Crab Creek Review is pleased to announce the results of the 2018 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize, judged by Maggie Smith.
The prize-winning poem, selected from approximately 1000 poems, is Duncan Slagle’s “Anne Says the Autopsy Smells.” Duncan will received $500 and his poem will be published in the fall issue of Crab Creek Review.
Erika Brumett’s poem, “Passage” and Jade Hurter’s poem, “The Swan” were selected as finalists, and Lisa Flynn’s poem, “My Mother Dreams An Archaeopteryx” received Honorable Mention. Each of the poems will appear in the fall issue as well.
Maggie Smith, whose most recent book is the wildly popular “Good Bones” (Tupelo Press) had this to say about the poems:
I admire so much about this poem: the blending of voices, the momentum from clause to clause and line to line, and the invention and insight in the language. Most of all, perhaps, I’m taken in by the poet’s masterful use of enjambment to harness that power at the end of a line and pull it down, and to subvert the reader’s expectations in those turns. This is a poem I want to read again as soon as I finish it.
This poet understands how form follows function, and the cacophony of the bird sounds described—that overwhelming layering of sounds—is enacted in the poem itself. The listing, the digressions, and the enjambments—all of these work together to approximate the speaker’s passage through unintelligible noise to silence, a “hush forewarning.”
This sonnet-esque poem packs a lot into fourteen lines, and I’m particularly impressed by the restraint. The poem takes its time, doling out its images and insights slowly and confidently. It’s a beautifully understated fable of a poem that, to me, speaks to the awkward and yet miraculous shapeshifting women do in the real world.
I was immediately charmed by the juxtaposition of the surreal premise and the commonplace details (those chunks of melon, the too-small car), plus the pitch-perfect, nothing-to-see-here diction. This poet also masterfully uses stanza to structure the narrative.
Congratulations to all, including the semifinalists, whose work will also be published in the fall issue:
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
The editors anonymously read over 1000 poems and had the difficult task of narrowing down the field to 30 poems to send to the judge. We were impressed by the craftsmanship of these poems, and the sheer volume of brave, vulnerable, political, socially relevant, brilliant work. Thank you to all of the entrants, and to all of our readers. We hope you will support these writers by picking up a copy of the contest issue of Crab Creek Review when it is published this fall.