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Thursday, July 08, 2010

MWC Prize Sonnet Contest: The Winners!

I am pleased to be able to announce the winners of the myWritersCircle Prize Sonnet Contest, as launched in this blog post.

The standard of entries was impressively high, but the judges (Amie Saramelkonian and Mark Hoffmann) were unanimous in their choice of winner. Many congratulations, then, to Jayne Osborn, whose first prize winning sonnet is reproduced below...

The Rendezvous

First time: What preconceptions of this tryst?
- A nice hotel for lunch, a cosy chat?
(In her naïvety, no more than that.)
She met him; God, no way could she resist
from yielding to temptation once they’d kissed!
They ate, the urge increasing while they sat,
beyond the reach of any thermostat,
both knowing that this hunger would persist.

The bedroom: First, they shut the world outside,
then talked and laughed a while, and drank champagne.
They made love with intensity; both tried
to rationalise it – neither could explain.
They left the hotel, sad but satisfied,
each wondering if they’d get the chance again.

The judges comments about this poem were as follows: 'Best fit to the form, and most natural use of language. Pleasing rhythm and sonics, good use of occasional enjambment, good pace.'

Congratulations again to Jayne, who wins her choice of any of my WCCL writing courses, as set out in my earlier blog post.

Our runner-up was MWC regular and 'Hero Member' Eric Biggs. Here is his poem...

Dad's First Moonlighting

My father worked on steel-bound railroad trains
where engines brought their solid cars to sight
and hobos eating tin-can stew from drains
looked up to see them blare beyond the night.

Dad loved to make the Ninety-Nine go roll,
to cut the dark and outline all the trees
in silver mist and vibes of burning coal,
the fuel he shoveled high up as his knees.

Yet grandpa wanted dad to quit the train
to set line type with inky thumbs of blue.
So dad tried both, the road and news again -
the demon came and left off from his crew.

But when dad started work at grandpa's press,
a stroke soon killed him from the add-on stress

The judges said about this, 'Most original subject matter of the entries received. Strains a bit in terms of wording, but conveys some clear imagery that is appropriate to the theme.'

Eric wins a copy of The Poetry Dictionary by John Drury, a reference guide for poets and aspiring poets, published by Writers Digest Books. I will be sending this to Eric directly, through the good offices of

Finally, our third prize winner was Valerie Albrighton. Her sonnet is reproduced below...


Red poppies in profusion blotched the fringe
Of paths that led through golding fields of wheat;
Beneath blue skies and yellow sun's fierce singe
Grasshoppers sang in dusty August heat.
One evening in a shaded sandy lane
You taught me how to mount and ride a bike -
A skill you'd mastered long since with no pain
But which my parents thought unladylike.
Freed from restraint, I sped down country hills
To labour up the tedious balancing slope;
As outrider you guarded me from spills
Or dropped behind to let the traffic cope.
Without you I would not have dared to try;
With your lifelong encouragement, I fly.

The judges said: 'Good fit to form, imagery and theme with broad appeal, and no obvious straining.'

Valerie wins a copy of the MWC Winter of Our Mixed Content e-book anthology, packed with great writing by myWritersCircle members.

Many congratulations to all our winners, and commiserations to those who didn't quite make the winners' rostrum this time. I hope you enjoyed the challenge anyway, and that it may have (re)ignited your interest in creating poems in this traditional form.

Many thanks also to our judges, Amie and Mark, and to MWC moderator Don Blinebry, who handled the administration of the contest with admirable efficiency.

Watch out for more prize contests on myWritersCircle before too long!

Photo credit: McBeth on Flickr.

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