Anderbo Poetry Prize 2012

2012 Anderbo Poetry Prize

Judged by Sidney Wade

Winner: Margaux Griffith

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

Margaux Griffith

Wheels crackle against gravel

driveway like bubbled-over sugar

beading onto an oven’s metal plate.

I pull my sisters in a red wagon.

We are running from the scalloped edge

that lines our house, the stale tug

taunting us backwards.

Our parents pound out fury

that splatters against trees. An echo

we look back at—

they are a blistering breeze.

They are a fading memory,

a forgotten ingredient, a gap

between layers. Our parents, we imagine,

no longer exist.

If I could fill this wagon full

of sugar, spun like pectin to bind

us. If I could crumble

the walls of our house and grind

like wheat for flour I would

build this night all over.

Dust the sky in glistening powder.

I would glaze over sound,

cutting the sharp bite of regret,

of whispering branches

broken mid-breath, of the spoken

and unspoken.

I would cook us down to dense cores.

Margaux Griffith is an MFA poetry candidate at Oklahoma State University. Margaux is a 2012 Honorable Mention for the Academy of American Poets Prize at OSU. She has publications in The Citron Review and The Writing Disorder as well as a forthcoming publication with The Boiler Journal.


Grace Marie Grafton

When the river rises each spring beyond its banks,

it polishes sandbars, floods pastures and

lifts the remnants—bones, hair, hooves—

of the vanished. All we searched for in vain

during summer and fall when we still cared.

Small parcels of river-bottom largesse.

Our life on the bluff above the flood plain

would not wish death deposited on the doorsill

of its gracious dwelling. Fruiting trees, afternoon

peaches. Flushed, bud-breasted teenagers

a little sweaty on the trim expanse of lawn.

Girls and boys of juice, wearing short shorts,

traversing the early boulevards we older ones

still carry like flares in the darkening field.

Grace Marie Grafton's newest book, Whimsy, Reticence and Laud/Unruly Sonnets, came out in Spring 2012 from Poetic Matrix Press ( Her book of prose poems, Other Clues, 2010, was published by Latitude Press ( A chapbook, Chrysanthemum Oratorio, 2010, is available from Dancing Girl Press. Her poetry has won first prize in the Soul Making contest (Pen Women, San Francisco); in the annual Bellingham Review contest; and was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Poems recently appear in Volt, Prism Review, Ambush Review, The Offending Adam, Theodate.

Leland James

Trees utter Him

in colors,

fallen leaves, green

smell of spring

—the crash of limbs

entombed in ice,

torn by winter’s weight,

a gun-shot snap

before the din

of broken limbs,

a sudden stillness

lifting from the forest floor.

Trees speak His name

in sodden moss,

in wind-bent branch,

bark of brail,

shade from sun,

shield from rain,

gnarled roots exposed

clutching the soil.

Trees speak.

They croon, they moan,

they shriek. What God

in this forest dwells?

Leland James is the author of Inside Apples, a full length book of poetry. He was an International Publication Prize winner in the Atlanta Review, an Indigo Rising Poetry Champion, the winner of the Portland Pen Poetry Contest and the Writers’ Forum Short Poem contest, and runners up for the Fish International and the Welsh Poetry prizes. He received the Franklin-Christoph Merit Award for Poetry in 2008. His poems have been published in ten countries in many periodicals and anthologies, including, The South Carolina Review, New Millennium Writers, Vallum, Orbis, Magma, and Osprey, Scotland’s international journal of literature, arts and ideas.

Julie Stuckey

We learned to sort the piles

of sand, to name the tiny mounds

collecting like to like—unending

process of self-replication. Sitting

at desks not daring to stretch toes

into aisles, we received gold stars

for detailed color-coding, labels in ink,

no erasures allowed. We grew to love this

precise exactness of an uncountable world;

we thought there would come a time

when the lesson would end. Yet I have asked,

and no one remembers the moon-shift,

no one can name for me the precise moment

when tide tables turned

and waters receded from that shore...

grainy expanses hiding uniqueness

among drifting landscapes of windblown dunes.

I have sorted and sorted in search of a name

for this gritty emptiness as the wild wind continues

blowing each grain onward already forming

today’s castles of inconsistency,

disappearing fortresses.

Julie Stuckey grew up in Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Business/Philosophy concentration and currently lives in upstate New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many literary journals and anthologies, including A Handful of Dust, About Place Journal, Apropos Literary Journal, Blast Furnace, Broad River Review, Into the Teeth of the Wind, Moonshot Magazine, Open to Interpretation, Prairie Wolf Press Review, Seven Hills Review, Verdad, and Wilderness House Literary Review. Several of her poems have received finalist or honorable mention status in recent contests.

Sidney Wade
2012 Anderbo Poetry Prize Judge
Sidney Wade’s sixth collection of poems, Straits & Narrows, will be published by Persea Books in February 2013. She has served as President of AWP and Secretary/Treasurer of ALTA and has taught workshops in Poetry and Translation at the University of Florida’s MFA@FLA program since 1993. She is the poetry editor of Subtropics.

Charity Burns
2011 Anderbo Poetry Prize Contest Assistant
Charity Burns has served as the poetry editor of Anderbo since 2007. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Florida and now lives, writes, and teaches in New York City. Her poems have been published in such literary journals as Madison Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and West Branch.

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