In this, our second year of the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, we selected Dorothea Lasky to be our judge just before her book Thunderbird (Wave Books, 2012) was released. The book has since gone on to appear on many of 2012’s best-of lists including those of The Boston Globe, Ms. Magazine, and Coldfront. If you are still unfamiliar with her work, you should remedy that situation immediately.
As we saw in last year’s contest, a great variety of poets came to Philadelphia Stories to share their work. Out of the hundreds of poems we received, our poetry board and screeners selected twenty-four poems from which I selected ten to send to Dottie. She had the unenviable job of ranking those poems. The poem she chose, Debora Fries’ “Marie in America,” is an evocative and transformative piece that exemplifies a commitment to storytelling through image and momentum. We are lucky to be able to share “Marie in America” as well as the poems of Kelly Andrews, Debora Gossett Rivers, Amy Small-McKinney, and Nissa Lee with our readers.
One of the pleasures of this contest has been finding new poets in the area who hadn’t sent work to us before. If you are a poet who writes alone and feels isolated or alienated from the so-called scene (that never-ending, amazing party to which your neighbor forgot to invite you), send us your work! Go to an open mic! Join or start a writing circle! Find ways to share your poetry and your stories. You can hear what our winning poets have to say at our spring fundraising event, PARTY LIKE A POET, 5-8pm, on Friday, April 19 at the Center for Architecture. That amazing party won’t be the same without you!
Thank you to Nicole Pasquarello who coordinated this contest, our board and screeners, Carla and Christine, Dottie, and Joseph Sullivan who so generously sought to create this opportunity for poets. Thank you to the poets who submitted their poetry, and finally, thank you to Sandy Crimmins for being the kind of poet and person who continually inspired others.