Home > Contests and prizes > Chapbook Contest: We Have Winners!

Chapbook Contest: We Have Winners!

August 1, 2009

Announcing the finalists and winners of the First Annual Qarrtsiluni Chapbook Contest.

At the outset, let us say thank you: thank you to the poets who submitted fifty manuscripts of astounding variety and complexity to our contest, thank you to the first-round readers and to Dinty Moore, our 2009 judge for taking on the extremely difficult job of deciding among such excellent work. Choosing the poetry that speaks to us will always be, to some extent, subjective, and it’s not only possible but likely that a different set of judges would have come up with a different set of choices. Because of that subjectivity, and our own desire to encourage written expression, experimentation, and creativity, Dave and I have always had a love/hate affair with contests. So we want to congratulate and thank all the poets, and reiterate that the quality of the work – as is so often the case at qarrtsiluni – was very high, and the choice clearly difficult. We’ve learned a lot in doing this, and hope all of you will be thinking ahead to next year.

THE PROCESS: Eight first-round readers, all of whom are former guest editors of qarrtsiluni, read the fifty submitted manuscripts in order to narrow the field to a shortlist of no more than ten. Each chapbook, identified only by title, was read by at least two readers. A shortlist of ten anonymous manuscripts was then forwarded to Dinty Moore for his final decisions.

On September 1st, we’ll begin online publication of one poem from each of the shortlisted manuscripts, and the winning chapbook in its entirety. The winner will also be published in a professionally designed paper edition, and available for sale.


Paper Covers Rock, Chella Courington
Calamity Jane, Diane Gage
The Three, Richard Garcia
Wavelengths, Dick Jones
Prison Terms, Diane Kendig
Influence of Two Moons, Kit Loney
The Goatfish Alphabet, Kristen McHenry
A Walk Through the Memory Palace, Pamela Johnson Parker
ashes, ashes, Susanna Rich
And Not As She Was, Jeneva Stone

THE WINNERS, with Dinty Moore’s comments:

First Prize:
A Walk Through the Memory Palace, by Pamela Johnson Parker

The language is textured, clear, and sometimes disquieting, the images both sensory and sensual, and each line crafted with painstaking care. Whether writing about rich gardens, sagging breasts, or the ink of a tattoo, this poet sees through the obvious to something radiant on the other side, painting a startling portrait of an intimate world. Not a wasted word here: the nouns are like gemstones.

Pamela Johnson Parker is a medical editor and adjunct professor in creative writing and poetry.  Her poems, flash fiction, and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in qarrtsiluni,  The Binnacle, The Other Journal, New Madrid, Pebble Lake Review, Holly Rose Review, 6 Sentences, Mipoesis, Muscadine Lines, A Journal of the South, and Anti-.  She is also the featured poet in the April 2009 Broadsided series of poetry and art.  A graduate of the MFA program at Murray State University, Parker lives in western Kentucky.

Pamela has had three poems published in qarrtsiluni previously.


Paper Covers Rock, by Chella Courington

Crisp narrative lines filled with energy, indignation, and fierce beauty. The images can take your breath away, and the title poem is one I’ll never forget.

With a Ph.D. in British and American Literature and an M.F.A. in Poetry, Chella Courington teaches writing and literature at Santa Barbara City College. Having moved west with a fiction writer and two cats in 2002, she finds that California provides her imaginative space. Her recent poetry appears in Mademoiselle’s Fingertips, Permafrost, wicked alice, Iguana Review, and The New Verse News. Her first chapbook, entitled Southern Girl Gone Wrong, was published in 2004. She’s new to the pages of qarrtsiluni.

The Goatfish Alphabet, by Kristen McHenry

All manner of creatures combine in exuberant lines full of foxfire and jellyfish, rock-teeth and tongue-muzzle, Miss America, St. Clare of Assisi, and our frailest secrets disclosed. These are lovely poems.

Kristen McHenry is a resident of Seattle, Washington and is a poet and freelance writer by night, and health outreach worker by day. Among other publications, her work has been seen in Wanderings, Trellis Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, Tiferet, Sybil’s Garage, and several anthologies, including Meanderings and Flowers Bloom in the Moonlight. She is currently a finalist in the national competition “Project Verse”. She is the creator and facilitator of the Poet’s Cafe, a weekly poetry workshop for homeless teens at the New Horizons drop-in center in downtown Seattle.

Kristen lives in the Ballard neighborhood with two cats, two firebellied toads, and one husband. She loves to sing, but only in the car with all of the windows rolled up.

This will also be Kristen’s first publication in qarrtsiluni.


So there you have it. Stay tuned: we hope you’ll anticipate reading these poems in September as much as we look forward to publishing them.


Qarrtsiluni Chapbook Contest 2009

Final Judge: Dinty Moore

First-round Readers: Ivy Alvarez, Rachel Barenblat, Dale Favier, Brent Goodman, Tom Montag, Anonymous, Peter Stephens, Carey Wallace

Contest Coordination and Print Publication: Beth Adams

Qarrtsiluni Managing Editors: Dave Bonta and Beth Adams

  1. August 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    How exciting…….can’t wait to have a read.

  2. August 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I would just like to say, as one of the first-round readers, that the quality of the submissions was astounding. Even at that level, we passed up stuff , lots of stuff, that really ought to be published.

  3. Ivy
    August 3, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Congratulations, Pamela Johnson Parker for being selected, Chella Courington and Kristen McHenry for your placements and those who made the shortlist!

    And I agree with Dale’s sentiments whole-heartedly. :-)

  1. August 1, 2009 at 11:41 am
  2. September 14, 2009 at 9:07 am
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