Contests are held for members in conjunction with each gathering to give opportunity and encouragement to keep writing and to receive constructive feedback, recognition, and deserved praise from knowledgeable judges. Subject, form, and line limit for contests are announced in the preceding newsletter. Contest deadlines are always postmarked 1 month before the next meeting. Poems are sent anonymously to judges who make written decisions and comments on each entry, to be presented orally at the meeting. Judges' choices of the top three entries in each contest are recognized with certificates, cash awards, and publication in the newsletter. Honorable mentions are awarded certificates and published in the Stanza if space allows.

CONTEST WINNERS of September 2017
Subject Poem: A poem that makes some use of or reference to a myth or myths from any culture.
Contest Winners: "Fairy Tale/Popular Culture" Poems, judged by Jeri Theriault.
1st Prize: Piper's Promise - Jim Brosnan
2nd Prize: The Singing Tortoise - Bill Frayer
3rd Prize: The Dancing Jew - Jenny Doughty


Maine Poets Society is proud to present our inaugural (but we hope annual) prize poem contest.

The contest is open to all Maine residents, including seasonal residents, with the exception of current members of the MPS board. If your entry will be postmarked out of state, please enclose a letter verifying your address when resident in Maine. There is a $5 entry fee.

The topic and form are left open to the poet's judgment, but there is a line limit of 50 lines. Entries exceeding the limit will be disqualified.

Our distinguished judge in 2018 will be Betsy Sholl, Maine Poet Laureate from 2009-2013. Our prize of $100 will be presented at the 2018 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance awards evening, which will be held on Thursday, June 14 in Portland.

Please send two copies of your poem, one of them identified with your name and contact details (mailing address, email address and telephone number) and one with no additional information on it, to MPS President Jenny Doughty, at 278 Flaggy Meadow Road, Gorham, ME 04038. Mark your envelope CONTEST.

Entries may be sent any time after January 1, 2018. The closing date for entries is March 10 and entries should be postmarked on or before that date.

Enclose a check for $5 payable to Maine Poets Society, with "Contest entry" on the memo line.

Enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope if you would like your entry returned.

Members-only Contest Submissions

(NOTE: Submission to a contest constitutes permission to publish.)

Send to: James Breslin
451 Bassett Rd.
Winslow, ME 04901
• 2 copies of your poem (ONE with your name; one without)
• Envelope: Letter-size (long, #10)
DEADLINE: March 28, 2018 marked “CONTEST”
1 poem (no fee) • INCLUDE SASE!!

Contest Poem—SUBJECT: Write a poem of no more than 30 lines that connects an experience from your own or your family history with a broader social, political, or historical context.

In “The Dancing” (on page 2), Gerald Stern describes the scene in his parents’ house when the family hears over the radio that Germany has surrendered and World War II will come to an end. Stern’s poem connects his direct experience on a powerful emotional level to what has been happening in Europe, specifically the murders in the concentration camps.

The Dancing
Gerald Stern, b. 1925

In all these rotten shops, in all this broken furniture
and wrinkled ties and baseball trophies and coffee pots
I have never seen a post-war Philco
with the automatic eye
nor heard Ravel’s “Bolero” the way I did
in 1945 in that tiny living room
on Beechwood Boulevard, nor danced as I did
then, my knives all flashing, my hair all streaming,
my mother red with laughter, my father cupping
his left hand under his armpit, doing the dance
of old Ukraine, the sound of his skin half drum,
half fart, the world at last a meadow,
the three of us whirling and singing, the three of us
screaming and falling, as if we were dying,
as if we could never stop—in 1945—
in Pittsburgh, beautiful filthy Pittsburgh, home
of the evil Mellons, 5,000 miles away
from the other dancing—in Poland and Germany—
oh God of mercy, oh wild God.



Lee Sharkey is the author of Walking Backwards (Tupelo, 2016), Calendars of Fire (Tupelo, 2013), A Darker, Sweeter String (Off the Grid, 2008), and eight earlier full-length poetry collections and chapbooks. Her poetry has appeared in Consequence, Crazyhorse, FIELD, Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, Seattle Review, and other journals. Her recognitions include the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, the Abraham Sutzkever Centennial Translation Prize, the RHINO Editors’ Prize, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

 © 2018 Maine Poets Society.
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