2007 Jeanne Lohmann Winners

 

Matthew Campbell Roberts was born in Napa Valley, California in 1971 where he attended a one-room school house set in the middle of a vineyard. Since moving to Washington State he has worked a variety of jobs: deckhand on a purse seine, conservation laborer, carpenter, fisheries technician, bough cutter, baby’s breath picker in the desert-sagelands of eastern Washington, and later for many years as a fly fishing guide on the Methow River and other waters near the eastern and western slopes of the North Cascades. He holds a BA in English literature and creative writing from Western Washington University, where he was an editor of Jeopardy Magazine. His work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, most recently in Jeopardy, Prairie Poetry.Org, Windfall, Whatcom Places II anthology, The Methow Naturalist, Tribute to Orpheus anthology and Cortland Review. He was a recipient of the 2006 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Award, a 2006 Washington Wilderness Coalition’s “Words for Wilderness” prize, and the 2007 Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize. He will be teaching English composition and creative writing at Eastern Washington University in fall 2007 while working toward an MFA in poetry.

Sally Albiso is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a William Stafford Award honorable mention, and winner of The Comstock Review's 2007 Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award. Her poems have appeared or will be forthcoming in Blood Orange Review, Cascade: an anthology of the Washington Poets Association, Crab Creek Review, Pontoon: an anthology of Washington state poets #7, 8, and 10, Rattle, The Comstock Review, and Tidepools.

James Bertolino's poetry has been published internationally, and collected in nine volumes from such publishers as Copper Canyon Press, Carnegie Mellon University Press and the Quarterly Review of Literature Award Series at Princeton University. His books in print include New & Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon), First Credo and Snail River (QRL), and his most recent, Pocket Animals: 60 Poems (2002,  Egress Studio Press). His collaborative poetry, written with Anita K. Boyle, has appeared in Cranky, Indiana Review, StringTown and in the anthology Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Poetry Collaboration In America (2007, Soft Skull Press). His fellowship awards have come from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Djerassi Foundation. In Spring, 2005 he was the first Washington Poets Association "Poetry Roadshow" poet, and gave readings and workshops on four college campuses. For 2005-06 he was Writer-in-Residence and Hallie Brown Ford Chair of Creative Writing at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He lives outside Bellingham, Washington in the shadow of Mt. Baker, where he has retired to full-time writing.

 

 

 

Some Waters, Some People, Some Time Ago

 

Believe punch currents still sing Puyallup

Hell over tree farms and log-offs

Believe they will once again breathe steelhead

and cigarette shops will sell-out ghost shrimp,

flip cardboard signs to read,

“Assorted spin-n-glows ten for a buck.”

 

These aren’t the day dreams of lawn chair warriors

whose lovers left when salmon runs plundered

promises of days along the dike plunking,

trading brine recipes and smoking fish

while trailer axles – shot from neglect - 

rest their dreams on shot mill-ends.

 

You guessed half this already you’ll still live there

jigging herring off Port Dalco on the slack,

watching glass runabouts mooch by,

remembering past scales of salt-dried gunnels

where gill-rakers bled streaks from bluebacks

of old wars, when you had to, but left it at that.

 

Don’t forget what matters either.

Once is only the last time you felt young

before chrome flashers  - oxidized

and indigo Winona reels left line burns,

when thumb drags and knuckle busters

ran the gamut for kings and silvers.

 

Those were different days though,

before  Black Velvet nights kept you warm

on Commencement Bay shores,

taught you how to drown-out train tunnels,

and kick the tide-rip’s sheen away,

cursing those sleeping waters that brought you home.

 

                        Matthew Campbell Roberts

 

 

Water Witching

 

The forked stick in his hands

lures him toward the broken pipe’s seeping,

like a shark dowsing prey

 

from under sand, the movement

toward subliminal weeping,

what weeks of digging might never have found.

 

And if I’d sought your ovaries

with a divining rod, my arms tugged

toward their polluted draining,

 

you might still live, mostly water, after all:

what we float in before birth,

lit and throbbing like navigational markers.

 

The douser advances,

holding the splayed limb before him

as if blinded, feels for the earth’s magnetic pulse,

 

a tide rising beneath his fingertips,

whether divination or what the body wills,

the wand points down.

 

But your dying coursed on,

undetected, your malignant wellspring

that crushed organs like pipes

 

beneath layers of rock, your belly

gravid with weight, your bruised tubing,

the ovum from which I sprung

 

twisted like that branch in the dowser’s grasp,

a reckoning we can’t ignore,

able at last to stop the flooding,

 

now we’ve found it’s source:

all that lies beneath the surface, sustaining, destroying.

 

                        Sally Albiso

 

 

 

My Sister’s Daughter

 

My older sister fell off a mountain.
As she passed by me on her way down,
without a thought my arm swung

out and fingers reached her jacket--
bringing her to rest.

Today my left palm itches, and I wonder why
the birds are ignoring the feeder.
On the table in front of me there's a photograph

of a newborn, still braceleted with hospital ID.
She has made a fist. Her dark eyes seem focused
on the inner world, the recent realm

of the womb. Does she know she’s falling?
Is there someone she’s trying to save?

 

                        James Bertolino