2018 WRITE ON! CONTEST COMMENTS FROM OUR JUDGES
Poetry Contest Winners (Poetry Judge, Sylvia Symons)
First Place: Jude Goodwin – There I was again
Second Place: Andrew Lafleche – enclosure
Third Place: Angela Rebrec – When His Voice Resounds, He Holds Nothing Back
Poetry Honourable Mentions
Alex Hamilton-Brown – As We Were
Barbara Carter – love in chains on the beach
Ruth Hill – Rainforest Matrix
First Place There I was again by Jude Goodwin
I love the plain-spoken, conversational tone of this piece and how quickly it moves from the mundane to the extraordinary. The images of caterpillars (and then moose!) falling from the sky are vivid and startling. Everything in this poem wants its presence known, right down to the “light cling(ing) to raindrops, looking for weight.”
Second Place enclosure by Andrew Lafleche
Like the tiger pacing its cage, this poem is “bursting with muscle”…a zoo of suffering animals, a planet in an uneasy relationship with time. The allegory in this poem is blunt and complete. The writer takes us firmly by the arm to show us something we don’t want to see. But we can’t look away.
Third Place When His Voice Resounds, He Holds Nothing Back by Angela Rebrec
I love how this poem brings snippets of formal, Biblical language to an unimpressive patch of plants on the north side of a house. The writer has a sharp ear for acoustics as a woman “prays among hosta and autumn fern.” The tight-packed garden is perfectly reflected in the dense, rich language of this piece.
– Sylvia Symons
Non-fiction Contest Winners (Non-Fiction Judge, Grayson Smith)
First Place: Jennifer M. Smith – In A Laundry Room On Virgin Gorda
Second Place: Angela Post – Changing Connections
Third Place: Bryant Ross – Kind-Hearted Woman
Non-Fiction Honourable Mentions
Bryant Ross – House Jacks
(SheLa) Nefertiti Morrison – Baby Pool Gangstas
Joyce Goodwin – A Journey Home
First Place In A Laundry Room On Virgin Gorda s by Jennifer M. Smith
This story is as rich as it is simple. With the details of what would seem a typical discussion on a typical day, the author invites warmth, heartache, and intrigue. This story, and the unspoken story behind it, will stay with you for a while, as it did with me.
Second Place Changing Connections by Angela Post
Changing Connections is a thoughtful commentary on how technology affects us in ways we might not recognize. The author weaves narrative and intuition with refreshing insight.
Third Place Kind-Hearted Woman by Bryant Ross
Haunting, grim, and well-written. This is the type of family history that makes for good reading.
I very much enjoyed reading all these stories. Thanks again for the opportunity.
Fiction Contest Winners (Fiction Judge, Clara Cristofaro)
First Place: Claire Lawrence – Silenced
Second Place: Chelsea Comeau – Ghosts
Third Place: Bryant Ross – The Dragline
Fiction Honourable Mentions
W. Bryce – Lili Marlene
Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki – Eagle Mountain
Tiffany Crawford – Future PRIMEative
First Place Silenced by Claire Lawrence
This story captured me with its short sentences and strong language. Its voice is stark and lonely, featuring themes of wreckage and recovery, age and youth. It’s all about the small moments that continue to exist even as huge moments overshadow. What I loved about this story was its use of imagery to convey mood, for example, “…a murder of small, dirty children,” and “…the toxic fumes will cure in my lungs long after the flames have burnt out.” We see a glimpse of backbone behind the despair. We don’t believe that our narrator will be defeated. I like that the ending is understated, that without knowing exactly what happens next, we see our narrator discover something that gives them hope. A new cycle is beginning. This was a very compassionate and realistic study of a complex character in an awful situation. Congratulations!
Second Place Ghosts by Chelsea Comeau
Elegant language and understated descriptions like “…her dress rising around her in a bloom of blue cotton…” and “…the sky darkened to that burning orange-before-blue of summer…” make this story feel like a ghost story, something told after dark. I feel privy to a secret that the narrator has never shared with anyone but me. The children in the story understand grief and loss, their own experience rooted in reality, not the paranormal. I was hypnotized by sentences that gave just enough information and somehow conveyed a sense of floating, even as the words anchored us to earth and real life. There is great strength and wisdom in the voice of the narrator, an adult telling a story about his childhood without judgment, only the merest hint of regret. He has forgiven himself and I understand.
Third Place The Dragline by Bryant Ross
I appreciated the writer throwing us right into the action, establishing a voice and perspective that doesn’t mess around. Our hero is easy to picture from his language, his short sentences and jarring, vivid descriptions like “…a sky as grey as a wino’s phlegm.” We are led with great diplomacy into a world we may not be familiar with; there is a great balance between explaining and over-explaining. When we learn what the dragline does, for example, we learn it along with the seventeen year old narrator as he starts his job. We watch as heoes his work and sees more than he bargained for. We are horrified along with him, and in the end, a neat transition to the present, the simplest of sentences, and well-placed repetition work together to bring home the horror he felt then, and still feels now.
– Clara Cristofaro
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