Saturday, March 21, 2009

Poetry Contest

The Fairbanks Arts Association called yesterday to let me know my poem "Proof" won 3rd prize in this year's contest. The FAA holds a yearly contest for all Alaskan poets, with a category for youth and one for adults. It's so great to see literary arts being promoted this way in Alaska. There always seems to be so much for the visual artists and not much for us writers.

So the awards ceremony is tonight in Fairbanks but of course I'm not going. When I talked to Seth, he said none of the winners will be in Fairbanks so he is arranging to call each of us and have us read our poems over the phone. This will be my first phone reading! I'm sitting by the phone now, waiting for him to call.

Here's the poem that won:


We have photo after photo
of splashes—

white wings of water
against blue silk,

swirls and eddies
where just a moment ago

a fin, a head, a tail
disappeared into the quiet dark

of the sea. And this is just how
it should be, when we show photos

down south at Christmas to curious
relatives, contemplating Alaska.

This is just how it should be
when we try to remember our own lives

and what brought us to this
moment. We can see the imprint

of hope on the surface of our faces,
while in our bellies, something dives


A few summers ago when AnnaCaroline was just a baby Corey's mom and dad came up to Juneau and we went on a whale-watching cruise. It's actually the first one I've been on since we moved here 13 years ago. Corey's dad is a photographer and he got these beautiful, amazing photos of humpbacks. Most of mine are of AnnaCaroline and splashes in the water. It's funny how often something that doesn't work, or turn out liked I had hoped, ends up in a poem. Poems are always good consolation prizes.

1 comment:

Homeric Geek said...

That poem describes exactly my attempts at whale photography while I lived in Juneau.