Thank you to everyone for your appreciation and support for the Creative Voice.
“Words become autonomous objects, rather than symbols of something else, for they are themselves, rather than windows onto other terrain. They cohere in terms of stressed sound, rhythms, textures, and consistencies in diction – linguistic qualities other than subject and syntax. Disconnection enhances language. Transcending mundane sentences makes every word important.” ~ Richard Kostelanetz
Thank you, Michaela Carter, for taking on the difficult job of selecting award winners.
“I was thrilled not only by the number of entries but by their caliber. I had no idea there were this many poets in Prescott! So many of the poems left me with a feeling of wonder and awe, it was difficult to pick a winner. Congratulations to everyone who submitted their work. I hope you will all keep writing!
1st Place – Mark Dailey
If Tang Dynasty Poet Bai Ju-yi Had Internet Access
he would flip open his laptop after new mountain rain,
sparrows returning in purple dusk, and careful
not to slosh fresh-brewed wine onto his keyboard,
peck out a greeting to dear old friend Yuan Zhen
two month’s travel by braying mule
away, and say: “Tonight the cottage window
admitted the sound of rain on spattered banana tree
leaves the size of elephant ears, a cricket
started to chirp then stopped, then started
again, and I thought of you. How are your children?
Have you put them to bed with
sips of wine? Someday I know we will sit down
together again on this long journey
home, arm in arm at least in poetry,” and when
the mosquitoes began to drown
in his wine glass and find
the nape of his neck, rush his last
syllables, and quickly click “Send”
before booting his laptop down and
retreating inside for one more lonely
night in misty mountains.
1st Place Award – Mark Dailey
Mark Dailey is an environmental studies professor at Prescott College. Originally from West Virginia, he lived in Vermont for almost 20 years before moving to Arizona with his family in 2019. He has a lifelong interest in poetry, with a special interest in Chinese language and poetry, and also publishes widely in English-language haiku journals.
Peoples’ Choice – Miska Paget
The Best Horses In Heaven, They Have No Tail
The best horses in Heaven, they have no tail
This is a rule they all know, without fail
For when a new horse arrives with a short cut bob
Everyone knows that this horse did a very good job
His owner couldn’t bear to part with her friend
So she saved his tail, wrapped in ribbons and braids
To hold with his memory in a very special way
To enter Heaven without a tail
Is an honor, a message, that without fail
Announces to everyone far and wide
That this horse was more than a wonderful ride
No, this horse was loved and cherished by one
And when his time serving here, on Earth, was done
He left behind a broken heart
And a soul from which he never will part
People’s Choice Award – Miska Paget
Miska owns Williamson Valley Large Animal Veterinary Practice. Occasionally she writes her poems seated in her truck after seeing a patient. She says, “I am about living with my heart. I am about determination, following your dreams, not listening to what other’s expectations are of you. I am about hard work, taking time to ride your horse, write poetry, celebrate with friends, laugh with children, and enjoy a cup of coffee with your husband. I am about staying up all night if the horse has a chance. I don’t give up easily. I like the challenge, and I love the triumph. I am about scheduling extra time in my day to listen to the stories of an older client, because I know I will learn something. I am about bringing joy, making others laugh, engendering a sense of belonging and comfort to those in my life. We are all in this together.”
Best Youth – Mika Katarzyna
Do not fret over imperfection
Do not fret over imperfection
and never shed any tears.
Don’t worry about tomorrow,
don’t lose sleep over your fears.
Let yourself enjoy your time
here upon this earth;
never stress or question
your own personal worth.
Let things come and pass
and I’m sure you will find;
you’re so much happier when
stressful things aren’t on your mind.
And I hope when your time comes to die
you think about your life and laugh;
you may not have won the game of life
but you enjoyed strolling the path.
Don’t fret over imperfection, love,
and when you fall you can always rise.
For in your imperfection is where your perfection lies.
Best Youth Poet Award – Mika Katarzyna
Mika Katarzyna is a 15-year-old high school student, who enjoys writing poetry and relaxing with her dogs.
Special Recognition – Keagan Sweeney
Call upon it
summoning to come
Bribes of cookies
candies and treats
A commissioned work
Like a crystal
Crystal clear moving
Standing still transparent
Crystal clear yet
Special Recognition – Keagan Sweeney
Keagan’s’ favorite quote: “Heroes live within the hearts of small children fighting big battles.”
Comment from Keagan’s teacher, Jasmine Castigliano: “For most of her life, people did not listen when Keagan communicated. I’d like to think it was mostly because they didn’t understand the methods she used to communicate. Unfortunately, I think it was actually because they wrote her off as someone incapable of communicating, so they never even tried. About five years ago, I was gifted the best gift Keagan can give – her trust. She told me then she didn’t like to communicate in front of others with her AAC as she thought everyone would consider her a freak. Things have changed for her over the last few years… and through quite a few tears, a few dozen bags of Doritos, and enough swear words to qualify as Samuel L. Jackson’s understudy. Now Keagan stands before you ready to show you who she is. But this time it’s not because she trusts you…it’s because she trusts herself.”
Thank you to our Juror Michaela Carter
Michaela Carter is an award-winning poet, writer, and painter. She studied Theater at UCLA and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. Her poetry won the Poetry Society of America, Los Angeles New Poets Prize. Her poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, won the Poetry Society of America Los Angeles New Poets Contest, and has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. Her novel “Further Out Than You Thought” was an Indie Next Pick, an Arizona Republic Recommends, and AZ Central’s Best critic’s pick for 2014. Michaela co-founded The Peregrine Book Company an independent bookstore in Prescott, Arizona where she works as a book buyer and storyteller. She lives in Prescott with her husband and two children and teaches creative writing at Yavapai College. Learn more about Michaela on her website MichaelaCarter.com.