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The Winners of the 2010 Eyewear Prize for Poetry

This year's winner of the inaugural Eyewear Prize for Poetry is Greg Santos, for his poem 'Eyewear' (see below).  Second place goes to Alan Baban, for 'I'm In Theatre Five' and third place goes to Angela Readman for 'The Unidentified'.  Poets were asked to submit original work that used the image of vision, eyewear and/or the number five in a poem.  I would like to thank all those who submitted poems, and congratulate the winners.



Eyewear

Eye wake up in a construct.
Ben Mirov, “Eye, Ghost”

Eye have trouble with my vision.
Eye wear contact lenses and eyeglasses.
Eye still can’t see what you see.
Eye have trouble sleeping.
Eye wake up in a sweat.        
Eye eat too many starchy snacks at night.
Eye go from bed to couch.
Then from couch to bed.
This can happen five times a night.
Eye turn on the TV and it laughs at me.
Eye linger on The Discovery Channel for too long.
Eye discover nothing and feel empty inside.
Eye can’t forget to put the recycling out.
Eye crave grilled cheese sandwiches at inopportune times
Like in the shower or when making love.
Eye turn on the fan when it is too hot.
The oscillating sounds like it’s coming from inside my skull.
Eye find this comforting.
Eye can’t forget to take the laundry out of the dryer.
Eye don’t play sports anymore.
Eye need to watch my waist.
Eye am doing my best to make sense.
Eye get the feeling my TV is watching me.
Eye think my guitar misses me
But I am too shy to return its calls.
Eye don’t paint anymore.
Eye think about poetry too much.
There’s a fog in my brain only poetry can clear.
Eye can’t forget to wring my brain and hang it out to dry.

Greg Santos was born and raised in Montreal. His writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including McSweeney's, The Best American Poetry Blog, Matrix, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, The Green Bike Anthology (2010), Rogue Stimulus (Mansfield Press, 2010), and Dingers: Contemporary Baseball Writing (DC Books, 2007). He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in Manhattan. He currently resides in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife. His first full-length book of poetry is due out in fall 2010 with DC Books. He is the poetry editor of pax americana (http://paxjournal.com) and he blogs at Moondoggy’s Pad (http://moondoggy.blogspot.com).


---

I'm In Theatre Five

Couple plastics gentlemen are pumping a lady’s bosom
Full of new silicon—and to bursting—not a game face
In sight.
Don’t think no one’s noticed by viscera speaking out.
The anaesthetist dials down the white noise for a little
Pop and rock—a little between the stations—between
Streams of flesh and strings of metal vibrating comes
The tiny static—Lopsidedness? Frightening distortion?
The patient sleeps through it all areola-starred.
These aren’t technical terms, by the way.
We aren’t riffling for snaps in briefcases in crocodile
Skin. I could hear that perfectly crystal.
Skin.

poem by Alan Baban, second place winner

---

 The Unidentified

All night I heard howling, the sound of a life
being secreted away. Some beast opened its eye,
sat outside, grinding slips of dawn between its teeth.
Morning came bright as a coin on an eye at my wake;
sun on my glasses a mere flipside to the moon.

I feel night at the thread bare curtain of noon,
a gloved hand tug at the edges of light ,
to test the wear worn seams of the day.
Did you hear it?’ I say. My breath hangs pale.
Your blown kiss feigns fever on a dead mans’face.

Breeze is a ghost on your hem as you walk away.
I set off to hunt with a rabbit mocked hound,
sniffing to relieve himself on every tree on my land.
A scarecrow capers as the wind plays my coat;
the wise-cracking crows do not move.

I lay down my shotgun, like a believer his cane,
listen to the secretive grass, keep to ground;
every cloud unravels the entrails of sheep.
There are no official cats here, but farmers
lope home towards windows watchful as skulls

of something shot in a hen house years back.
I follow vague tracks that lead me where I began,
back to the dried petals of mouth prints on the mirror
where you practise French letters with a feral top lip.
You cradle a phone, laugh, then glance my way.

poem by Angela Readman, third place winner

Comments

Anonymous said…
I love Angela Readman's work and this is another cracker. Well done to Todd for setting up this competition as well, and to the other winners.

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THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH FORTNIGHT PRIZE IS...



Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand

JOHN ASHBERY HAS DIED

With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.