Prose-poem contest winners

Though nearly 50 poetic entries filled our mailbox, only a fraction of these metaphors and similes arrived in prose form. Happily, among the submissions we discovered some standout works.

This year’s contest winner, Connie J. Aiken’s “Tomato Sandwich,” uses a summery lunch request to transport readers through time, back to drippy ice-cream cones and a haze of charcoal smoke from the grill. Aiken expertly weaves mouthwatering imagery with bittersweet nostalgia in simply crafted lines like “She desired the right tomato.”

Second-place winner Charles Andrew Hacskaylo, Jr. sent in the darkly humorous “Lawn Sofa,” a Charles Simic-esque poem that, in a handful of lines, takes us to a debauched, otherworldly party where the unwelcome guests are “reliant on [his] outdated records.”

Alicia Donaldson’s third-place entry, “Spikes,” offers a bleaker, edgier landscape. The poem races, unhampered by punctuation, down a highway perhaps literal, perhaps imagined: Either way, phrases like “my blood wailing cacophonous grind” hurl the reader to a breathless finish.

For the winning poems in full, read on.

— A&E Reporter Alli Marshall

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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