Poetry 99 editor’s picks

Additional nods from the contest’s highest-ranking judge

For the second straight year, hundreds of local poets submitted entries to Poetry 99. The panel of CN&R editors did not honor some poems that the CN&R editor happened to like. So, here are some additional honorees, courtesy of said editor.

The first two are haiku:


Chrysalis hanging
Ketchup stuck in bottle neck

By Sharon DeMeyer


Stars fade, disappear
Dawn colors night’s canopy
Ground coffee steams fresh

By Sue Walz

This one—free verse with a rhyming trio—made the editor’s personal top five:

Stop Signs

The vibrant red sign appears before me like
a blinding metaphor of all that
we daily choose to ignore
The homeless man propped shamefully
against the wall in front
of your local liquor store.
The call for donations to feed the hungry
posted on a coffeehouse door.
The trash heaped, stinking
on the alleyway floor.
Yet on we rush,
choosing instead oblivion and denial.
Never willing to slow for
the signs that call upon us every day,
if only for a few seconds, to

By Sarah Kirkpatrick

Similar depth surfaces here:

Weekend Activist

The chorus of mournful sighs becomes a shriek.
The creak and sway of red-furred guardians whispers,
“A storm comes.”
They know weather, but it may be the last time
These low-tech solar cells feel rain.
Destruction is imminent.
A cycle of growth and decay interrupted
An diverted to alternate ends misappropriates
Giants into profits.
Aged limbs soon will be torn, cracked, and broken,
One home sawed to bits, reduced to parts and used
To construct another.
While life remains, walk in awe among majesty
Before the verdant ceiling and its pillars become a truncated
Pillar of stumps.

By John Mantle

We got three entries in the teen category from the stepmother of an 18-year-old poet who was 15 when she wrote the pieces. The fave:

Stand Proud

Stuck to a small stone slab
Stuck to a shelf by a single magnet,
I am a green and purple dragon,
Looking down to my scales.
Temperature of 72 degrees.
Oh I wish it was hotter
So hot, I could free myself from this slab.
Every last part of me.
So I can touch the ground,
Free to roam
Free to stand tall and proud
Like the dragon on the shelf above me.

By Jennifer Shier

All the editors love reading kids’ poems. Some entries read too much like school assignments, but most show the unbridled creativity that comes from unfiltered, uncensored innocence. Here’s a case in point from the daughter of an artist father and poet mother:

Golden Fish

There was a golden fish
with the scales of the water.
It had a friend that was human.
That human was a Barbie. (She had very long hair.)
The Barbie jumped in to the water,
the fish smiled at the Barbie.
The Barbie was not happy,
she tried to talk to the fish,
but the fish could not understand.

By Marie Dawn Tellesen (age 7)

Here’s one from the kid winner of this spring’s Fiction 59 (which perhaps might have caught more judges’ eyes were it titled “Comet”):


A multicolored glass star
blue, green yellow, and red
moving aimlessly through space
refracting light
an empty prismatic core
waiting for something to fill it
an unknown past and an undecided future
its purpose is an enigma
nothing to stop it, or admire it
just a lonely floating piece
of multicolored glass
with a prismatic core
a beauty seen by none

By Carter Twist (age 12)

And finally, how can you not smile at this one? After all, it’s titled …


My smile is a muscle action
I would die if my smile were in traction
I love my smile
I carry it all the while
Oh boy! How I love my smile!

By Hailey House (age 10)