Second-Prize Winner in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Competition (Fall 2019)
"a mother's goodbye" was published by the Sentinel Literary Quarterly, after being awarded second place in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) by welsh comedian, writer, screenwriter, film-director and historian, Terence Graham Parry Jones. In the judge's report originally published on the Sentinel Literary Quarterly website (uploaded here), Jones thoughtfully responded to all the submissions, specifically responding to twelve poets (three prize winners, three commended poets and three special mentions).
The Second Prize poem is a mother’s goodbye, a poem that achieves to a musical and evocative re-creation of a land, a landscape (the slieve bloom mountains), and – with impressive economy and eloquence – a way of life and a history. From the opening lines of the poem we are left in no doubt that the poet can imbue language with charm and charge:
the moonscape bows to the mist;
the slieve blooms into a mountain scope
stitched with the scent of lime and ghost blossoms
This is a lovely villanelle; skilful and sensitive in its handling of the tercets and the quatrain and the repeating lines and rhymes, and it is (in good part) this move to engage a demanding form in the service of a serious, richly geological and deeply human imagination that justifies the poems ranking in this competition. In five tercets and a concluding quatrain, operating within the tight constraints of the rhyme scheme, the poems nevertheless succeeds in opening into real historical and topographical space. We learn:
stories: the woman who pounded almomd oil into an antidote,
tucked garins in jars of flotsam and flax, and left behind
the village with the basalt neckline and belt of ramie rope
The whole imaginative engagement that is the poem is sustained and executed with balance and grace.