Judge's comments are included here. Our judge was David Mason, who was the Poet Laureate of Colorado from 2010 to 2014 and is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO. His books of poetry include the historical novel in verse, Ludlow, The Buried Houses, The Country I Remember, and Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade, 2004 – 2014. He is published in many nationally prestigious journals and has also written essays, memoir, and novels.
- 1st Place: "10 Years After Katrina" by Mary Jo Maguire, Englewood, CO
What I love about this small poem is its big, sassy heart and the way it follows its own logic of sound.
- 2nd Place: "George Faulkner, Dying at Daysboro" by Sandra Lake Lassen, West Jefferson, NC
This writer has taken in the tough spirit of Southern Gothic. I love the poem's earthy reality.
- 3rd Place: "Breaking Point" by Barb Blanks, Garland, TX
The wacky energy of this strange, violent poem made me feel in the presence of a real writer.
- 4th Place: "Enjambment" by Marian Kaplun Shapiro, Lexington, MA
It's a rare poem that can take an aspect of poetic technique, play with it, and simultaneously make us feel something important about life.
Honorable mentions are in no particular order
- "Inheritance" by Marian Kaplun Shapiro, Lexington, MA
Another poem that leaves much to the imagination.
- "John Walters" by Jerri Hardesty, Brierfield, AL
This poem has real magnitude, and its ending is terrific.
- "King of Barnhill" by Barbara Brannon, Lubbuck, TX
There's a strange, understated intelligence in this poem I really appreciate—a willingness to leave out explanation.
- "How to Lose Your Mind" by Cathy Moran, Little Rock, AR
An unsentimental poem about a difficult prospect for any of us.
- "A Rumor of Coyotes" by Christina Kamnikar, Cheyenne, WY
I love the unexplained, and the lyric power of the refrain.
"I have read through the poems and thought a great deal about my awards," Mason wrote in his general comments. "The truth is that my top three all feel pretty equal to me, and the HMs could all be ranked higher as well. What I looked for as I read was work that had fully made the leap from prose to poetry. Sometimes even competent verse is still too wedded to prose sense. All 9 of my top poems are fully poetic, I think, and I congratulate the authors.It was a pleasure doing this work, and again I congratulate all the winners. There were several others who could easily have been on this list."