Anderbo Poetry Prize

2007 Anderbo Poetry Prize

Judged by Elizabeth Zimmer

Anderbo Contest Assistant: Chalcey Wilding

Winner: Sherman Pearl, for his poem "Birthday"

Poem of Distinction: "West Fourth Street" by Alicia Ostriker

Read Them Here!

Finalist Poems follow below, by:
Patricia Budd, PB Rippey, Elizabeth Webber,
Diana Woodcock, Sam Cha, & Deborah DeNicola.
+ Elizabeth Zimmer bio

Patricia Budd

Sing until throat and lung rebel,

hum the skreaky wheeze of rusty hinge,

of grandma’s unlatched, six-over-six,

ill-fit window sash yowling in night winds.

Keep the clashing melody, groove

against the steel bars, the reverb

of the clanging door of fear, razz until

it dances, jigs to your chosen overtone,

shoos dissonance over sill, hearth and jamb;

up the chimney, down the crapper,

out the cat-door’s flapping hatch.

Patricia Budd retired to Maine after a career as a professional engineer. Having written poems since she was twelve, she took advantage of the Stonecoast MFA program, graduating the year she turned 70. She teaches at the University of Southern Maine OLLI Senior College.

PB Rippey

On the sixth appointment (your third) I rat-

tled off the plot of Washington Square,

gleaned from all five of seven cd’s decked

in our car in the grim subterranean lot

down there, your hand on my knee (your

reach strained—I don’t know why

we didn’t simply scoot you close), down-

town sun lightening lab-yellow blinds

and when I couldn’t look at you I spoke

to the baby squatting naked in a white

porcelain bowl on the wall, all squidge

and a stupid smile and hair sparse

as an old man’s (when we were shown

in, we laughed at the sight of him)

and when I couldn’t look at the baby

I spoke to the replica of certain a-

natomy (purple plastic for the womb,

barn-door-red for the cervix, pink

for It, etc.), the piece you joked

lonely bachelors might like to display

in their lonely living rooms and when I spoke

to you again the sun had your eyes,

hoarding their godly-green

and the room spun

and I sat back and you rose

as the doctor entered

in high platform sandals,

pleasant skirt beneath

the pale coat and the two

of you shared a small laugh before

she whipped open her magic

chart, divined the unseen,

lifted my new blouse,

squirted on the goop,

pressed the thing home

and you heard (for the first time)

the tiny, persistent galloping.

And nobody laughed

then except for me, because I’d for-

gotten (even after all these fucking visits):

miracles breathe.

PB Rippey’s poetry and fiction appear in journals such as Zyzzyva, Runes, Pool, Slope, Solo, Mary, Crab Creek Review, and Phoebe. She has been a Top 25 finalist in Glimmer Train’s Poetry Open, a Finalist in several GT short story contests and recently a semi-finalist for the Rona Jaffe Award. She is the current recipient of the Abroad Writers’ Conferences 2007 Poetry Fellowship. Her poetry chapbook, Nightmares With Moons, was published by Pudding House in Fall 2006. PB is completing a full length collection of poetry and a novel. She lives in North Hollywood, California.

Elizabeth Webber

The memory

of a moment untethered—

in scorched yellow grasses

between tracks, amongst weeds.

No one could see us there,

passing the bottle—

the kid whose mother was a preacher,

another guy I didn’t know from school.

It was July, and my forearms

stuck to my knees.

Steps away from the church

where I sat between my parents

under whirring fans each Sunday,

above the old train station,

where my grandmother, boarding the train,

met my grandfather, who studied

at the police academy next door.

My lips touched the same wet spot

as the boys’ lips, I tasted the tastes of them.

Smells of all of us on the bottle: sweat, skin,

cigarettes stale, and the sweet taste

of the one just lit.

The smooth mouth of the bottle warm.

There was the sound of amber liquid

splashing softly, slowly, as we passed the bottle,

and the trees that smell like semen

were in full flower,

as they are that time in summer,

and down the embankment, a pair of shorts

had tumbled from a paper sack.

A rusty knife blade stuck in the soil.

And every so often, a warm breeze came

as a car drove under the bridge.

We sat like that, the three of us,

until we finished the bottle,

and I looked up at the trees,

at their still leaves,

and wondered

what might happen

if I came here


Elizabeth Webber is a writer, artist and teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and son.

Diana Woodcock

Some physicists say death frees our bodily atoms

to fathom new space—uncharted places—to

rearrange themselves into new forms of matter

that scatter and dance into the cosmos, the body

not God’s design—His creations eternal.

The physical does not exist, they say. Only

the mind is real. When the body, ego, illusions

take leave, we live forever.

The great horned owl that flew into my plane

three weeks before my death knew my name—

I was just thirty-four: mother of two;

respiratory therapist; animal lover.

From the Navajo Bitter Water Clan

(half Navajo, half San Carlos Apache),

I knew how to converse with sheep and horses,

roosters and people in pain. I went back

to my childhood haunts.

They say women from my clan are headstrong.

I was bent on flying—Mama said I was wrong

to go against my father’s wishes. But now he says

I couldn’t have died in a better spot: the plane

went down among four feet of snow,

ponderosa pines, and those intermediaries

of the deities who live on Flagstaff’s peaks.

Still in their winter sleep, they had not yet left

for the Bear Dance ceremonies marking

February’s false spring.

He prays every day now for such a perfect death

as he imagines me communing with Crow Mother,

singing with Red Beard, dancing with Humming Bird

and Road Runner. Father, you dance too,

I urge him. Dance to the music of the living

and the dead, and you will find your way home,

my Lakota friend once said.

Diana Woodcock, assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, spent nearly eight years teaching in Tibet and Macau and working with refugees on the Thai-Cambodian border.  In 2007 she won the Creekwalker Prize for Poetry, was an Honorable Mention for the Robert G. Cohn Prose Poetry Award, and was a Finalist in Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Competition, Southwest Review’s Morton Marr Poetry Prize contest, and Litchfield Review’s poetry contest. She also was awarded a Summer Literary Seminars/Russia Select Scholarship as a finalist in their poetry competition. In 2006 she received an Honorable Mention in the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry Competition and was an International Publication Prize winner in Atlanta Review’s Poetry Competition. She’s been awarded residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Everglades National Park. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Nimrod, Atlanta Review, Wisconsin Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Litchfield Review, Brooklyn Review, Whiskey Island, Istanbul Literature Review, Other Voices International Project, Blue Fifth Review, Hobble Creek Review, Quercus Review, Blue Mesa Review, Drumvoices Revue, Creekwalker and other journals, as well as in anthologies such as Poetry of Recovery, Susan B & Me, Least-loved Beasts of the Really Wild West and Frontier: Custom and Archetype.

Sam Cha

This morning I mourned you as I have not done

these few days weeks months this dawn

this morning with raindrops bending the light

the birds burnt black against the sky

that roost on the cold wires

swinging silent from bare pole

to bare pole

glitter-eyed dreams feathered dreams

perched on the sharp edge of daylight

ready to betray

or to be betrayed;

I kicked the night off its hinges

the sound of my footsteps in the morning

a Morse code self-portrait: iambic "I am"s:

--a man a man his mouth a gash his head

full of ash he wants he wants he wants he wants

to hold the dead past in his hands to see

to hear to touch to smell to taste he wants

the universe in which at precisely

the right moment with precisely the right

intonation he asked her to stay and she did;

but between dark building and dark building now

real time unfolds with the sunrise now

and all around New York now

covers are folded back and a mouth now

opens and another mouth now closes another

with itself now oh now now eight million yawns

five hundred thousand kisses two million curses

and the daily flood of words begins anew


and on the corner of 22nd and 7th a manhole cover trembles

releasing steam and in the Village a woman trembles

awake and reaches for her lover now a needle trembles

home in a vein in an arm in a room on Prince Street now

and in Brooklyn the hipsters are stumbling home bleary now

and fish stalls open on Canal Street now

and slow lightning trembles in cold

shadowless rooms deep under Wall Street

weaving now the world through circuit boards weaving

and unraveling



on on off,

on again again again;

and all of this I want to hold inside me

in my lungs in my blood

I want to breathe it




I want to hold our city in that breath

and live inside it.

—But the city that you left is always leaving.

Well, I have had practice, throwing breath away;

I have measured my time with cigarettes

and I burn twenty five hours a day;

but it seems to me that no matter how long

I stay awake it’s never enough, it’s not quite

not nearly enough to make friends with the night

though I have walked these streets from dawn to dusk

to dawn through turn and turn and turn;

I have begun to dream of crumbling walls;

of a word to carry through cracks in stone

of a sound to stir brick dust in red clouds.

a great shout punctuated by death

at both beginning and end,

and it seems to me that it is a gift

that you have given me

by taking the gift of you away;

—it seems to me that it is what I’ve always wanted.

Sam Cha was born in Seoul in 1978, and went to school at Williams, UVA, and Rutgers. He worked in New York for a year. Now he lives alone in a room in a run-down house in Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By day he works at a law firm in downtown Boston and writes form letters (and poems camouflaged by the firm letterhead) and drinks lots of coffee. By night he wanders around mostly by himself but sometimes with friends and writes poetry and fiction and drinks lots of whiskey.

Deborah DeNicola

Often she speaks of a mysterious They.

“When are They coming?” Where are They?” Do They all

do that, wear that, eat that?” “Must we pay Them?

Then she forgets everything in a matter of minutes: rooms,

news, rules of a favorite card game. And she forgets

she forgets. Objects, once familiar, disappear. They surface again

in surprising places: scotch tape in the medicine cabinet, jewelry

under the sink, cash in the refrigerator drawer. Still, she wants

to help me in the kitchen. Sets the table, folded wax paper

and sheets of aluminum foil for napkins. She pours red wine

into mugs. But when we sit down and sip, she complains

“the coffee is cold.” Apple juice with ice is scotch on the rocks.

She scoops garlic salt for instant ice-tea, sneaks chocolate

pudding for breakfast, tries to glue the broken statue

with cold cream. On TV she watches cartoons

or the Spanish soaps. Her hair, which she always

wore in a neat French knot, is now loose, sparse,

over her shoulders. Her eyes grow small and dim

in a thinning face, although, some vanity is there, intact.

She applies mascara to her eyebrows, powders wrinkles flat,

blushes her nose, then adds accessories, oddly loops a scarf

in a buttonhole, clutches an evening bag to her bathrobe.

Old friends no longer call. Her daughters have her sisters’ names.

Each night she strings different words into a chain

and repeats them 150 times. Sometimes there’s a question

she means to ask but she can’t find a sentence. Sparks

and sputters instead. She wants to go home when

she is home. And when she’s angry with me,

my mother hisses I hope you live this long.

Deborah DeNicola's latest poetry collection is a chapbook, Inside Light, from Finishing Line Press in 2007. Her spiritual memoir The Alchemy of the Black Madonna & The Future That Brought Her Here will be published in 2008 by Nicolas-Hays Press. She edited the anthology Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology, published in 1999 from The University Press of New England. She was awarded a Poetry Fellowship in 1997 from the National Endowment for the Arts, received The William T. Foley Award in 2000 from America, The Barbara Bradley Award in 1996 from The New England Poetry Club, The Briar Cliff Review Award 2006, and a Special Mention from The Pushcart Prizes 1992. She is the author of Where Divinity Begins (Alice James Press 1994) and Rainmakers (Coyote Love Press 1984) and three chapbooks, The Harmony of the Next, the 2005 winner of the Riverstone Chapbook Award, and Psyche Revisited, which won the 1992 Embers Magazine Chapbook Contest. Deborah DeNicola's poems and reviews have been published in numerous journals such as The North American Review, The Antioch Review, Fiction International, The Journal, Hunger Mountain, The Cimmaron Review, The Boston Book Review, Margie, and Orion, among others. A Bread Loaf Scholar (1993), a recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony (1994), The Centrum Foundation (1995), The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (1997), and The Vermont Studios (1999), Deborah taught creative writing in Boston for 10 years. Currently she is living in limbo, care-taking her mother in Florida and reviewing poetry for the daily paper Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. She coaches writing and dream imagework off her web site:

Elizabeth Zimmer 2007 Poetry Prize Judge
Elizabeth Zimmer writes for Metro, Dance Magazine, The Australian, and other publications. She was a senior editor at the Village Voice from 1992 through August 2006. She has written for the Voice, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other publications. She edited Body Against Body: The Dance and Other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane (Station Hill Press), and was text editor of Envisioning Dance on Film and Video (Routledge). She studied verse writing with Howard Nemerov at Bennington College, and taught creative writing at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Her poems have been published in Silo and several Canadian anthologies, and she was a co-editor of Fresh Grease: New Writings from the Maritimes (Straw Books). She has studied many forms of dance, and performed in the work of Joshua Fried, Jamie Cunningham & Tina Croll, Christopher Williams, Kriota Willberg, and other New York City artists, as well as writing and performing her own show, North Wing. Her “Kamikaze Writing Workshop” has been a feature at Dance Critics Association conferences and other gatherings since 1993. She holds a master’s degree in English from Stony Brook University. She also has taught at Stony Brook, and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, the University of California at Riverside, and Capilano College in North Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as lecturing in various cities in Taiwan; in Taormina, Sicily; and in Laramie, Providence, Miami, Milwaukee, Berkeley, Columbus, and other cities across the United States.

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