February Poetry Contest Winner

Another month, another delayed contest result. This time it was the fault of the Texas Snowpocalypse! I’m glad to be on the other side of that and getting things back on track.

Արման Բարսեղյան, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This month’s winner is Peter H. Schmidt. His golden shovel, “Rise Up,” draws from John Gillespie Magee’s “High Flight,” as well as “My Shot (Rise Up Part)” from the musical Hamilton. Peter asked me to make a donation to an organization helping homeless people in Austin; I selected Caritas of Austin, an organization dear to my heart, to receive a $25 donation in his honor.

Rise Up
What does it mean to rise up
Is it enough not to give up
Is hope caged the rage the
Phrase of the heart too long
Denied a fair start, delirious
Furious infamous self-injurious burning
Away as respect is due, blue
Notes all through, I’ve
Never stopped, won’t be topped
Won’t take my eyes off the
Sky, gonna do, not die, wind-swept
I will climb clouds to heights
Flights of eagles at my feet with
Stars so close I’ll make it easy
For all eyes to see: my amazing grace

The Best of It: More Good Things About Moving Edition

  1. Having a dishwasher for the first time in seven years.
  2. For the first time in my life, having a space where I don’t have to take into account anyone else’s needs.
  3. My neighborhood Buy Nothing group.
  4. Much better lighting in the new place.
  5. Being in walking distance of Monkey Nest Coffee

February Poetry Contest: Golden Shovel

Photo by Scott R on Pexels.com

I can’t wait to see what y’all write for this month’s poetry contest! There are two prize options: 1) A $25 gift certificate to the independent bookstore of your choice, or 2) A $25 donation to the literacy nonprofit, aid organization, or public library of your choice. Please see the Monthly Contest Page for complete rules (there aren’t many) and past winners. This month’s deadline is Friday, February 20th.

The golden shovel is a form invented by poet Terrance Hayes. He created it in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks. In honor of Black history month, the February contest is to write a golden shovel related to environmental or climate issues. Feel free to be creative with the source text. My friend E. Kristin Anderson has a series of golden shovels based on Ke$ha songs.

If you’re unfamiliar with this form, read the poem “Golden Shovel” by Terrance Hayes as a reference point. Notice how the line endings in both parts are made up from Brooks’ “We Real Cool.” Notice how Hayes uses the words in a more straightforward way in the first section, and focuses more on sound in the section section. (Note: you do not need to write a multi-section poem; go with what works for you.)

Email your golden shovel to allyson@allysonwhipple.com by 11:59 pm on February 20th. Please also send me the title and author of the poem or song you used as your source text. (Include a link if possible.) The winner will receive a gift certificate to the independent bookstore of their choice, or I will make a donation in their honor to a nonprofit.

January Poetry Contest Winner

After much delay, I’m finally excited to announce the winner of the January poetry contest! I received a record number of entries this month, and on top of that, I had to move unexpectedly after my landlord sold my house! It’s a relief to be getting settled in my new place and back into a routine.

Lisa Janice Cohen wrote the winning haiku. For the prize, she chose a $25 donation to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Frost flowers
A log’s jeweled heart 
Fused in glass

Thank you, Lisa! And thanks to everyone else who participated. I was especially heartened to see several entries from people who don’t consider themselves poets or writers.

Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review is Expanding Our Leadership Team

Cover art from issue 52: Los dias oscuros 99 by Octavio Quintanilla

One of my (many) passion projects is serving on the board of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. It’s been an honor to help keep an independent print journal going during increasingly challenging times.

Borderlands is currently going through a leadership transition. This fall, the board realized that we needed to split our volunteer Administrative Director position into three roles. The work was just too much for one person, especially with their work considered an in-kind donation to the organization. To that end, we split the role into three: Administrative Director, Development Director, and Production Director.

We are looking for people interested in serving Borderlands in a volunteer capacity to help us continue to thrive. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and we have been going strong since 1992 largely with the help of committed community members.

You can find descriptions of all three positions here. Submissions are open until February 15th, 2021. To apply, please send a resume to allyson@allysonwhipple.com (you can address your email to the Board as a whole.)

Please also feel free to pass this information on to anyone you think would be interested! Even if these roles aren’t right for you, spreading the word is a huge help. One of the best things you can do is help the right people for the job find us!

(And of course, if you’re looking for other ways to help, you can always make a tax-deductible donation through our website. It’s never too soon to work on that 2021 tax deduction.)

January Poetry Contest

First snow. Not impressed.

It’s time for another poetry contest! I can’t wait to see what y’all send me this month. There are two prize options: 1) A $25 gift certificate to the independent bookstore of your choice, or 2) A $25 donation to the literacy nonprofit or public library of your choice. Please see the Monthly Contest Page for complete rules (there aren’t many) and past winners. This month’s deadline is Wednesday, January 20th at 11:59 pm.

Write a haiku with the following theme: inside/outside. You do not have to include the theme words in your poem; explore different ways of embodying the theme through language and image. Haiku can range from 1-3 lines. 5-7-5 syllable structure is not required. Please keep haiku to approximately 17 total syllables for the entire poem.

Email your haiku to allyson@allysonwhipple.com by 11:59 pm on January 20th. Given the brevity of the form, poems pasted into the body of the email are preferred. If you have unique formatting that requires submitting as and attachment, that’s fine.