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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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Big Ole Comprehensive Guide to the Contests

This post gathers information and inspirations for all 11 contests, with definitions of each award category and a list of links for further exploration. If you are seeking guidance for your entries, you will find it below. Please note that all line counts should include the title, blank lines (after the title and between stanzas, etc.), and any epigraphs. Any entry that exceeds the line count is disqualified. Poet Laureate Award:serious poems, up to 110 lines Substantial poetry of the highest caliber, with a generous line limit that allows for deep exploration and expansive expression. Ten entries will be selected…

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Welcome Lindsay Rice

This year’s Poetry of Love judge is Lindsay Rice of Kansas City. Regarding how the challenges of 2020 have impacted poets, she writes: When things get rough, is it the poets who are listening? Are they the ones who are peering into the corners of what is and isn’t true? Are they the ones quietly stirring the feelings, the reactions, the heartbreaks, the frustrations? Are the poets silently dropping words into simmering pots in hopes that a stew will emerge to feed us all? I’d like to think so, and if it is true, this year has more than enough…

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Control

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I think most of us believe we have more of it than we really do. Or at least we believe we should. So that feeling out of it feels either really wrong or totally liberating. 2020 has shown how easy it can be for it to slip away. It has also underlined the importance of having a clear and realistic understanding of just what you can and cannot control. In submitting work to a poetry contest, you give up a measure of control. Your poem must stand alone, to be judged solely…

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Barbara Sabol, “slaking that yearning for connection.”

Barbara Sabol is our judge for the Ruth Morris Moose Sestina Award for 2021. In responding to my question of how the events of 2020 have impacted the role of the poet, she writes: The Transformative Power of Poetry in the Year of Covid-19 The best work of poetry is to render the personal universal, creating a tether connecting poet to reader, and beyond: casting outward to a broader literary and human community. This has been especially true during this year of extended isolation―our lives abruptly uncoupled to larger society because of public safety concerns. The ensuing sense of separateness.…

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Tanya McDonald, “so many haiku about masks”

Our Bloodroot Haiku Award judge is Tanya McDonald. Here is what she has to say about the current role of haiku. The challenges of 2020 have affected us all, but as a haiku poet and editor, I don’t feel that the role of haiku poets has changed from what it was a year ago. Our job has always been to pay attention to the world around us and to convey those observations and experiences through concise language. These observations may include nature scenes and seasonal references—cherry blossoms, migrating geese, etc.—but they may also include everyday human life. If 2020 has…

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