Past Winners Of The WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest

 

2021 Watersedge Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner

Leaf Notes: Poems of the Plague Years has timely universal appeal. We’ve all been living this life. In these poems, we follow the journey of life during a pandemic. The poems parallel nature with what occurs in our own lives: red leaves, dead leaves, falling leaves, leaves tumbling and swept away or under snow beyond antiseptic walls where death “might be any naked face.” The poems capture loss, separation, quarantine, and isolation. People are masked faces behind bus and store windows or caught in the sleet, the snow, and the falling leaves. They “look/nothing in the face/–as it yawns–/stares back,” and we are left to create our own simple pleasures: a salmon dinner or Chopin. Sharp imagery puts us there, feeling like the author is us. —Maryfrances Wagner, Missouri Poet Laureate 2021-2023 and author of The Immigrants New Camera

You can purchase the book here.

After winning the WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest, I cannot think of a way my experience with the staff of Writer’s Relief and Self-Publishing Relief could have been any better. Every step in the production of the book was thoroughly explained to me with many helpful suggestions. All my questions were answered clearly and patiently. And best of all, the book turned out beautifully! The front and back covers are well designed and visually appealing, and will make potential readers want to pick up the book and open it—and once they do, the interior design and layout are clean and elegant, and the text is in a very clear, readable typeface. The staff of Self-Publishing Relief is thoroughly professional, knowledgeable, skilled, polite, good natured and helpful. (Carol, who shepherded my book and me through the entire process, is absolutely a rare gem.) I highly recommend Writers’ Relief and Self Publishing for all the various services offered.

—Michael Fallon


2020 Watersedge Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner

Mother Want by Maria McLeod

“Some say a poet is not born in a country, but in childhood. The poems in Mother Want build a mosaic of moments to tell childhood’s fears and kinship devotions, its secrets and revelations. A young soul’s reticence locked a door, but a survivor’s poetry pried it open. These poems tell what can’t be told, trusting images and sensations to convey us into life’s mysterious past, and then to emerge unburdened by crippling vows of silence. Love is told as truth here, line by line.” —Kim Stafford, Oregon’s 9th Poet Laureate and author of Singer Come from Afar.

You can purchase the book here.

 

I am so grateful to have been selected as the winner of the 2020 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest, sponsored by Writer’s Relief and judged by Oregon’s Ninth Poet Laureate Kim Stafford. How lucky to come upon a chapbook contest sponsored by experts in design-to-publication. I received great care, enthusiasm for my work, clear communication, and a wonderful poetry publication.

—Maria McLeod


2019 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner

Fugue for a New Life by Dinah Berland

Textured with musical reference and rich imagery, Fugue for a New Life is skillfully rendered into a series centered on the archetypical story of loss and self-discovery with travel woven in as part of the quest for a new life. The intelligent and wide-ranging voice of these poems portrays intimate scenes against the backdrop of the infinite. Judge Tami Haaland states that in her final poem, Berland arrives, after a final litany of the possible, at a wise and brilliant conclusion, “that everything came / from the same infinitesimal seed,” thus “proving” our inevitable connection to each other.

You can purchase the book here.

 

Dear Writer’s Relief,

I just received my author copy of Fugue for a New Life, and I am absolutely thrilled!! it’s gorgeous, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Thank you and everyone at Writer’s Relief who had a role in producing this beautiful tittle book. I will treasure it always.

With Gratitude and Blessings,

Dinah Berland


2018 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner

I Almost Was Animal by Laurin Becker Macios

The poems in I Almost Was Animal court mystery without sacrificing clarity, each short lyric encompassing leaps that stretch us but don’t let us drop. They hold the capacity for joy and love but also loss, the emotions contained within the tight craft of the lines, stanzas, and lyrical prose poems. Images return—tulip, ocean, wing, girl—and comment on each other, so that we feel that we’ve been wrapped in a tapestry, almost a narrative. The poet calls on Arnaut Daniel, Walt Whitman, George Herbert, and César Vallejo, poetic ancestors who are very unlike each other, though each is engaged in the exploration of his own wildness, in language chosen for its precision. Judge Susanna Lang stated that this balance between wildness and discipline is what constitutes the beauty of this collection.

You can purchase the book here.

 


2017 Second Annual WaterSedge Contest Winner

In The Early Garden With Reason by [Lawry, Mercedes]In the Early Garden with Reason by Mercedes Lawry

A collection of twenty-four poems that explores the interweavings of our efforts to make sense of life’s absurdities, sorrows and the natural world. Through lyric and story, the poems swerve from the idiosyncratic to the deeply intimate, tracing loss, injustice and the fragility of the human experience that, at times, can only be met with a roll of the eyes. Judge Molly Peacock called the poems “complex and winsome, bewildered and wise, linguistically rich but utterly straightforward, fraught with the ambiguity of both hope and resignation.”

You can purchase the book here.

 

 


2016 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner

Still Life With Weather by Marcia B. Loughran

Loosely inspired by The Farmer’s Almanac, the poems in this collection reflect the poet’s attempt to pay attention to the world outside her window. The poems use the weather as a way to talk about the seasons of life. Birth, the loss of innocence, love and relationships, the creative process, aging: human seasons we all share, to complain about or exult in, like the weather. Judge Amit Majmudar, Ohio’s Poet Laureate, stated “this slender chapbook is full of music because it lets us hear how the herring are running in Canarsie. As the poet’s falcon, or perhaps the falconer, says to her companion: “You are teaching me to look.”

You can purchase the book here.

 

 

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Reviews

“Getting that first poem published was the hardest threshold to cross. My team at Writer’s Relief kept encouraging me…then came the acceptance! We celebrated…then I continued writing, and Writer’s Relief continued doing the wonderful work they do!”

—King Grossman, Writer
(Watch King’s video testimonial here!)

“Every piece I have sent out with their help has been accepted for publication! I am looking forward to working with the team on getting my new novel out into the world.”

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