The Jersey City Independent and Jersey City Writers joined forces to locate and laud Jersey City’s top poets in celebration of National Poetry Month. Submissions were judged by Beth Achenbach (JCI), Jen DeGregorio (guest judge), and Sarah T. Jewell (JCW). This joint call-for-work culminated with a special appearance and reading by Claudia Cortese at the Barrow Street Mansion. Thirty two poems were submitted to our poetry contest and of those the top 12 poems chosen (listed below) were read aloud by an actor or local resident at the Jersey Plums Poetry genre night event in April. The top three winners were also announced.
Anoche by Adriana Rambay Fernandez
Baby Z by Aileen Bassis
Trigger by Joe Del
Elegy: To the Tree on Dickinson Hill Holly Smith
A Scene Amidst the Mist by Beth Bentley
Notes from the Occupation by Kevin Singer
The Giving Girl by Rachel Poy
Our Crafts by Abigail Pillitteri
Silver… by John T. Trigonis
I do not own my body… by Simon Pereira Shorey
Eye Beam by Kay Dominguez
One Night From College by Carol Lester
2016 Poetry Contest Winners: Adriana Rambay Fernandez, Aileen Bassis, and Joe Del Priore. Photo Beth Achenbach
Joe Del Priore claimed third place with “Trigger,” a poem written several years ago after making an investment and realizing how globalization affects both the market and the individual. “I felt vulnerable and helpless, and tried employing humor as a response,” says Del Priore of the poem.
Aileen Bassis placed second with “Baby Z,” which was inspired by her grandson, Zachary. On grandparenthood, Bassis contemplates that “being a grandparent is totally different than being a parent. It’s enormously pleasurable, whereas being a mother to young children was often exhausting and filled with what seemed like endless needs. There’s also telescoping – I see my children as adults and as the babies they once were, and I see the grandkids and know this is so brief. I envision their futures too.”
Adriana Rambay Fernandez, author of “Anoche” was this year’s winner. “Anoche was written after a loved one lost their partner suddenly and tragically shortly after the New Year’s holiday. The poem reflects a wish, a prayer, and the desire for freedom from living with the memories and pain of that loss time and time again.”
This week JCI will be publishing the winning poems by Adriana Rambay Fernandez, Aileen Bassis and Joe Del Priore. We thank everyone who submitted to, participated in and helped organize this year’s contest!
About the Poetry Contest Organizers
Jersey City Independent is Jersey City’s alternative source for community news, arts, culture and life. We hope you enjoy reading the original content we publish digitally and in print. To support JCI‘s work and to receive discounts from local participating partners consider becoming a Sustaining Member.
Jersey City Writers is a community of dedicated scribes who seek to develop and explore their craft by interacting with other writers. They inspire and support each other in a fun and open social setting. More info on Jersey City Writers and their ongoing programs can be found on jerseycitywriters.org.
Jersey Plums runs a poetry workshop held by Jersey City Writers every Saturday at 11 am at Gia Gelato, 281 Newark Avenue. To get involved, or if you have questions about the workshop, contact Sarah Jewell at stjewell(at)gmail.com.
Photos Beth Achenbach. Top photo: 2016 Poetry Contest Winners and Readers