Congratulations to the winners of our Heavenly Creatures Love Letter to the Sky Contest!

1st Place
Claire Bateman “Fathom”

2nd Place
Robbi Nester “Heavenly Creatures”

3rd Place
Wayne Lee “Pinhole Camera”

Honorable Mentions
Peter Cacavari “Today”
Sean Jeanson “Be Your Own”
Thomas Gresham “The Last Cloud Coil”

Judge’s Comments

I loved the density and headiness of Claire Bateman’s “Fathom.” I loved learning new things about the sky and about our myth-making regarding the sky. I loved the idea of the sky being “tender and woundable,” “calamity sapphire,” “exuded by bees,” and of trying to develop “cures” for people who feel no fascination with the sky. It was a poem that invited me to repeated readings and to different “favorite lines.” I also liked that it was not a poem that I, myself, would ever write. (I worry sometimes that judges have affinities for their own style.)

Robbi Nestor’s poem “Love Letter to the Sky” won me over with its sonority. While her imagery was more accessible and ekphrastic, she played a lot with language. Rhymes like ‘black, intact, back,” alliteration like “bright body / body belling” and so on. Her poem was light on the tongue, like the sky itself, and was a true “Love Letter to the Sky.”

Wayne Lee’s “Pinhole Camera” more of a found poem. What I liked about his piece was its attention to crafts / skills–the woodworking/wordworking play. The names of the pinhole camera photos, the photographer being an instrument builder and a violist (missing a pinky!) I love to know that there are people who do all these things–weave, bow, cover tiny pinholes with their fingers–and poets who write about it.