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 V.20 No.12 | March 24 - 30, 2011 

Poetry News

Write Like Plath

The results of the Alibi’s first annual and probably last ever Villanelle Contest

The Villanelle Contest has been a complete success. We received more than 20 entries, and so far no one has stuck their head in an oven (Sylvia Plath reference). Topics ranged from the troubles in Egypt to birds and the process of writing a villanelle. There were a lot of good entries, and it was fun to read them all. There seemed to be a little confusion regarding the rhyming scheme, so we ended up scrapping that requirement in the end (Monday morning, deadline).

Alibi Copy Editor Sam Adams and Calendars Editor Adam Fox served on our villanelle triumvirate and painstakingly selected the winners. Ala Benson sent us an untitled entry about birds that we loved and immediately named winner. (OK, so maybe it wasn’t that painstaking.)

Second place goes to Susan Paquet and his “Grandma Bonnie and Clive,” somewhat reminiscent of “Buzzbomb” by Dead Kennedys. He followed the rhyme scheme. Thank you. Third place goes to local poet master Don McIver and his “Villanelle,” a meditation on the form.

I originally offered no prizes other than the glory of seeing your verse in print, but the good folks at the Local Poets Guild have offered to have a poetry reading for everyone who entered. It takes place at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 11, at the Projects (3614 High Street NE), a warehouse theater space. Winners of the Alibi contest who show up are also getting a $25 gift certificate from Acequia Booksellers. Thanks guys, you made me look cheap and uncaring.

Poetry Contest

“Untitled” by Ala Benson

First place


Listen to the birds,
They are calling you to play.
Close your eyes dear, and fly away.

They will sing, have you heard?
Their love shines in the light.
Listen, to the birds.

The darkness is coming,
The moon is bright as they take flight.
Close your eyes dear, and fly away.

It is getting late,
They tell you to head in and stay.
Listen, to the birds.

I would usually say not to follow the light,
But tonight it's just right.
Close your eyes dear, and fly away.

Oh how I'll miss you,
When you are not here.
Listen, to the birds.
Close your eyes dear, and fly away.


“Grandma Bonnie and Clive” by Susan Paquet

Second place


“Land sakes alive”
Grandma escaped assisted care
“of course I can drive”

“I’m only ninety-five”
need some open air
“Land sakes alive”

Motor buzzing beehive
blowing her blue hair
“of course I can drive”

Holding tight friend, Clive
been having an affair
“Land sakes alive”

Danger made them thrive
stole car on a dare
“of course I can drive”

They saw police arrive
heard siren blare
“Land sakes alive”
“of course I can drive”


“Villanelle” by Don McIver

Third place


I'll try my hand at villanelle.
Haiku, Sonnet, Sestina, and Pantoum,
some lines work, the others not so well.

It's not as if I'm not fond of form.
So I wait, only to sit, confused, in this bare room.
I'll try my hand at villanelle.

In the background, there's music, a busy road, and the air is warm
Mindy moves around me, sweeping with a straw broom,
Some lines work, the others not so well.

Writing lines out of order is usually not my norm,
but out of this planting, perhaps, please something bloom.
I'll try my hand at villanelle.

The task is clear; the words transform
Is this for me or something I give to whom?
Some lines work, the others not so well.

So dear poet, do you hope to start a swarm,
a piece of art to ponder and to groom?
I'll try my hand at villanelle.
Some lines work, the others not so well.


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