Monday, April 20, 2009

National Poetry Month

I went to the Utah State Poetry Society convention over the weekend. I heard some wonderful poetry. I wasn't going to go, but the contest chair called me and asked me to read the winners in one of the categories. I was so glad I went. There is nothing like hearing a poet read his/her own poems.

And here's the good news: I got an honorable mention for this lovely little ditty (warning--it's kind of weird!):

The Offering

The kitchen drawer paring knife
with the bent tip
pierces the skin between
the long thin foot bones above the
second and third toes.
not a clean, smooth scalpel drawn line of blood
but a jagged, meat-torn window
to where the bones are.

That’s what I’m after:
The bones.

I remove them, one by one,
from the right foot
and pile them,
clean and white,
like kindling
on a clean white plate
with a chipped rim
carefully placed on a clean white cloth
with one frayed edge
at the head of the dining room table.

Thin, delicate, unbroken.

I harvest the bones to the ankle.
I pause.
Why am I doing this? I ask myself.
And I can’t recall.
I just know it must be done.

The newly emptied fleshy flap of skin
sags at an awkward angle
from my right ankle
as it rests on my left knee.

Enough, I say.
And it is enough.

And the big news is . . . I won FIRST PLACE in the sonnet/villanelle category for my winter sonnet!!!!! I was soooooooo excited. I was up against some very good, very experienced poets. I recognized the names of three of the people who placed LOWER than I did!!! I BEAT THEM!!!!!! Huzzah! I've been validated!

This frigid wintry wind still blows forlorn;
From blue-black north the steel-grey clouds are sent.
The mountains with white fur themselves adorn,
And with that heavy fur, the firs are bent.
Look! Lacy crystals, gossamer they seem;
Yet look again, their jagged edges found.
And sifting down from heaven? No, they teem--
Collide, cascade, conflict, contend, crash down.
Benumbed are all by endless brumal skies;
All flesh is bit with brisk and bitter breath.
Abysmal, boundless winter -- future lies,
Hell frozen o’er, in truth’s a hellish death.
What’s this? In snow, a crocus head I see.
Thou, Winter, who deals death, soon dead shall be.

I was pleased with it all. There are some incredible poets in this state! I was happy to rub shoulders with them for a moment.


Tiffany said...

Congratulations! That is so exciting! You and Billy Collins are my favorite poets! Glad to see that you are finally on your way to catching up with Billy's fame!

Jen said...

Way to go Shannon!! I'm not surprised at all though...your poetry is great!

Cowboy Curtis said...

Cool! Will it be published?

seashmore said...

Congrats! I'm always impressed by anyone who can write sonnets, but especially good ones. :)

lizzie said...

very nice. i am happy for you! so exciting!

Clark said...

I love your poetry, Shannon. Congratulations!