Anderbo Poetry Prize

2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize

Judged by Linda Bierds

Winner: Jendi Reiter
of Northampton, Massachusetts

She receives $500, and her winning poem is published here:

Jendi Reiter

Wouldn’t it be nice to believe all hate is desire,

the bullet that wings the bird

wanting to be a bird?

Believe, if little dead boys can

hold their dear opinions in the ground,

that the fist is only a heart

stunned by too much muscle?

Because then you would still be visible,

chosen as carefully for destruction

as the cities of the plain

or the shy girl in a vampire novel,

the girl who is all elbows and sorrow

and stands outside at weddings.

The truth is, most hatred is different from really rough sex,

neither masked for the sizzle of mystery

nor screaming the name of the defeated, its own.

Not thinking is its flavor.

Deafness, its spice.

But believe, because you are not yet twenty-one

and drowning, not yet lying down at seventeen

beneath the homecoming train, not yet a choking thirteen

hung from your mother’s garage ceiling,

because you are still at home on prom night

watching the Discovery Channel, you will be convinced

that the zebras, by now, must be aware of the cameras

and that the one who tumbles beneath the lion’s

rank delicious weight is choosing

something like the mating that escaped you.

Jendi Reiter's first book, A Talent for Sadness, was published in 2003 by Turning Point Books. Her poetry chapbook Swallow won the 2008 Flip Kelly Poetry Prize and was published in 2009 by Amsterdam Press. Her poetry chapbook Barbie at 50 won the 2010 Cervena Barva Poetry Chapbook Prize and was published that year by Cervena Barva Press. In 2010 she received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists' Grant for Poetry. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, The New Criterion, Mudfish, Passages North, American Fiction, The Adirondack Review, Cutthroat, The Broome Review, FULCRUM, Juked, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Alligator Juniper, MARGIE: The American Journal of Poetry, Phoebe, Best American Poetry 1990 and many other publications.


James K. Zimmerman

After Rilke

here there is little to say of van Gogh’s

glancing blow of fiery paranoia

or the multi-faceted bee’s-eye view

that Picasso surely knew so well

and even less to find of the flaccid decrepitude

that flowed from Albright’s obsessive hand

or Francis Bacon’s blighted wincing terror

and slack-jawed bloody faceless screams

and yet in the still imperfect Rorschach

of equine nostril to aquiline eyebrow

the faint outline of a glowing chalice

or a child’s rendition of an aging tree

begins in time to appear

and here there are hints of lingering childhood

pain in the gently drooping corners

of a mouth that recalls maternal distance

and in deep and darkly shadowed eyes

                  (homage to the father’s side)

can be seen both the doe of empathy and the

aerial sharpness of an eagle’s piercing cry

James K. Zimmerman is the winner of the 2009 Daniel Varoujan Award and the 2009 & 2010 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Awards. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Westchester Review, The Bellingham Review, Rosebud, Inkwell, Hawai’i Pacific Review, and Earth’s Daughters, among others. He is also currently a clinical psychologist in private practice, and was a singer and songwriter in a “previous life”.

Thea S. Kuticka

Losing a parent is losing a limb. Is losing a dirty rag and this sheet washed clean of a week’s smell of work and warm nights. Losing a father is losing the dirty work and wine bottles and coin collections and Boy Scout memorabilia. Losing a father is losing the ability to string a worm to hook, to leveling a rifle to a tin can or duck. Losing a father is losing balance, losing my male, losing a rough beard, an earmarked deck, the rules of the game, an ocean. Losing a father is to no longer be a daughter. I inspected my father’s body upon arrival for the last time. At the morgue, his body is only a vessel, a man without a living body. What does a daughter do without a man in her life? Where is the sweat and the smoke and grill and the astrological signs and the philosophy on a warm night with the stars. No longer will he arrive and show me a new cut on his thumb, a gash the size of the Grand Canyon, deep and wrinkled, already healing because his hands are used to the rigors of fishing and cold. To lose a father leaves a daughter without her man, without her manliness, without her beard, without her salmon. The salmon are swimming farther into the ocean, deeper up a stream, into the earth, into the sage and the coyotes yipping, into the stars, into the vegetable starts, which is not where this daughter wants her father to be. Who would want a parent in a tomato, star or start? I don’t want either but a man, rambling toward me with history in his eyes, child and daughter, woman and philosopher. A man walking toward me with his thumb hooked around a salmon’s lip. This is a gift. Look at me silver scaled salmon with your milky eyes. I plunge your body in the sink and the scales kaleidoscope in my hand.

Thea S. Kuticka received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Virginia. She is a recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Her poems have been published in a number of journals, including Another Chicago Magazine, Gulf Coast, Pacific Review, and Runes. Poems have also appeared in the anthologies The Poetry Home Repair Manual (University of Nebraska Press) and Working Hard for the Money (Bottom Dog Press). She currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Linda Bierds 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize Judge
Linda Bierds' eighth book of poetry, Flight: New and Selected Poems, was published in 2008 by Putnam’s. Her awards include four Pushcart Prizes, the Virginia Quarterly Review's Emily Clark Balch Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill, the Guggenheim, and the MacArthur foundations, and twice from the NEA. She is a professor of English at the University of Washington.

Charity Burns 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize Contest Assistant
Charity Burns, Anderbo's Poetry Editor, earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Florida. Her poems have appeared in Smartish Pace, Madison Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and West Branch. Charity’s blog is The Beauty Works Project. She lives in New York City.

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