Poetry Ahead: Max Ehrmann 2012 Competition
For the second year, ArtSpaces (a non-profit group for public outdoor sculpture) has offered a great poetry competition for the six Indiana counties in our state-designated art region. This competition was created when ArtSpaces placed a life-sized bronze statue of poet Max Ehrmann in the center of downtown Terre Haute.
Here's what I wrote about it for ArtsIlliana Spectrum Magazine:
"One of the nicest things about the Max Ehrmann Poetry Competition is there’s a series of events for area poets and poetry-lovers. For poets, there is the challenge of working on and submitting poetry to a contest with generous awards and no entry fee. Then there’s the excitement of the awards ceremony where we get to hear the winners read their work. After that, we have the pleasure of attending readings given by each of the judges, who are distinguished poets writing from this area of the country. It’s a stellar way to observe National Poetry Month, to encourage people of all ages to write and read poetry, and to continue to honor Terre Haute’s poet, Max Ehrmann. ”
This year's judges were Peter Bethanis, Micah Ling and Karen Kovacik (who is now Indiana's poet laureate.)
I was thrilled to be among the finalists again this year and here is my winning poem, which received 3rd place in the category of Poems Inspired by a Work of Art. (My post about last year's competition here .)
The work of art that inspired me was a 1945 painting by Lyonel Feininger, "Old Stone Bridge."
She walks in the world full of roses
wherever she wants
whenever she wants
until she comes to a deep dark water
and a stone bridge
and the hairy troll boys
who spit and snicker and demand their toll.
“You owe us, girlkin,
if you want to pass.
We’ll let you play,
we’ll bargain and barter,
but there’s a price set
and there’s a debt to pay!”
She shakes her head,
jams her hands in her pockets,
tosses her hair like a wild red flag
and begins to dance
across the old, old stones
and the moon dims
and a fog rolls in
and the troll boys grin
and reach to mark her
This is where
Swims. Or learns
she can fly.
--Zann Carter (2012)