2011 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Contest

 Shenandoah is pleased to announce the winner of the 2011 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Award. A $500 prize awarded to a poet born or residing in Virginia, this year’s award was judged by the Poet Laureate of Virginia, Kelly Cherry. The winning poem, “Writing on the Window” was written by Margaret Mackinnon.

Mackinnon’s work has appeared in various journals, including Poetry, New England Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, Quarterly West, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her new work appears in the South Carolina Review and is forthcoming in Image, RHINO, and Midwest Quarterly. Mackinnon completed the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Florida, and she has been awarded scholarships from Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. For the summer of 2010, she was awarded a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Currently, Mackinnon teaches literature and creative writing at a private high school in the Washington, DC area, and lives with her husband and daughter in Falls Church, Virginia.

Said Cherry of the winning poem:

The winning poem, “Writing on the Window,” delineates credibly and movingly Sophia Hawthorne’s marriage to Nathaniel. The poem shows us their house and garden, the couple’s financial difficulties, the husband’s creative imagination, and Sophia’s serious engagement with painting and her sensitivity and intelligence. Humor, sensuality, and sadness are almost equally weighted. I particularly applaud the poet for retaining linear integrity in her narrative. Finally, what cinched my choice was that I read it aloud (to my husband): the music of this poem is wonderfully persuasive!

Congratulations also to the Graybeal-Gowen finalists:

  • Patsy Anne Bickerstaff
  • Matthew Blakley
  • Sarah Crossland
  • Anna Journey
  • Charlotte Matthews
  • Marielle Prince
  • Audrey Walls
  • Kristin Zimet

Thank you to all those who submitted work, we encourage you to enter next year’s Graybeal-Gowen contest, and the Bevel Summers Prize for the Short-Short Story, accepting entries from March 1st to March 31st, 2012.

The winning poem and all the finalists will appear as a Feature on Shenandoah‘s homepage in February.

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