I hope, as 2013 came to a close, that everyone reading this blog received a gift that he or she wanted.
The theme for the December contest was to write about a gift, and I was so pleased, once again, with how entrants interpreted that theme.
One of my goals with this blog for 2014 is to feature more than just the winner of the contest, because it’s become increasingly difficult for me to choose just one poem to highlight above the others. The original intention of the “post your entry as a comment on this thread” format was so that everyone would be “published.”
Since the contest began last February, 88 poems have been submitted by York County poets.
How cool is that?
For December, 6 poets submitted work on the theme of gifts. During a busy holiday and crazy weather season, it’s very satisfying to know that, for many of us, writing is a priority. We make time for it no matter what else is going on in our lives, because the need to communicate and connect with others never stops.
So, 6 entries — a few new names and a few I recognized — and the last PoMo winner for 2013 is Shane Haddaway of Shrewsbury Township:
The Gift of The Twinkle
See ribbons swim through themselves under Saintly cover of the pine, dashing and splashing gracefully, one box at a time.
Laying wake, ever carefully in the lights of Christmas morning, yet the twinkle has not yet found an eye.
Magic and wonder breathe tinsled crispness through the air, stirs and quiet purrs are soon to rise with wild stares, bedside as the time arrives and it is Christmas morning, yet the twinkle has not yet found an eye.
Frenzied shreddings of graceful ribboned splashes sink the floor, fractured ornamental sentiments and wrappings tore, a child turns and smiles at her Dad on Christmas morning, and now the twinkle has found an eye.
I chose Shane’s poem because, while the others were certainly deserving of the recognition, his resonated with me on two levels. First, his poem is about a small child on Christmas morning, and I recently celebrated my first Christmas morning with my son. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the holidays, with all the gift-giving, travel plans, parties, family gatherings, decorating and spending, spending, spending; but on the morning of the 25th (or whenever and however you celebrate), if you have little ones around, all that chaos seems to fade to the background for a while. The “twinkle” Shane references becomes prevalent — is, in fact, the true gift, if you’re a parent — and I think he captured that very well.
The second reason I chose Shane’s poem is because it’s a prose poem, and I haven’t talked much about this form. According to the Poetry Foundation, a prose poem is defined as “a prose composition that, while not broken into verse lines, demonstrates other traits such as symbols, metaphors and other figures of speech common to poetry.” I used to be adamant about poems needing line breaks in order to be poems, but have since read some truly remarkable prose poetry (personal favorites are “Money for Sunsets,” by Elizabeth Colen, and Maria Negroni’s “Night Journey”) , and have come to realize that terms really don’t matter much. Good writing is good writing, right?
For more on prose poetry, check out recommendations at poets.org.
Shane answered the usual questions about his winning poem:
Q. Tell us a bit about you and your experience writing poetry.
A. I’ve been writing poems and songs my whole life. Poems have always been more of a personal thing and something that I do when words need to come out, while the songs have, especially recently, taken the front seat. (Regarding musical projects: interested parties can book, contact me, and listen to some old and new original music that I’ve just recently made available at http://soundcloud.com/shane-
Q. How did you choose the subject of your poem?
A. I saw through a link on Facebook that your blog had asked for poems regarding presents and holidays and so, being a father, I decided to write about the gift of experiencing the joy in your children.
What’s your favorite part of Shane’s poem?