2006 Poetry Contest Winners, Feb 06 | Congratulations to the 34 Anthology Poets and to W. E. Butts for "StardustCafé"

In its inaugural year, The Iowa Source 2006 Poetry Contest more than surpassedour judges’ expectations. We were flooded with submissions from localwriters—from Fairfield, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Sigourney, and otherIowa cities—as well as from states across the country including California,Vermont, Michigan, and New Hampshire, and countries including Australia andIndonesia. The caliber of poetry we received was, in many cases, quite high.

After days and hours spent poring over manuscripts, judges Rustin Larson,Nynke Passi, and Christine Schrum are pleased to present the winners ofboth our 2006 poetry anthology: The Poetry Source, and our 2006 PoetryBook Prize. Both books will be launched in November of this year, and Iowareadings will be arranged.

In the meantime, we have posted the winners’ names and poem titleson this page, and we plan to slowly upload all the winning poems as themonths go by. We encourage you to keep dropping by the site for regularlyupdated information on winning poems, the books, readings, and next year’scontest.

2006 Poetry Anthology Winners

The 2006 Poetry Source will contain selected poems from 34 poets from21 cities, 8 states, and 3 countries. We received scores of submissions,but somehow we managed to whittle them down to these 65 poems, whichstood out in some way for all three judges—whether for the poems’ humor,poignancy, lyricism, striking imagery, craftsmanship, or a skilled combinationthereof.

• Kim Alvarez, Stanford, CA: “Man Painted Gold”
• Jillian Barnet, Pittsburgh, PA: “Giraffa Camelopardalis”
• Elinor Benedict, Rapid River, MI: “Celestial Navigation,” “ADaughter-in-Law Watches the Old Man Hesitate,” “Two Women LeavingBeijing”
• W.E. Butts, Manchester, NH: “Clay Street,” “Journal,” “SundayFactory,” “Red Jack,” “Saved”
• Michael Carrino, Plattsburgh, NY: “Café Sonata,” Lilacs,” Potter’sField”
• Suzanne Cody, Iowa City, IA: “The Imaginary Girl”
• Caree Connet, Fairfield, IA: “Going Down to Little Egypt”
• Diane Cooledge Porter, Fairfield, IA: “To Aryanyani”
• Michelle Demers, Williston, VT: “The Fox”
• Tony Ellis, Fairfield, IA: “Sometimes”
• Rolf Erickson, Fairfield, IA: “Carrying Milk,” Intothe Woods”
• Mary Fillmore, Burlington, VT: “An Old Man and Three Stars:Liberation Day at Westerbork Transit Camp, The Netherlands”
• Glenn Freeman, Cedar Rapids, IA: “Meditation on a Mountainside,” “November1,” “Two Versions of the Self,” “The School”
• Diane Frank, San Francisco, CA: “Fourth of July in Fairfield,Iowa,” “My Mother’s Daughter,” “Déjà Vu,” “TheyThought it was a Dragon Kite”
• Rodney Franz, Fairfield, IA: “On Location”
• Lois Grunwald, Oak View, CA: “Sanctuaries,” Signposts,1”
• Dianna Henning, Janesville, CA: “Repairs,” “TheButcher’s Apprentice,” “What You Have”
• Tom Kepler: Fairfield, IA: “Eight Years Old in Sarajevo,” “Wordsfor My Son”
• Connie Larson Miller, Ottumwa, IA: “Driving Good Gifts intoHiding”
• Robin Lim, Samatiga, Aceh, Indonesia: Tsunami Notebook: “NotesTaken Flying Low and Slow on a Red Cross Plane,” “To Love aWife,” “Roti Aceh,” “Losing Trust in the Rainbow,” “WhatWill Never Dry”
• Sharon Long, Fairfield, IA: “Eden”
• Joy Lyle, Keota, IA: “The Washer Woman Moves Away from Herself,” “Brushfire”
• Margaret Lynch Siskow, Sigourney, IA: “My Sister’s Needle”
• Courtney McDermott, New Hampton, IA: “A Storyteller”
• Matthew MacLeod, Victoria, Australia: “Idleness Leads to Astronomy”
• James Moore, Fairfield, IA: “How to Kill Longing”
• Suzanne Niedermeyer, Fairfield, IA: “Passamezzo”
• Kassy Scrivner, Santa Monica, CA: “Anniversary”
• Christine Seddon, Burlington, VT: “Prediction,” “StoneCold”
• Gladys Swan, Columbia, MO: “What the Day Brings,” “SchoodicCove: Unorganized Territory,” “The Chinese Tapestry”
• Janet Thomas, Fairfield, IA: “Trees Sing My Mother,” “Morning:Three Trees,” “Lyrebird Song”
• Viktor Tichy, Iowa City, IA: “Syphilis and Chocolate”
• Tova Vitiello, Iowa City, IA: “I Thought About Her,” “Onthe Bowery,” “Awakening,” “Walking with the Moon”
• Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama, CA: “Colonoscopy”

Selected Poems from The 2006 Poetry Review

November 1


All the dead
Stubs of incense stick
From pots of rosemary,
Violet & jade, tiny relics
As if the remains
Of some fear long since
Burnt to ash & smoke
Still waft through the room

With the dust & cat hair the way
Cigarette butts & half-empty, warm
Beers concoct their own noxious smell
To eventually become

Part of the house, some elemental
Strand in the fabric like memories
Becoming your life. Halloween
Is wasted on the young. Now,

The spirits become more
Palpable, like trinkets
You’ve kept all these years
Just to be able to dust.

To Love a Wife

by Robin Lim

from the Tsunami Notebook poems

Bang Hanafi had a wife. She visited his leaf-enhanced dreams
to tell him where to find their baby daughter.
She told him to dig under a tree, by a shaft of sunlight
where she and the baby were waiting.
He led his few friends with picks, and an old shovel, to the deepmud.
When she was uncovered, he said she was beautiful.
“In her life she was black and thin. She had wished to be
plump, and white, and now she has grown big, pale.
I only wish I had some fragrant oil,
to help her smell a little better.”

Schoodic Cove: Unorganized Territory

by Gladys Swan

What do I think of first? The lake, with its
shadows and reflections, its wild shore—
the loon calls that transport it to the moon
those nights at the full when all is cry
and echo? The two white pine elders
back of the path by the old privy?
The hermit thrush that tunes the silence
of the woods to its own measure?

Or again the swamp: bull head lilies
and pickerel weed, snags stripped down
to arrows, pointing at all angles.
Like rotten teeth their roots lose hold,
and they fall to float their death
that is no death: grass shoots up;
laurel finds a home; pitcher plants,
blue asters in late summer—each log
nurse to a burgeoning world.

One year lightning struck the white pine
on the point, shattering half the
bifurcated trunk. Fragments
floating everywhere. And still it lives.

All this rises to the surface, my mind
a keep where I am kept, inadvertent
lover that I am. The kiss planted
by the eye comes back to claim me
till I can bear no separation.
It has taught me longing.

2006 Poetry Book Prize


On behalf of my fellow judges, Nynke Passi, and Christine Schrum, Iam honored to introduce the winner of the Iowa Source Poetry BookPrize, Mr. W. E. Butts, for his wonderful collection, SundayEvenings at the Stardust Café.

W. E. Butts was born and raised in upstate New York. He attended GoddardCollege and holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. He is the authorof seven previous poetry collections, including Moviesin a Small Town (Mellen Poetry Press), which was nominated for the 1997 Jane Kenyon OutstandingBook of the Year Award, and a chapbook, Sunday Factory, from FinishingLine Press. In addition to winning the Iowa Source Book Prize, SundayEvening at the Stardust Café was chosen as a finalist for the2005 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry from the University of California/Fresno.

Mr. Butts has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has receivedawards from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and New EnglandWriters. His poems have appeared in several magazines and anthologies,including The Atlanta Review, The Mid-AmericanReview, Poetry East, The 1997 Anthology of Magazine Verse, Open Door:A Poet Lore Anthology 1980-96, Under the Legislature of Stars: 62 NewHampshire Poets (OysterRiver Press), and Heartbeat of New England: ContemporaryNature Poetry (Tiger Moon Press). He has taught in poetry workshops at the Universityof New Hampshire, and is currently associate professor of English atHesser College. He lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, where, togetherwith his wife, poet S Stephanie, he edits the literary journal CryingSky: Poetry & Conversation.

As judges, we were taken with W. E. Butts’s quiet lyricism andhis ability to make the most everyday occurrences on one hand sparklewith the surprise of discovering a previously unknown universe,some previously untapped power, and at the same time be immediately usefulto the soul and enriching and within reach of every reader’s sensibilities.He can make you believe that the clouds and the weather and thesparrows were conspiring all along to buoy us intact to this moment,giving us the strength to confront the next precarious instance of time,history, memory, and existence. It is our pleasure to introduce to youW. E. Butts and Sunday Evenings at the Stardust Café.

Sunday Evenings at the Stardust Café

Young People smoke cigarettes,
drink coffee, flirt. A strip of violet
neon tubing thrusts from between the breasts
of Marilyn Monroe in a black and white poster
on the wall. On the jukebox, Neil Young
sings: “Old man, look in my eyes.”
maybe I’ll join them, promise to be quick
and reckless. The young blonde
with startling eyes, that seem to reflect
everything, will take me to a quiet booth
in back, where we’ll smoke and talk,
as if we’re really interested in the bad art
hanging next to us. I can explain then
why my life’s important. I remember Marilyn,
her mascaraed, lidded eyes, Presley
censored on Sullivan, Lennon in New York
that night at the Dakota.
Why shouldn’t she fall in love?

But I don’t want to say too much.
For instance, I can’t tell her how sad
the silver-hooped ring dangling from her nose
makes me feel, in spite of my own gold earring.
These kids look like Rimbaud, and far as I know,
they probably are. Think of it, a dozen
reincarnated Rimbauds in a greasy spoon,
pale and dressed in black, notebooks open
to pages ready to record whatever’s wrong.

I remember a film, “Wild in the Streets,”
The President of the United States,
a rock musician, twenty-five and aging fast,
whose platform was built on the premise
that anyone over twenty-one was suspect,
contemplates his life. In the final frame,
a ten-year-old boy faces the camera
and promises a future of bubble-gum and baseball,
but like with anything else, there’s a catch.

Back at the Stardust, the waitress,
who is friendly, brings my sandwich.
An old woman mutters, squints at the menu,
and counts her change. Tourists ride
horse-drawn carriages clapping down
the brick streets, or dance on the deck
of a cruise ship entering the harbor.
The kids take their notebooks and leave.


That poor, cloned sheep on the evening news,
old before its time;
a man, blind for thirty years,
sight restored; the infant lifted
from the incubator at the hospital ward
in Belgrade; my new marriage;
the cat rising from its primordial sleep.

Anything can happen: the wafer
of my dead mother floating like a leaf
across the late summer lawn;
crows resting on the maple
of my father’s shoulder.
Who knows what to expect?

Each morning I step out to sun,
snow, rain, blizzard, or calm sea.
Here there is nothing
I can’t believe.

One Day in the Fifties

We returned from factory shift,
dining car dishes, childhood’s river
and flow–Father, Mother, and I–
where our routines were small prayers
offered to that god of simple requests,
who would bless each day
for what it was worth.

Television reported
one of its many events,
and a nervous eyewitness
described the car leaving
the road near the bridge,
its crazy swerve down the bank,
its crash into the willow.

Thank God, Mother said,
it was no one
we knew. It was time
for the variety show, and a thin man
hurried across the stage,
balancing spinning plates
on long poles from his forehead
and extended arms,
two tiny white poodles
yapping at his ankles,
and all of us laughed.