Sarah Mook Poetry Contest Results, 2016
Thank you for entering the Sarah Mook Poetry Contest. We had approximately 1,500 entries from more than a dozen states! Winning poems came from Oregon and California on the west coast; Maine, New Jersey and Florida on the east coast; Pennsylvania and Illinois in between. We also had entries from Singapore (first time), Australia, Canada, Israel, the UK, and India. It is always a great pleasure to read all of your poems, and we offer our congratulations to all the poets who entered! Thanks also to our judge, Marie Kane, for the great care she takes in giving considerable attention to each poem in the process of choosing the winners for Sarah's poetry contest.
K-2 First: “The Sunset Song" Addison Haffler, Pipersville, PA
Judges's comments-"The Sunset Song"
K-2 Second: “Watermelon” Samuel Hague, Junction City, OR
K-2 Third: "Waiting For a Friend” Jace Ekes, Sarasota, FL
Judge's comments-"Waiting for a Friend"
3-5 First: “Snorkeling” Sawyer Lineman, Edgecomb, ME
3-5 Second: “Leaving the Nest” Eden Copeland, Pittstown, NJ
Judge's comments-"Leaving the Nest"
3-5 Third: “My Messy Room” Jacob Matlof, Los Angeles, CA
Judge's comments-"My Messy Room"
6-8 First: “We Should Have Known” Emily Hague, Junct City, OR
Judge's comments- "We Should Have Known"
6-8 Second: “My Atlas” Nolan Anderson, Edgecomb, ME
Judge's comments- "My Atlas"
6-8 Third: “Never alone” Emilee Skvarka, Bedford, PA
Judge's comments- "Never alone"
Judge's comments- "On Dying"
9-12 Second: “Satisfaction for the Soul” Jacqueline Yang, Allendale, NJ
Judge's comments- "Satisfaction for the Soul"
9-12 Third: “My God” Rebecca Zaritsky, Hackensack, NJ
Judge's comments- "My God"
Marie Kane offers some insights about judging:
It’s hard to believe that this is the ninth year I’ve judged the Sarah Mook Poetry contest.
Each year in early April, I receive ten finalists in the four age groups from David Mook; that’s a total of 360 poems I’ve admired over the last nine years. The poems have been startling for their maturity, admirable for their poetic qualities, and many times, brave in their subject matter.
These 2016 poems are no different. These poets do not hesitate to share their world, their hang-ups, their imaginations, their difficulties, their fates, their loves, and their truths. Look at some of the writing from these talented poets: “your name atop my tongue like a ruby,” “meant for the solitary cycling boy,” “the branches look like tiny thin flutes,” and “fish goggling at me with big alien eyes”; these lines confirm that these young poets know how to transform imagination, emotion, and thought into words.
Judging this contest is time-consuming and even frustrating in that I have a difficult time deciding on the top three winners. But however challenging this contest, I love doing it. To read such marvelous writing from students in grades kindergarten to twelfth amazes me every year. I’m thankful that these young people write poetry at all, that they write with such honesty and freedom, and that they are brave enough to send their work to this contest and share it with David Mook and myself.
Do I ever reread winning poems from previous years? I certainly do; some of them have become favorites. I suggest that those who want to enter this contest do so also. (See the Sarah Mook web site-- http://sarahmookpoetrycontest.com/ .) Like all winners, they demonstrate that freshness of language is vital, that uncomfortable subjects can be tackled, that familiar topics can be made new, and that a striking metaphor can make a poem.
Congratulations to all of the finalists, especially to the top three poets in each age group. You are to be commended for your talent with words. Keep poetry alive!
Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing. ~James Tate
Thank you also for your donations! A contribution of $520 was made in Sarah’s name to Save the Children, a charity with an excellent rating and worthy mission. "Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm." I believe their mission is consistent with our poetry contest, and with the important work teachers and mentors do every day as well - provide opportunities for children to learn in safe and healthy environments.
Award letters will go out to the winning poets very soon. Award letters to the winners will include judge Kane’s detailed comments on your winning poems. First Place winners will receive a cash prize of $100, Second Place $50, Third Place $25.
Winning poems will be published on the website: www.SarahMookPoetryContest.com in a few weeks. So please check the site later this summer. Thank you for helping to honor Sarah and her gift of poetry. Have a safe and happy summer!
David Mook and Family