Contest Theme: (Dis)placement
We are delighted to announce the winners and finalists of the Terrain.org 6th Annual Contests in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. Congratulations.
The winners and finalists will be published throughout November:
These poems have been carefully crafted by a talented hand, the forms tight and the tone subdued. They are all equally strong and engaging, and yet each is unique in its contribution to the themes of the set as a whole. A panorama of visions on many levels is the result. The poems bring new perspectives to the contest theme, (Dis)placement–from home to 11 billion miles from home, from kitchen to HD 162826, from knowledge to absence and back. I like where these poems take me, places that make me glad and afraid at the same time, that cause me to remember again the release of the universe, the need for the near and the tangible, the limitations of the human. I most admire the voice of the poems, an easy, forthright, conversational voice consoling a space craft, instructing a gas cloud, speaking to itself and to us, a voice both witty and touching. This poet has addressed aspects of the place of our place that are rarely considered in fine poetry, certainly rarely considered with such a voice. This set of poems has been a joy to find and to keep.
“Red” by Mary B. Moore
“All These Songs About Leaving—”, “Why the Raccoon’s Tail Has Stripes”, and “The Story of the Forest and the Owl” by Rob Carney
“Contrition” stands out as a real piece of fiction. Something you’d read in a lauded collection. It has a calm sorrow and subtle effects. Real emotion, surprising turns. But never over-reaching or artificial. I couldn’t find a false note. It has a good Tom McGuane flavor and promises to stick with me for a long time.
“The Education of Monica Steele” by Michelle Panik
“The Last Wild Creatures on Earth” by Elise Atchison
In his revolutionary pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote, “It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of sorrow.” The challenge for Paine, and for any writer concerned about human suffering, is to make that suffering present to people who are insulated from it by geography or social status or wealth. Despite our extravagant greenhouse emissions, most Americans remain safely distant from the sorrow caused by climate disruption. It is the poor who suffer the most, especially in tropical nations that have contributed the least to global warming. The narrator of this winning essay is an American who visits Bangladesh, a desperately poor country that is already losing arable land to salt infiltration from seawater, and is destined to lose perhaps as much as 40 percent of its arable land to rising oceans. Its people have been battered by more intense heat waves, more violent cyclones, and more severe flooding. Within the frame of a journey, the narrator registers these losses, and the prospect of more to come, through sketches of individuals and descriptions of damaged places. The essay should make readers as yet unscathed by climate disruption feel closer to the scene of sorrow, and more determined to seek an alternative to our high-consumption, fossil-fueled, industrial way of life.
“Hostile Soil” by Spring Ulmer
Header image of lighting on earth from space at night by NASA, courtesy Pixabay.