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Winners of the First Annual Federico Garcia Lorca Poetry Prize
Judged by Sean Thomas Dougherty
​A Note From Sean: 

In judging the poems submitted for this contest, I looked foremost at language on the level of the line. This was the difference in deciding which poems were most successful. Then at meaning, then at guts. It was this last one that showed some poems were just braver emotionally than others. In his essay on the duende Federico Garcia Lorca talks about the meaning that is beyond forms, jagged broken meaning, that is where the duende lives. In the winning poem by Christina Clark we are presented with a portrait told with an intense with-held-it-ness, where the story is withheld and suspended, driven by the missing and the broken. It is a terribly tender poem in the end, tragic, one with guts and heart, as is the poem “Whiteness” by Carey Waterman which collages a series of narratives (both cultural and personal) of great loss. In the last winning poem by Patrice Melnick we are given a poem in the America narrative prose poem tradition that presents a portrait of people on a binge, and the last line with the implication of the slow suicide of living. These are poems that stare into the abyss without flinching.

Judging this contest was one of the hardest I’ve done. I have included as many Honorable Mentions I thought worthy of publication as possible. These will be considered by the editors. My top ten were all ambitious and reaching for something beyond the page: the dark noise that is hidden inside us, until we find the words to let it out, hallowed and holy from our mouths.

Bless these poets.

Sean Thomas Dougherty, Erie, PA November 2013

What the Other Eye Sees 
Christina Clark
(First Prize)

Cary Waterman
(Second Prize)

Tattoos and Birthmarks
Patrice Melnick
(Third Prize)

Honorable Mentions***

April Aubade
Richard Foerster

Monica Teresa Ortiz

Trish Harris

Spiders and Big Gear Talk
Harlow Crandall

Tarke al Yayeb Mohamed Bouazizi
Josh Gage

Mary Golias

Tearing Down the Horseshoe & Star
Gentris L. Jointe

Break On Through
Jeanne Sirotkin Haynes

O Dochartaig, Ar nDutcas
Kevin Dougherty

State Park
Abigail Chiaramonte