2017 Poetry Contest Winners

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In celebration of National Poetry Month this April, Mesa County Libraries hosted its 6th annual poetry contest.  We had 54 entries this year, making it the best year yet–thank you!

Each winner received a gift certificate for Downtown Grand Junction. Special thanks to Dr. Randy Phillis for being our judge again! 

The winners of the 2017 poetry contest are as follows:

1st Place:  “Holding Summer” by Jill Burkey

2nd Place: “A Night Painting Without Black” by Melinda Rice

3rd Place: “fatal lyrics” by Patrick G. Metoyer


(1st Place)

Holding Summer by Jill Burkey

The children have come. Not while I was looking,
but while I sat a Sunday park bench reading poems
by Mary Oliver about always looking. If I had looked,

I would’ve seen blissful children skittering in
from their bedrooms and breakfasts
and houses that couldn’t hold them,

taking to morning like bees swarming a hive,
buzzing from swing to slide to climb to zip line
shedding flapping jackets in the face

of the fall wind, trusting the sun to warm them.
I glimpse his lime-green shirt, a flash of her pigtails
and pink high-tops and lower my gaze to the page.

They come tugging at my hands to look at the pond.
I set down my book and let them pull me
to the ducks with their bright webbed feet.

Have you ever seen such an orange?
And while we’re at it, how about this sweet
September lawn opening its long green shore

giving permission to breathe big and scatter
like irresistible dandelion fluff,
like soccer players spreading

ribbons of red and blue across the field
while the ref’s whistle shoots a crisp thrill up our spines.
My son bends down to inspect translucent wings

fluttering against a bee’s body on the sidewalk.
We squat around the pale yellow form,
talk about its good life, its sad death.

As I watch them study the end
I can almost feel snow begin
to sift through this golden air.


(2nd Place)

A Night Painting Without Black by Melinda Rice

A Night Painting without Black

Vincent Van Gogh

My uncle sold artificial lighting,
some strong enough to light a stadium.
He believed in its predictable
behavior, consistent from sunrise
to sunset. Unaffected by clouds
or solar glare, office productivity
soared. Fans reveled at the night games,
teams scored homeruns, touchdowns.
What matter the time of day?

Consider Van Gogh’s café at night,
an *immense yellow lantern casts
its light across the terrace:  patrons
sipping coffee, the waiter, white
table tops, a few empty chairs.
Townspeople greet one another
in the cobblestone street.  Dark
blues, thick strokes of deep purple,
stars bursting white as popcorn
above them in the forgotten night.

*Van Gogh in a letter to his sister


(3rd Place)

fatal lyrics by Patrick G. Metoyer

one quail feather
     rolls     in the breeze
somersaults     amid an audience of ants
boasts     of its ability to fly
     unlike its crawling spectators

their pride is an underground
lair     furnished with art-deco filigree
     expressionistic paintings
sumptuous upholstered divans with ant-sized
     pillows stuffed with aromatic down

“fly me to the moon” resounds
throughout the labyrinth … as soon as
a new feather arrives …
like icarus …
soon


Image courtesy of poets.org

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