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Archive for the ‘Poem of the Month’ Category

Anthology of Transcendent Poetry - Cover

Out in late July, 2019

In September 2017 I placed a call for poems here at NinaAlvarez.net. One winner every month would receive $50 and online publication.

I was looking for well-crafted pieces on what I was framing as “transcendent experience,” those glimpses of nonduality and spirit, the quest for self-realization, the longing to understand the mysteries of the universe. I wanted to know if there were still people out there looking for what unites us with each other and with life—especially as the news and media became more and more divisive and reductive—and I would happily pay out $50/month to find them.

For the following ten months I received hundreds of submissions: great poems, not-so-great poems, and everything in between.

I could only pick one winner every month, but often a poem arrested me so much I couldn’t let it go. This month I will finally be able to share all the most significant and compelling poems submitted to the 2017-2018 Poem of the Month contest in The Spirit It Travels: An Anthology of Transcendent Poetry.

This anthology is the indispensable companion to those who want to tap into the consciousness of transcendence by contemporary poets from many locations, backgrounds, and walks of life. With varying styles, voices, themes, and cultures, 84 poems are presented in 7 sections of 12 poems each, loosely categorized into: searching, introspection, secrets, time, the mysteries of nature, awakening in nature, and spirituality. Featuring works by poets from the U.S., UK, Canada, Turkey, and Singapore, these selections paint a dynamic portrait of contemporary transcendent thought and feeling.

The name of this anthology, The Spirit It Travels, is meant to be read both ways: “the spirit, it travels” . . . and “the spirit it travels.” In other words, the spirit as the traveler, and the spirit is also the road we (and all things) travel.

In this collection you will find the soul-work of poets 19 – 80+ years old: professors, poets laureate, college students, English teachers, teaching artists, arts administrators, professors, MFAs, PhDs, copywriters, reporters and columnists, lawyers, visual artists, artists-in-residence, filmmakers, actors, musicians, music teachers, social workers, youth advocates, refugee advocates, travelers, food columnists, semi-truck drivers, and two with interesting library jobs: running the tea service at University of Colorado Law Library and archiving the audiovisual catalog at the New York Public Library.

Some of the writers herein have over a hundred publications, some have multiple poetry prizes, and still there are some for whom this will be their first publication.

Anthology of Transcendent Poetry - Back Cover - THIS THIS

With 84 poems by 63 poets from 5 countries, this anthology explores the many faces of transcendent experience.

PREORDERS

The Spirit It Travels comes out in late July 2019, but you can pre-order it now and it will be shipped to you upon publication. We are currently offering 15% off pre-orders if you use the code: PREORDER

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WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTESTVisitation

 

I sit with you in silence

in this place of days spent,
car window down so
morning’s dribble freckles my hand
on the wheel.

Were your knuckles growing fatter,

fingers stiffening, at fifty-one?
It’s only their softness, a quietude,
faded smell of dinner’s
chopped onions lingering on skin
I know now.

And although you left to lie

under a stone
etched with my words, your voice
still worries the wind.
I am not orphaned. You have not gone.

-Cynthia Ventresca

——

Cynthia Ventresca is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, July 2018.

Cynthia discovered her vocation at the age of seven, when she penned her first poem about her affection for a stuffed Koala bear. Her passion for poetry persists, with work published in various print and online journals. Cynthia is a lifelong resident of Wilmington, DE, where she still resides with her patient partner of many years, Micheal, and five adoring cats.

——

Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

The Poem of the Month Contest is closed until further notice. Please follow us on twitter for updates.

And check out our two new recently opened contests:

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Fiction

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Nonfiction

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WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTEST

Secret Wedding

 

l.
It had been many years since honor was restored
– honor older than the law, which was older than the world
and the world is no little thing. It is vast, magical, particular
and abiding. You only have to climb the granite mantel,
looming over Odin’s cove, soaring into space, to know

 

II.
There, the wee conifer breaks earth, enters space, keeping sentinel
beside him – who is waiting for her. She who roves
obsessed with the sky, past Andromeda, past the whited sepulcher
for a love that became the ten thousand year flight. Both
kraa-kraaing an eternal echo, rest-less, moody, longing,

 

III.
hovering like a charcoal storm on a carpet of sea mist and wind
she arrives on heaven’s breath. He perches beside her,
his eye fixed on her smooth raven feathers. Restored
the iridescent coupling rise, wing tip to wing tip, taking morning with them
The wee conifer rooted from the rich dark earth, bends towards light
and straightens his emerald gown

 

-Suzanne Gili Post
——

Suzanne Gili Post is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, June 2018.

Suzanne Gili Post is a human, being. She is superb at parallel parking. Her life was changed by a skunk crossing in front of a woodpile under a full moon.

——

Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

Submissions to the Poem of the Month Contest are always open.

And check out our two new recently opened contests:

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Fiction

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Nonfiction

Read Full Post »

WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTEST

It was Jude Nutter who wrote,
“The world is a grave. With all its exits
barred.”* And I wondered
how she knew at such a young age
the vagaries of existence –
the desolation and destruction.

I wondered how she knew the cost
of living a life that seems daily like a death –

our contrite confessions aside, there must be more
that allows us to soar above our mundane
toil than this coiled, curling crypt.

I wondered how anyone ever knew
this and why more of us are not scarred
or scared shitless.

How do we carry on surrounded by this gilded gyre –
its din of clutching beetles and maggots
running rampant in the darkness, spilling
disease and unrest, famine and fear.

This world that takes from, wants from, needs
– siphoning the soul one ounce at a time,
hollowing out until only a shell is left, a single
carapace as reminder of what might have been.

I remember a family gathering
hugging and mugging with cousins and siblings,
reminiscing and celebrating aunties and uncles, yet

amid the laughter feeling so lonely –
                    so very alone –
that I had to hold myself tightly
in check to keep from
stepping out –

I had to stop myself from running
down the highway. I had to focus on
NOT screaming,
“This world is a grave!”
And I understood:

There are no exits.

*First lines of “Epitaph on Interstate 80, Nevada,” The Curator of Silence, by Jude Nutter.

-Annette Gagliardi

——

Annette Gagliardi is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, May 2018.

Annette has been writing poetry since the early 1980s and has been published in various magazines, area newspapers, and anthologies, and has won poetry awards. She visits elementary classrooms and shares poetry lessons, writing, and gives talks about her two children’s books. You can learn more about her at http://www.annettegagliardi.com

——

Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

Submissions to the Poem of the Month Contest are always open.

And check out our two new recently opened contests:

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Fiction

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Nonfiction

Read Full Post »

WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTEST

Of Memories by the Sea

Summers and spangled memory-heat rise up from the pavement;
roads of waste and want, the hurt of war and jellied gasoline
dropped from sky machines,
flying between delusions of freedom
and the security of an exceptional god.

It’s their voices distilled from that din of years;
the rubble-speak repeated now by the same cadre of believers
and their urgent end times, revelations and rapture.

Today, little men, rich in hubris, always ask for money;
feebly market unneeded things and politics;
and the women news readers, with painted faces and
wrinkle-free skin in the latest Prada,
wear shirts that defy you not to imagine them naked.

While the last genocide or child-murder
becomes the lead subject for debate and prurience
between 6 and 10
when full bellies meet certitude in blonde and
blue eyed high-definition.

Is it jaded to see all of this and
not feel outrage?
not withdraw to memory prisons and Santana in shuffle mode?
not look on your woman rummaging in the kitchen
and know thanksgiving?

In the still of this masquerade,
when the jesters and their sexual minions
miss their rhythm and pages of the script are lost,
I pause, content in knowing that time is implacable
and measure by measure, my leeward years will slip
into sunrise collections
of memories by the sea.

-Bob Canuel

——

Bob Canuel is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, April 2018.

Bob Canuel is retired now but has been writing poetry since he was a teenager, a long time ago indeed. Over that time, he has accumulated a large collection of poems inspired by life, the universe and everything, to borrow a phrase from A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Married for over thirty years, and formerly residents of Ontario, he and his wife moved to Calgary, Alberta, in 2016, where they are both active in the writing and craft communities.

Bob has had work published by Wax Poetry and Art, The Prairie Journal, Dying with Dignity Canada and will soon see a short poem published at Right Hand Pointing. He also had two works published in the 1990s in small anthologies now out of print.

——

Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

Submissions to the Poem of the Month Contest are always open.

And check out our two new recently opened contests:

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Fiction

Cosmographia Prize for Spiritual Nonfiction

Read Full Post »

WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTESTRoom 19

They still slice brains at the Moscow Brain Institute
with the same hand-cranked deli meat-slicer,
which carves genius into thin memories
and past sins that could flutter to the floor
from careless fingers. Brains marinate
in formaldehyde inside flowered borscht pots
while history’s great minds rest in glass cases.

31,000 slivers of flesh mounted on glass,
stored behind three reinforced, alarmed
doors. 14 green leather-bound volumes,
embossed with five letters: L-E-N-I-N.
What used to be a state secret is no longer.

These books transcribe the territorial map
of Lenin’s brain: 31,000 snapshots
of each decision, good or bad, each strength,
each weakness exposed slice by slice.

Greatness comes with more of everything.
Most brains there get only two or three
thousand chances to prove themselves.
Rocket scientists, writers, secret police,
Lenin’s widow, and Stalin—the architecture
of their brain cells disassembled.

Poor Mayakovsky, your suicide celebrated
by a white labcoat who chopped through
your apartment walls with an ax, raced
away with your unusually large brain
in a washbasin straight to the slicer.

Lenin’s widow answered questions
about her husband’s personality,
to shine more light on science.
But the Bolsheviks changed her answers
to ensure greatness. His tenor voice
became baritone—no lovesick, romantic
lead role for him. Shaky vision
in one eye vanished.

In the end nothing could be discovered
by examining under a microscope
what makes a genius—or a dictator.

-Meg Freer

——

Meg Freer is the winner of the NinaAlvarez.net Poem of the Month Contest, February 2018.

Meg Freer grew up in Montana and now lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches piano and enjoys running and photography. She began writing poetry recently, and her photos and poems have won awards both in North America and overseas and have been published in chapbook anthologies and in both print and online journals. In 2017 she won a fellowship and attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

——

Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

Submissions to the Poem of the Month Contest are always open.

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WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTESTPrince Christian Sound, Greenland

 

We shelter from freezing winds
in sun-warmed nooks on the deck.
Indoors, the crew ladles
hot Dutch pea soup
hunked with ham into bowls.

To starboard, mountains march past
like a row of stout children
with waterfalls pinned to their jackets.
Their mountain neighbors, faces blackened
with gneiss, torsos girdled in mist,
wear witches’ hats on their peaks
as if hoping to frighten the children away.

As we watch icebergs calve
I think of the cow made of ice
in Norse myth who nourished
primeval Ymir with her milk.
The calves birthed today
are blue and translucent
as premature babies
who cannot survive.

The ice sheet, whitened
with bubbles of air in July,
deepens to aquamarine
in December. Eons ago,
glacial behemoths sheered
mountainsides slick; now,
as the icecap retreats,
its dirty fingers reach out,
grope the slopes, seeking water—
a panorama reflected, reversed,
in the blue-green glass mirror
of Prince Christian Sound.

Where one glacial digit
Dips down to the strait,
the ship pauses and rotates.
Each revolution’s a vista unveiled.
Only the clicking of cameras,
the chunk-chunk of idling engines.
Breathless and stilled,
we are seized by what Jack London
called the “white silence:”
time suspended in a caesura
of one billion years.

-Sharon Whitehill

——

Sharon Whitehill is the co-winner of the NinaAlvarez.net + Cosmographia Books Poem of the Month Contest, January 2018. The other winner is Ari Gold’s poem “Fire Dancer.” The two created a lovely juxtaposition that put in me the mind of fire and ice, and that is why I broke tradition and chose two winners.

Happy New Year!

——

Sharon Whitehill is a retired professor of English from Michigan, now living in Florida and attempting poetry for the first time.

——

Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

You can still submit to the Poem of the Month Contest (ongoing), and to the Cosmographia Chapbook Contest (until Jan. 12, 2017).

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