Category

Poet name

2023
January 1–June 30

1st Place Winner

Ashe Cender / Tallahassee, FL
Nobody in Madison, Florida

Florida is empty.
Vast fields of sun-bleached and dying grass
creep upon unsuspecting homesteads
and burs settle in the feet of defenders.
Taste the pinpricks on your toes;
this blood is calm and clearly heard spilling to say “stay away.”
Nobody sits alone in Madison, Florida
looking at meadows of cows grazing fresh grass.
Skin and bone, they never eat.
Chunky coos in far off places are to blame.
Highland cattle, hailing Scottish, oldest of cows,
not a hoof has touched this land.
Florida is not home to the tender heat of peace.
Peace is found in the hustle of cities filled with sewer’s aroma.
Thorny stickers cling to the hem of Nobody’s pants,
gentle reminders as they scratch bare ankles that
Florida is empty.
Nobody in Madison, Florida floats
above ghastly cattle and hills of loneliness,
above Ashe passing through—they’ll be home soon.
Nobody stares at decorative scars
littered by unknown farmers plowing the grounds.
Madison, Florida sits devoid of a Walmart,
a bank, a mall, devoid of the rancid smells of New York City,
and Nobody says “C’est la vie,”
listening as the cows continue conversing about
dead grass and thorns in their hooves.

2nd Place Winners


Angela Bass / Stanton, CA
The Crossing

Mary Cernyar / Midway, UT
On Paper

Noella Chretien / East Greenwich, RI
Listerine Green

Audrey Deras / Clayton, NC
The World through Society’s Eyes

Adam Doniger / Ithaca, NY
Fly Geyser

Wilson Engel / Beachwood, OH
Summer’s First Fusillade

Daniel Glahn / Santa Clara, UT
Watch Your Step, Kentucky Boy

Aditi Goyal / Sammamish, WA
Peanut Butter

Austin Halter / Glendale, CA
Reunion

Olivia Helm / Du Bois, PA
The Glass

Diane Henn / Dennis Port, MA
Morning Reverie

Sheldon Hubbard / Greenville, SC
Thinking about Existence at a Campfire

Mary Kienholz / Spokane, WA
Visit with My Mother

Jordana Landres / Forest Hills, NY
MTA: a Shared Experience

Brenda Mox / Virginia Beach, VA
Stoned on the Sun

Rasika Patil / Orlando, FL
Free Girl

Manha Rayan / Ventura, CA
Brie

Elaralani Rivers / Santa Barbara, CA
Ispy

Madeleine Sharp / Albuquerque, NM
The Sheep

Del Swartzendruber / Anamosa, IA
Natalie

3rd Place Winners


Tasneem Ahmed / Alpharetta, GA
A Storm and Matching Scars

Josephine Alberts / Seattle, WA
Magpie Syndrome

Jesse Alencaster / Galt, CA
Emotional Limerence

Mackenzie Bales / Scottsdale, AZ
The Beauty’s Dread

Carleen Bunde / Wallace, ID
Four Speckled Chickadee Eggs

Angelie Buonto / Las Vegas, NV
Tether

Kaitlin Butler / Fort Smith, AR
Congrats on the Engagement

Amber Cannon / Marshalltown, IA


Grant Caverly / Pacific Palisades, CA
The Fake Poet

Emily Chancey / Pensacola, FL
Throwing Flames at Wooden Dolls

Gabrielle Coffy / Stamford, CT
To Be Almost Loved

Cynthia Contie / Vandergrift, PA
Frosty Mirror

Trey Cornelius / Owens Cross Roads, AL
Herds of Coterie

Frances Covington / Chapel Hill, NC
Two Small Steps

Silvana de la Osa / Avon, CT
Children of Caloocan

Samuel Feenstra / Mentone, CA
Vindicta

Colby Feldman / Norfolk, VA
The Identity Locksmith

Pedro Francisco-Jose / Victorville, CA
The Precipice

Shyan Fredrickson / Pensacola, FL
Bohemian’s Creed

Samantha Gardner / Santa Monica, CA
I Wish I Lived in This City

Germain Garibaldi / New York, NY
Villanelle of My Buzzing Queen

Torie Gibson / Goshen, IN
Advocate Ailment

Alyssa Greene / Clovis, CA
Asylum

Alexas Hall / Phillipsburg, MO
Lost in Thought

Arissa He / Raleigh, NC
Wild West


Andres Jorquera / Acworth, GA
Falling in Space for a Slice of Cake

Katherine Kallas / Leawood, KS
Blue Green

Helen-Anne Keith / Chelsea, MA
The Trolley Driver

Beck King / Omaha, NE
Heirloom

Jessica Knapp / Santa Fe, TX
Whiskey Lessons

Constance Lawrence / Boca Raton, FL
Ugly Pieces

Lauren Lee / Fresno, CA
Sticky Fingers

Catherine Lee / Fremont, CA
Acheron Dive

Beo Lehmann / Reno, NV
Icarus

Lance Levens / Savannah, GA
Cento: the Iterative Shortstop

Olivier Lubin / Port Saint Lucie, FL
Recess

W. Jeffrey Marshall / Scottsdale, AZ
They Came at Night

Alina Martel / Waconia, MN
Carbon

Carlee Montgomery / Lewes, DE
Midas Touch

Ariel Perez-Blanco / Miami, FL
Singularity

Eva Ramsey / Elizabethtown, KY
A Zebra with One Black Stripe

Kylie Ream / Dallas, TX
An Oyster Missing Its Pearl

Florence Richmond / Wauconda, IL
Country Road

Lisa Robinson / Nacogdoches, TX
Mommy Dearest

Amber Rushing / Manassas, VA
Early Morning Repairs

Leanne Singleton-Comfort / Colorado Spgs, CO
Vigil for a Falling Star

Theila Smith / Brooklyn, NY
City Parks (a pantoum)

Brenna Souza / Roy, UT
The World Must Go On

Cavyn White / Columbia, MO
Stardust

Sohei Wu / Sunnyvale, CA
My Haunted House