Terrain.org 2nd Annual Contest Winners Announced!

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The editors of Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments are pleased to announce the winners and finalists in our 2nd Annual Contest:

Judged by Alison Hawthorne Deming

  • Winner – Rebecca Dunham for her poem in seven parts, “Morning: Joplin, MO”
  • Finalist – Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé for his poem “Scholem in Forty Winged Hours”
  • Finalist – Gretchen Primack for her poem “Fawn”

Of the winning poem, Alison Hawthorne Deming writes:

This poem sequence takes up the task of beginning again after the disaster of tornado and flood that hit Joplin, MO earlier this year.  Beginning requires seeing and the poem accomplishes that with acute precision and urgency as it ricochets between observation and the inward seeing of contemplation. I admire the poem’s economy and questioning in taking on the particulars of a tragedy that wounded human, plant, and creaturely communities alike. But I admire even more that the poem makes no attempt to make it all better with simplistic pieties. Rather it asks the reader to make a home in this reality–“roost, thou forsaken”– and to “let the pain remind you/ what it means to survive.”  In a world of wounds, one of poetry’s great tasks is to educate our empathy. This poem does just that at a time when empathy needs all the help it can get in the world.

Judged by Andrew Wingfield

  • Winner – G.E. Tallant for her story “Song of the Turkey Vulture”
  • Finalist – Malka Davis for her story “Kenley’s Watch”
  • Finalist – Erica Olsen for her story “Driveaway”
  • Finalist – K.L. Barron for her story “Controlled Burn”

Of the winning story, Andrew Wingfield writes:

“Song of the Turkey Vulture” is a prose elegy to the deeply placed existence of a single woman whose small farm is the great work of her life.  Rich in details of the land and its bounty, tuned to seasonal rhythms of work and weather, this story grew up around me with the quiet majesty of a pumpkin vine.  As our small farms devolve into housing tracts, or fall prey to the factory food system, we squander not only good land, but also the habits of care that are the essence of agriculture.  Through its sharp characterizations and careful evocations of place—the sheer weight of its specifics—“Song of the Turkey Vulture” invites us to feel the gravity of our loss.  The story is mournful yet celebratory, suffused with wry humor and laced with a bitterness that’s as bracing as a mouthful of mustard greens.

Judged by Elizabeth Dodd

  • Winner – Julian Hoffman for his essay “Faith in a Forgotten Place”
  • Finalist – Katie Fallon for her essay “Hill of the Sacred Eagles”
  • Finalist – Catherine Schmitt for her essay “New Orleans, The Gulf Coast, 2010”

Of the winning essay, Elizabeth Dodd writes:

I’ve selected “Faith in a Forgotten Place” as winner of this year’s nonfiction contest.  This piece combines terrific reporting—repeated visits to the village of Zagradec, careful inclusion of historic context—with an evocative personal response, indicating how the Prespa basin has touched the author.  “And while most of Lesser Prespa Lake exists in Greece, the great bowl of open water throws an unexpected arm around an oak-clad mountain at its southern end. The hill-slopes close in, like parallel lines running together in the distance, until only a thin finger of water touches the shore, a reed-tangled wedge belonging to Albania.” This faithful presentation of the world’s body underlies the essay’s contemplation of hopes and borders, and how eco-tourism can be an opportunity for re-inhabitation by those who are not the tourists.  Richly informative, deftly reflective, this is splendid literary journalism.

All of the winners and finalists will be published in our forthcoming issue–No. 28, “Image”–which will launch on September 19th. Additionally, winners each receive a $250 prize.

Congratulations to our winners!

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Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.