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Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition 2013

This year's competition proved itself truly international with American poet and novelist Patricia Averbach taking first prize. As winner she will have a chapbook released by Ward Wood Publishing in November this year, will work with an editor in the coming months and will receive 50 copies and a launch reading in the Camden venue. She's looking forward to visiting London for the reading.

This has been quite a year for Patricia Averbach, whose debut novel Painting Bridges has also been published this spring by American publisher Bottom Dog Press. The competition attracts about 1,000 poems, and her poem 'Smoke Rings' caught the eye of our judge Anne Stevenson.

The results are:
1st Place:
Patricia Averbach - Smoke Rings


Highly Commended:
Ann Pilling - American Trucks
Brian Algar - Oysters' Revenge
C. Gillet - Lines


Gillian Henchley - The Changing Tide
Jane Blank - Rape 1725
Ann Pilling - Half Term
Zoe Mulcare - Cray Fishing
Wilma Kenny - Son
Jennifer Farley - Willow Pattern


The Winning Poem:

Smoke Rings
Patricia Averbach

Aunt Bessie ladled chicken broth and noodles
into bowls rimmed with fading flowers.

Auntie Anna hid in the pantry
stuffing cookies into the pockets of her good wool coat.

Carl chattered about the drug store,
the soda fountain, the price of hired help.

Ruth told the story about her trip to Columbus
and how there was a man

who signed the papers on condition
that she meet him in his room at five o’clock.

“He’s probably still waiting.”
That was her favorite part.  Ben and Maish were dead,

but Rae’s appetite was good.  She dug into the tsimmis
excavating bits of beef with red enamel nails.

Eddy Boy folded and refolded his napkin,
each crease crisper and thinner

the edges never quite perfectly matched.
Someone tried to tease Heart and Soul

from the ancient spinet, but it only coughed
an inaudible plink of camphor and dust.

Uncle Phil leaned back, inhaled a Lucky Strike,
then exhaled a frosty morning

outside his childhood home in Philadelphia.
The clouds hung so low he could almost touch them.


Buy the winning collection here

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