PCCA is now accepting entries for the 23rd Annual Poetic Excellence Awards. Anyone may enter; however, only Perry County residents will be eligible for the title of Perry County Poet Laureate. Other prizes include First, Second, Third, Honorable Mention, the Kenneth P. Allen Award for poems written in any form with the theme of “Love in the Time of Coronavirus,” chosen by last year’s KPA Award winner Crystal Flauaus, and the new Siggy David Award for poems written in any form with the theme of “Gratitude.”
EXTENDED ENTRY DEADLINE! April 30, 2021
Ready to submit your entry?
After you pay your entry fee below using your debit or credit card, you will be prompted to upload your entry as a single pdf file. Please be sure to read the guidelines to ensure you have included your cover sheet with proper identification of your poems entered for the themed awards. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with Poetry Contest in the subject line.
Gary’s books have won The Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction, The Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Nonfiction Prose, the Wheeler Prize for Poetry (Ohio State). His latest collections are The Sorrows: Stories (Stephen F. Austin, 2020) and The Infinity Room: Poems (Michigan State, 2019). His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in such periodicals as Harper’s, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The Missouri Review, as well as in Best American Essays 2020 and Best Small Fictions 2020. Just retired, he was the Charles Degenstein Professor of Creative Writing at Susquehanna University.
Winning poets are invited to read their poems during the awards ceremony. Stick around for Coffeehouse afterwards!
2020 AWARD WINNERS
Lynne Reeder, “Measuring Infinity”
My oldest daughter loves math.
Every birthday balloons into equations for her.
What year was Yaya born?
How old will I be in seventh grade?
Mommy, how old are you?
My oldest daughter wants numbers
but I speak a different language.
I smooth her tangled hair and straighten the dreamcatcher she has pinned
to the headboard of her bed.
I am autumn leaf old, child.
I am broken crayons and Sunday mornings and sweater blankets old.
I am dyed hair and black leggings and just one more chocolate old.
I am missing sweet tea at my grandmother’s kitchen table,
I am my grandmother’s kitchen table in our dinging room because she is no
longer here to give it a home years old.
I am thousands of students years old.
I am ancient as the pale blue of your irises.
I am still a child myself.
I am one moment at a time years old.
I am questions that have no answers old.
I am old enough to know that what it is you’re really asking
but instead I smile as I pick up your worn teddy bear, the one threadbare at
the seams and missing his eyes, the Tiresias prophet of our house, the stuffed animal that once
was mine when I, too, was interested in the ages of the women I love, and I say,
I’m 35, sweetie.
My oldest daughter unwraps my words and tucks them beneath her pillow,
where fairies sometimes visit.
She crosses the days off her calendar because she is still young enough to
believe that days can be contained by grids and tucked beneath black marker X’s.
I am mother years old, infinite and enduring,
blood in your veins and thoughts in your head and bigger than myself because of you years old.
And I find that perhaps I too am learning to love math
or at least the perpetual and ceaseless possibilities existing in the numbers defining us.