceré a tu lado

Untitled by Jacob Harris

“—twisted language brings me close but not too close—
                 with normal words I would crash into things
                    —with twisted ones I circle around them—
                    I can see them clearly” (Yaminahau Shaman in interview with Graham Townsley)

—excuse me! reader,
i have rear-ended you.

my clunky, vehicular
poems steam furiously

forward, toward
your beautiful headlights,

ripping of their clothes
sending sheet metal sailing
down our lovelylonely interstate.

wheels wobble off their bothered bodies
felt upholstery flies off in the wind
to feed wild, cruelhappy on scurrying verbs.

my poems make me a circus clown
—all things become unicycles.
but reader, i am pedaling towards you,

dumping doves from my pockets,
i shed sorcery, showmanship and
hope i have lost enough to reach you.