The judge for the quarterly prize for the Summer issue is Dorrith Leipziger, who leapt onto our pages six years ago and has been a steady presence since. As you may know, she is of the nonageneration persuasion (age being a matter of personal choice, time being an illusion). Her comments follow:
It wasn’t easy, but I finally settled on James Tweedie’s Forever Nine as my first choice of all the good poems in the Summer 2020 issue. His mastery of the sonnet is evident in both form and substance. His readers are swept along with him into the joys of summertime dives into the cold waters of a nearby lake, a seasonal pleasure not only of boyhood memory but effortlessly repeatable as grown-up indulgence. One can only wish that all of us were blessed with the gift of recreating the past with such ease and enthusiasm.
Bill Guest’s Kite and Balloon, aptly appearing on the same page as another salute to the carefree abandon of boyhood, is a close runner-up. His twelve well-crafted lines move easily as he watches his two wind-borne toys fly up into the sky, harbingers of the astronauts to come. I do understand his decision to stop just short of another sonnet, having fallen into this sense of closure often in my own writing. When a poem has found its natural resolution, form shouldn’t force the poet to go on.
Time may be an illusion, but it doesn’t stand still, and change is inescapable. We chose to put our home and office in Jericho into the past tense, and as of December, are what Vermonters call “snowbirds,” —those fleeing the winter winds and migrating back when the warm weather returns. With this shift, our vehicles of poetic communication with contributors and subscribers will expand of necessity. You may still send submissions and subscriptions by postal service to the post office in Jericho (P. O. Box 110, Jericho, VT 05465) and they (wonderful people!) will forward the mail. And we will have to grudgingly open the email door to submissions. For now, you may submit by email if you have been previously published in our pages. Shhhhhh…..keep it close to the vest. We’ll tip toe toward digital submissions together, considering options as we go.
The collegiate contest is in full swing, and we look forward to receiving good poetry from undergraduate students in the continental United States (and Hawaii). Please encourage any young poets that you know to enter! The first prize is $500. Entries are carefully gathered for consideration by college contest coordinator, Tanya Cimonetti, 1393 Spear Street, Burlington, VT 05403. The postmark deadline is December 31st, with winners to be announced in the Winter 2021 issue.
Ever and always, we are deeply grateful to the Lyric Foundation for making The Lyric financially viable, a little literary ship sailing through the vicissitudes of the decades, and coming now into our 100th year of publication.
The poems here help us remember that despite reports to the contrary, truth, beauty, love and wisdom are alive and well in the hearts of poets and people everywhere.