Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Literary Review is pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Contest, the contest's sixth year. The winning poem, "London's Foundling Hospital," was written by Nancy Schoenberger, of Williamsburg, Va.
The 2013 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Award, a $500 prize, is awarded to a poet born or living in Virginia. Shenandoah awards it for a single poem; this year, the journal received over 300 submissions.
The judge for this year's contest was Thomas Reiter, whose most recent collection is "Catchment" (LSU, 2009), and whose work has appeared in Poetry, Southern Review, Sewanee Review and numerous other journals.
The first and second honorable mentions were "Continuation," by Erika Meitner (Blacksburg) and "White Sands," by Kelly Cherry (Halifax).
This year's finalists were Kelly Cherry, Lesley Wheeler, Erika Meitner, Michael Chitwood, Eric Pankey, Henry Hart, Victoria Kelly, Nancy Schoenberger, Jeanne Larsen, John Leland, Amy Wright and Laura Kolbe.
Schoenberger is a professor at the College of William of Mary and the author of three books of poetry and four biographies. Her poem and the honorable mentions will appear in the winter/spring issue of Shenandoah (shenandoahliterary.org), scheduled for March 2014.
"Tom Reiter had the daunting task of choosing one winner from a bale of fine poems, but he did us proud," said Rod Smith, editor of Shenandoah and a contest committee member. "Schoenberg's winning entry invokes emotion, thought and that vivid sense of the visceral that sends shivers down the spine. She also gives us a glimpse into history and the powerful language of the Victorian era."
The Graybeal-Gowen Prize is donated by Priscilla Gowen-Graybeal and her husband, James, and dedicated to Gowen-Graybeal's father, Howerton Gowen (W&L Class of 1930), a lifelong lover of poetry.
The submission window for next year's prize will be Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, 2014. There is no entry fee; potential contestants should visit shenandoahliterary.org for guidelines.