Monday, December 03, 2012

Rattle Poetry Prize 2012

The most recent issue of Rattle announces and publishes the winning piece of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize for $5,000: Heidi Shuler's "Trials of a Teenage Transvestite's Single Mother." The editors writer, "A good poem doesn't need to impress us with sophisticated language or fresh and unexpected metaphors. It doesn't need to rhyme or not rhyme, or explore the until-now unexplored. But a good poem does have to take us somewhere and make us feeling something. With a momentum and a sense of emotional suspense that made us hold our breath, Heidi Shuler perfectly captures the intersection of a mother's loving fear and a teenage son's innocence about the world." Here are the first two stanzas of her poem:

My son's black ruffled skirt is shorter than the straight denim one
he usually wears. We're late for school. Don't dawdle, I say
as he swings one leg out of the truck and then the other, far unlike

how my grandmother taught me--knees clasped, pivot at the hips,
feet land together, and stand, ladylike. Those were Iowa manners;
this is Eugene, Oregon, etiquette, twenty years later. . . .

The poetry prize finalists include Lytton Bell, John Brehm, Norma Chapman, Kim Dower, Anna Evans, Catherine Freeling, David Hernandez, Krista Lukas, M, and Kenny Williams.