We are thrilled to announce that Margie Kivel has won our inaugural PhotoFinish Contest, with her stunning prose poem "Jailhouse Rock." Kivel packs so much strange, grimy beauty into just three lyric sentences. Phrases like "that hungry wait of the imprisoned" and "the pipe of forgetfulness" burrow their way into the ear. Clearly inspired by the image from our contest (displayed here), but imaginatively extending it, Kivel's piece becomes a song for the tired and disenfranchised. In her own words, Kivel "has been doing word pictures, written or drawn, for as long she can remember, then one of those blasts through the cannon of life gave her a jump start 6 years ago." We are grateful to Kivel for sharing with us her musical language and haunting images.
For the PhotoFinish Contest, we sought well-crafted and very brief (up to 500 words for prose, 15 lines for a poem) ekphrastic work that pushed beyond the literal details of the photo to hit upon some less obvious drama or emotional thread. Kivel's work certainly accomplishes this, and now we want to highlight here our two second place winners and seven finalists, whose pieces we will also be publishing.
These pieces—fiction and poetry—range from the hilarious to the sorrowful, and explore memory, hunger, the absurdities of love or trying to love. There is the pop culture joke and poignant leap in these opening lines from Lee Waxenberg's flash fiction, "When There's Nobody There": "My father was Gene Kelly singing in the rain... Then my father was Kyle Reese in The Terminator, whose absence was necessary to save all future generations from a pre-programmed demise." There is the startlingly anti-romantic vision of nature in Michelle Lyle's poem, "The Belly of Spring": "seeds stir dark and dainty,/sucking down Daminozide/like teens at bottles of Boone's Farm." And there is much more in all ten pieces.
We cannot wait to bring this PhotoFinish feature out in a special e-edition of our final 2015 issue.
Complete contest results:
The winner is Margie Kivel's "Jailhouse Rock"—$250 honorarium and publication
Tied for 2nd place, who will also be published:
Lee Waxenberg's "When There's Nobody There"—tied for 2nd place
Sian Griffiths's "Clowns"—tied for 2nd place
The finalists, who will also be published:
Jonathan Travelstead's "Go Then, There Are Worlds Other Than These"
Anna Scotti's "I See What We Have Become"
Barbara Harroun's "Carnival"
Marie Chambers's "Amusement Park in Winter (pointy hats do not make the man)"
Melissa Reddish's "My Heart Is a Lump of Fried Dough Waiting to Be Formed"
Michelle Lyle's "The Belly of Spring"
Gerard Sarnat's "Popped Hot Air Balloon, and Suckers"