Thomas H. McDill Award

I spent these past few days celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and a few close friends. It was three days of food and games and laughter and impromptu crochet projects that filled me with utter joy. Here, I also acknowledge that the holiday itself has a violent history that deserves our reflection – one that some believe is beyond redemption. I also believe that magic is possible when people gather together to express gratitude.  What does that have to do with the Pinesong Awards? Well. Not much. Until you consider what happens when my father begins to say grace. You…

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Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse Award

One of the current conversations in the performance poetry community is centered around the consumption of trauma. If you’ve never been to a poetry slam, let me confess openly that some of the stereotypes ring true. As the event goes on you are likely to hear stories about racism and homophobia, depression and alcoholism, violence and grief – happy poems don’t win slams. Even in our conversations about craft, we highlight the ways that poetry heals us  – all of the ways we write through our traumas and bring our pain to the page.  Here, I don’t by any means…

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Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness Award

Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness Award I think often about what it means to live in the Information Age, particularly now at a time when getting news (or opinions or snapshots of your meal) seems to take precedence over accuracy or consequence. I think about what it means to bear witness – to decide, “I will stand with you. Watch with you. I will not let this be forgotten.”  A part of me wants to share now about Darnella Frazier, and how George Floyd’s murderer would have gone free had it not been for her witness.  I want to tell…

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Bloodroot Haiku Award

Each week, I’d like to take a moment to highlight an individual contest from this year’s Pinesong Awards. First up: The Bloodroot Haiku Award. The contemporary English haiku is derived from the traditional Japanese form and is most commonly perceived as having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, featuring some image from nature. There are, however, a few questions: Does the English concept of a syllable correspond to what the Japanese form attempted to convey? How pertinent is the line count to the form; that is, can we have any number of lines that total seventeen syllables?…

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Countdown to Contests

We are less than two weeks away from the start of our submission period! Have you already selected the poems you’ll be entering? Still working on those final edits? Wherever you are in the process, I hope you know how excited we are to receive your work. If you’ve not had a chance to familiarize yourself with the rules for this year’s contests, please head over to the adult contest page to check those out. I want to point out here, that this year we are including sestinas in the Joanna Catherine Scott award (all traditional forms) instead of as…

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An Introduction

I’ve thought long and hard about what my first post to the Pinesong Awards blog should be: A favorite poem? A recap of a meeting? Just wait until just before the contests open and inundate with prompts and potential inspirations? Then I thought: How else will I honor my Xanga-Myspace-LiveJournal roots if not by fully introducing myself to this world of Pinesong Awards Blog Readers?

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The Victorious Poetry

It is my pleasure and honor to present the winning poems of the Pinesong Awards for 2021: Poet Laureate AwardPreliminary Judge Taylor ByasFinal selection by Jaki Shelton GreenWinner:Piecework by Susan AlffFinalists:The Children’s Section by Laura AldersonSynagogue 1964 by Joanne DurhamCompost by Janet FordGarage by Maura HighFruit by Jo Ann HoffmanThe Day After Christmas by Sandra PopeLessons In Applied Etymology by Celisa SteeleOrphaned by Andrew Taylor-TroutmanStanding at the Fence Staring into Cow Eyes Waiting for a Sign by Lucinda Trew Alice Osborn AwardJudge Corrie WilliamsonFirst Place:A Bucket List for Spring by Shelly Reed ThiemanSecond Place:Flying Lesson by Nancy SwansonHonorable Mention:Cow Lullaby…

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Last Call and a Final Hint

The submission period for the Pinesong Awards for 2021 ends at midnight. Please email your entries by then. As I settle in to process the entries that have come in over the last several days, let me give you a final hint: you don’t have to send all your entries at the same time. If you send some this afternoon, or if you’ve already sent some, and you get the urge to enter something else, you may do so up to the midnight deadline. Perhaps the unprecedented events of this week have inspired fresh ink. If so, we’d love to…

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the Internet Poetic

Early last year, when Italy was the first country to issue stay-at-home orders, I came across a video on Twitter. It showed the tenants of an apartment complex standing on their balconies and making music together across the empty space of a courtyard. There was no commentary, no explanation. Just the shakiness of a handheld device recording this exhibition of the human spirit. It was intimate and it was poetic. Throughout last year, the internet allowed us to come together when we couldn’t gather in person. Personally, I heard more poetry read by a more diverse body of poets than…

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