iYeats Poetry 2017 Winners
Judges Commentary 2017 by Jessica Traynor and Billy Ramsell:
“It’s a pleasure to declare ‘The Varying Hare’ by Tammy Armstrong the winner of this year’s iYeats competition. This is a special poem, one that manages to combine depth of ambition with deftness in execution, rendering, with enviable clarity, a crepuscular, fog-tinted milieu. Its uncanny, depopulated landscape is one readers are unlikely to forget as it leaves us ‘wrong edged’ and ‘thicket-blind’, lingering, despite ourselves, in the ‘animal time’ it so vividly conjures.
In the Emerging Category, ‘The Last Hour on the Flight Deck’ by Cynthia Miller stood out for us as an ambitious poem full of surprising and well-rendered details. From the air stewardesses who ‘arch their feet inside boxy heels’ to the dusk which ‘siphons lavender shadows across the room’, this is a poem which explores distance and dislocation through vivid, intimate imagery.”
1st Prize General CategoryTammy Armstrong "The Varying Hare"
1st Prize EmergingCynthia Miller "The Last Hour On The Flight Deck"
Highly CommendedAngela T. Carr "Ameratsu Hides Her Light in the Rock Cave of Heaven"
Highly CommendedBrooch "A.M.Cousins"
Highly CommendedMackerel "John O'Donnell"
Highly CommendedMole "Tammy Armstrong"
Highly CommendedObservance "Edel Burke"
Highly CommendedRoad Salt Dome "Tammy Armstrong"
Highly CommendedSamhain "Ingrid Casey"
Highly CommendedThe Farmer "Michael O'Connor"
Highly CommendedThe Quiet Ones "Alan Weadick"
Highly CommendedTigers In Leitrim "Roisin Kelly"
1st Prize General Category
The Varying Hare, by Tammy Armstrong
The Varying Hare
I’d been away so long I’d forgotten
this province's dark roads and deep pines
rarely bring down enough moon
to lighten these shapeless forests of fog and dim—
all wrong edged all thicket-blind against early starts
to Hardscratch Road quarry runs
the lobster pound graders’ commute.
This is when thresholds open briefly
low-bellied and filled with smoke
beyond the fox burying finger bones at the base of hackmatacks
the toad plodding through its cotton anniversary alone.
But sometimes a small one
its escaping heel not quick enough
gets tangled in its own nest of nerves
it jukes the cold-van ahead of us
all leather ears and scut
all riven bones and tantrum too late.
Lording over the unrehearsed
I might say oh. I might say poor, stupid thing
now grease and bone, an orphaned sock, a tattered mitt.
But after a moment, this passes:
weather is weather
smoke is smoke traffic moves on.
But something childish still
wants to stay in animal time
to reassemble the fog's glide
weed the wood of misgivings and scuttles
so the hare’s long bones haven’t snapped
its heart hasn’t stopped
the harbour hasn’t skinned to ice and locked us in
and the dawn flits of the blackbirds’ ruby wick
calling aujourd’hui, aujourd’hui, aujourd’hui
have yet to begin.
© Tammy Armstrong
1st Prize Emerging
The Last Hour On The Flight Deck, by Cynthia Miller
Shirt too tight, a splotch of mustard (Hokkein noodles?
egg salad?) from lunch eaten somewhere over the Arctic,
steady heartbeat of lights blinking circadian rhythms.
Already his body is waking up when it shouldn’t be,
sun pulling at him from the other side of the world.
Tray tables stowed. The good coffee snuck into the galley
where air stewardesses arch their feet inside boxy heels.
The cabin dark is lush and soft as mouths in sleep.
Landing is just muscle memory. There’s a tipping
that happens as they glide past longitudes, the plane
arriving lighter, passengers heavier. He thinks
it’s a good thing they’re only ten thousand feet
in the air because he saw that film where interstellar
astronauts zip around the galaxy only to return home
the same age as their great-grandchildren, days sliding
out from under them like wet runways. He can relate:
his whole life is spent chasing lights. There’s always
a moment as he crosses the doorway where he waits
for everything around him to have changed, aged, somehow.
It’s never the case. He’s still picking up old socks
and building blocks, hears the familiar gurgle of the second
bathroom’s pipes, slips into bed while dusk
siphons lavender shadows across the room.
© Cynthia Miller
Ameratsu Hides Her Light in the Rock Cave of Heaven, by Angela T. Carr
© Angela T. Carr
A.M.Cousins, by Brooch
John O'Donnell, by Mackerel
Tammy Armstrong, by Mole
Edel Burke, by Observance
Tammy Armstrong, by Road Salt Dome
© Road Salt Dome
Ingrid Casey, by Samhain
Michael O'Connor, by The Farmer
© The Farmer
Alan Weadick, by The Quiet Ones
© The Quiet Ones
Roisin Kelly, by Tigers In Leitrim
© Tigers In Leitrim