My poem “Ecotone” recently won first place in Helen Literary Magazine‘s first annual Helen Stewart Poetry Contest. This win was an honor, a thrill, a humble windfall, and most importantly, encouraging and good news for a beginning writer like me, so accustomed to rejection. I especially loved judge Gregory Robinson’s read of the poem:
“Winner: ‘Ecotone’ is a strange, vivid, and alluring poem. There is a terrific urgency to the poem’s opening question: How will we ever meet? That same urgency continues with the response in the next stanza: ‘Listen to me/We’ll find each other soon.’ On the surface, this seems hopeful, but I’m convinced by the tone and the images of separation that this is an effort at reassurance, which may be more wish than reality, a fantasy of perfect union. Ecotones are in-between spaces, separations between two different ecological communities. They can be crossed, but identity is lost in the process.
There are hints of narrative here, but I’m unsure I could paraphrase this poem into a single story. Instead, there are places for a reader to insert himself or herself, in green lakes or graveclothes. It’s a poem of experience.
Congratulations on 1st place, Christine. I love how the poem sounds, how it combines nature and desperation, and how it surprises.”