We’re delighted that Catherine Chandler, a fine poet from Canada, was willing to serve as judge for the winter issue quarterly prize. She has been a contributor to our pages for 10 years, is author of Lines of Flight, a collection of sonnets, This Sweet Order, and two chapbooks. Her choice and comments follow:
There were so many beautiful poems in The Lyric’s Winter issue that it was not an easy task to choose but one for the Quarterly Prize. I was impressed by the craftsmanship on display in Philip E. Burnam’s villanelle (a truly difficult form to master), “Sunday Morning”; amused by the music, wit, and wisdom of Gail White’s “Constant Reader”; and found myself nodding in agreement with the lovely sentiments expressed in Carol Snow’s “Winter Love”. But the one poem to which I returned again and again, for its striking use of metaphor and imagery — and because, quite frankly, it gave me the goosebumps! — was Susan St. Martin’s “Sunset over Somerset (The View from Fall River). Ms. St. Martin has achieved in six lines what a novelist might require a chapter to portray. For this reason, “Sunset over Somerset” is my choice for the Quarterly Prize.
Thank you again to Catherine Chandler for her time and insight spent in judging the issue.
Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting poets that I had only known by their words at the West Chester Poetry Conference. Then this spring, it was a privilege to meet more poets and editors in person at the Poetry By the Sea conference, with the additional fortuitous bonus of meeting the winner of the 2017 collegiate contest, John Markland as well.
Spring is in full-throated song in Vermont, with a lady robin demanding deference over the entry door of the house for her nest. Humans are now relegated to the back door for entrance and exit, or outraged protests ensue. Chipmunks overrun the deck searching for sunflower seeds dropped from the birdfeeder. No bears so far. All around green leafiness has erupted, dappling the grass and floating in the breeze. You would understand why we wax rhapsodic here as the season changes if you lived with the icy clenched fist of winter for five months. Just as sorrow may make happiness more poignant, winter in Vermont makes spring ecstatically welcome!
Here’s to a sunny day, a lawn chair, a light breeze and good poetry!