25 Lines and Fewer

ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2016-2017 competition.

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By Robert Bly

Inside the veins there are navies setting forth,
Tiny explosions at the waterlines,
And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood. ...

By Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go. ...

By Howard Nemerov

For a saving grace, we didn't see our dead,
Who rarely bothered coming home to die
But simply stayed away out there ...

By Chris Abani

The telephone never rings. Still
you pick it up, smile into the static,
the breath of those you’ve loved; long dead....

By William Stanley Braithwaite

Two women on the lone wet strand
   (The wind's out with a will to roam)
The waves wage war on rocks and sand, ...

By Gerald Stern

I wanted to know what it was like before we
had voices and before we had bare fingers and before we
had minds to move us through our actions...

By Ha Jin

We used to like talking about grief
Our journals and letters were packed
with losses, complaints, and sorrows....

By Rhina P. Espaillat

What the scale tells you is how much the earth
has missed you, body, how it wants you back
again after you leave it to go forth...

By William E. Stafford

The well rising without sound,
the spring on a hillside,
the plowshare brimming through deep ground ...

By John Ashbery

The concept is interesting: to see, as though reflected
In streaming windowpanes, the look of others through
Their own eyes. A digest of their correct impressions of...

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Savannah Smith
2016 MT POL Champion