On Saturday evening, August 26, Eastport Arts Center’s inaugural Charles Moore Poetry Prize Competition came to a close with a celebration of poets and reception at the Center.
Every table was occupied as Greg Biss, president of EAC’s Board, welcomed attendees and introduced the competition’s benefactor, seasonal resident Charles “Chick” Moore of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who has deep roots in Eastport through the Davis family.
Moore spoke about his life-long love of poetry and his desire to increase interest in the form by sponsoring an annual competition in conjunction with the EAC.
Local poet and member of the English faculty at Washington County Community
College Molly McDonald, who judged the youth division of the competition, announced the young winners. Cecilia Hopkins received first prize for “The Ravishing Tide;” second prize went to Beatrice Alsop-Cheeney for “On the Marsh” and third prize to Margaret Tamburrini for “The Wonderful Woods.” McDonald also read the prize winning poems for attendees.
The adult division was judged by former seasonal resident and nationally-known poet and academic Heather McHugh. As she was on the west coast and unable to attend, Biss announced the winners and honorable mentions, and he and one of the competition’s organizers, Catherine Lee, took turns reading the winning poems. Carla Ganiel received first prize for “Down East”; second prize went to Katie Gorrie for “a great breathing, filling and loosing”; third prize went to Kelly Cunnane for “Full and Egg Moon”; and honorable mentions were given to Roger Craik for “In the Woods in Geneva State Park, Ohio”; Chris Crittenden for “Late March”; Alice Wilkinson for “Time Keepers”; and Frances J. Pearce for “A Glimpse”.
A newly published 84-page anthology, titled Of Woods and Waters to reflect the competition themes of forest and ocean, and containing all submitted poems, was available for purchase and those who submitted each received a complimentary copy. The volume was designed and composed by Sea Smoke Press of Eastport and printed by Amazon. It is now available at Amy Ray’s Bingville Style Shop in downtown Eastport, as well as at the EAC.None of the prize-winning poets were able to attend, but other poets did read their submitted poems, including Shailoh DuBois, Les Simon, Alan Brooks, Jude Kempe, Gracie Rockwood, Bill Kolodnicki and Manuela Brice (who read her poem in English and the German in which she originally wrote it). Kathleen Dunbar read her husband Don Dunbar’s poem.
The competition drew 61 entries from across the U.S. Lee says, “This was our first venture in literary competitions, and we learned a few things about how to make next year’s contest, which we are already planning, even better. Like Chick Moore, I would love to see more people engage with poetry instead of thinking it’s some dry, symbol-laden thing that has no relevance to their lives. Poetry is for everyone, and if you’ve ever engaged with a song lyric, guess what? You’ve engaged with poetry.”
Eastport Arts Center is at 36 Washington Street, Eastport, and is handicapped-accessible. More information about EAC programs may be found at eastportartscenter.org.