Monday, May 16, 2011

National Poetry Month contest results

We asked you to help us celebrate National Poetry Month, and for four weeks we received postcards from all over the US as well as from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

We were excited every day to get our mail and see what beautiful, unusual, and inspiring words and images had come to us. We were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response to our contest (as was our somewhat bewildered post man, who really earned his money this April), and we loved the glimpse each postcard provided us of the individual sender’s point of view and personality.
And then came the tough job of choosing our favorites. It was a struggle to pick just three from hundreds upon hundreds of fascinating options, but we finally did, and those three are as follows:

Poem: Sonnet XVII
Poet: Pablo Neruda
Trans: Stephen Mitchell

Poem: Unless (excerpt)
Poet: Robert Penn Warren
Poem: Notes toward a Supreme Fiction: To Henry Church
Poet: Wallace Stevens
(You can read their full poetry selections at the end of this post)
With so many amazing postcards to catalog, it’s going to take us a bit longer than we originally anticipated to get them all ready for viewing in our store and online. (Again, e-mails and address information will be censored before any postcards are seen by the public.) We will let you know as soon as our 2011 National Poetry Month archive is complete so you can flip through it in our store or check it out online.
Congratulations to our winners, and thank you so very much to all who participated. You’ve made this a National Poetry Month to remember!
Full-length winning entries:

Poem: Sonnet XVII
Poet: Pablo Neruda
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Poem: Unless (excerpt)
Poet: Robert Penn Warren
All is in vain unless you can, motionless, standing there,
Breathe with the rhythm of stars.

You cannot, of course, see your own face, but you know that it,
Lifted, is stripped to white bone by starlight. This is happening.

This is happiness.
Poem: Notes toward a Supreme Fiction: To Henry Church
Poet: Wallace Stevens
And for what, except for you, do I feel love?
Do I press the extremest book of the wisest man
Close to me, hidden in me day and night?
In the uncertain light of single, certain truth,
Equal in living changingness to the light
In which I meet you, in which we sit at rest,
For a moment in the central of our being,
The vivid transparence that you bring is peace.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sad I didn't win :(
    Congrats though to you three who did.