2008 Jeanne Lohmann Winners

 

Sean Brendan-Brown is a medically-retired Marine happily living in Olympia, Washington with his wife Rustynne, and beagle Katie. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is the recipient of a 1997 NEA poetry fellowship. Publications include the Notre Dame Review, Wisconsin Review, Texas Review, Florida Review, Hunger Magazine, and the University of Iowa Press anthologies American Diaspora and Like Thunder.

 

Shin Yu Pai is the author of Works on Paper (Convivio Bookworks), Sightings: Selected Works [2000 - 2005] (1913 Press, 2007), The Love Hotel Poems (Press Lorentz, 2006), Unnecessary Roughness (xPress(ed), 2005), Equivalence (La Alameda, 2003), and Ten Thousand Miles of Mountains and Rivers (Third Ear Books, 1998). Forthcoming projects include Haiku Not Bombs from the Brooklyn Artists Alliance. She has taught poetry at Southern Methodist University, The University of Texas at Dallas, and served as the 2004 Peter Taylor Fellow at Kenyon College. She has completed residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Taipei Artist VillageRagdale Foundation, and Soul Mountain. Shin Yu received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with additional graduate level studies conducted at The Naropa Institute where she received the Hiro Yamagata and Zora Neale Hurston Scholarships. Currently, she lives and works in Seattle, WA. Visit her website at http://shinyupai.com.

 

David Rizzi is a poet/drummer/composer living in Seattle. He reads, performs, and facilitates poetry workshops around the Pacific Northwest. David was the winner of the 1st WordStorm Poetry Competition held on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. His first poetry collection was vibrant city of Bones (2006).  He has recently completed two related books: 39 boys on ground and 51 men on hills for ships. His website is http://www.davidrizzi.com.

 

 

 

Otaka The Cat

 

My little brother was burned on his face

and hands and his face was all swollen.

He was a cute little brother but he died

after a week He died calling mummy!

mummy!

 

            Ruriko Araoka, Hiroshima survivor

 

Where the paper of the shoji's

lower panel is torn Otaka the cat

enjoys sliding his paw through

to pat the floor - he never

finds anything yet seems

immensely pleased.

 

He does not know what

he lived through; everything

is broken, we are hungry:

my school lunch is air

& dinner too sometimes

but I give my balls of rice      

 

to the orphans. The hair

I lost from breathing poison

is back, it helps to tantalize

those silly paws with string,

smile into those wild eyes

haunted by nothing.

 

            - Sean Brendan-Brown

 

Footprint

 

the sledge-hammered crown

of Akshobya stolen

 

from Shentong Monastery's

Four Gate Pagoda,

 

his throat slit with saw

 

(if you meet the Buddha

on the path, kill him)

 

bought on the black market

 

by devotees, donated to

the head of the Dharma Drum

 

order Master Sheng Yen

sees past the icon, a non-

 

attachment to form:

animal skin stretched over

 

hollow shell, a head

broken away from its body

 

remembering how the holy

prince was once pictured

 

in ancient art -

by his footprint alone

 

the grounding of

the transcendent

 

where the Buddha touched

earth, villages he visited

 

the dharma's spread to

distant places Sheng Yen

 

retraces the path, returning

the Buddha back to his origins

 

from plane to bus

escorted from Beijing

 

to Shandong Province

ceremony that makes

 

headlines on both sides

of the Taiwan Strait

 

            - Shin Yu Pai

 

Emergence

 

when I was smaller than now

when my mother was tall

and alive

my father at peace with the war

and alive

& I had not yet met my shadow

my heart was much larger than my feet

 

I would sail ships someday

farther than a paper ship gutter

climb mountains

higher than a backyard mound

 

other boys curled their lips

tried to spit

their fear on the ground

 

when I was inside my smaller shoes

my smaller self whispered

of conquering clouds with wings

 

when I stood under tables

my shorter self promised

to stroke with my eye & lick with my hand

each piece of animal fur I passed

 

sun comes up on a grove of trees

I am there

watching the earth turn blue

 

my mist rises to meet rain

my lungs taste elephant air

all the pretty places marked on my map

are not yet seen

 

before I was schooled

by bullies to stand

my haircut does not hurry home

 

I still rinse my mouth out

with lemons and rose water

& to find my way back to my bedroom window

put a loose ball of string in my pocket

 

            - David Rizzi