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Robert Frost Farm
Web site funded by:
Center for New England Culture

Frost Farm Prize -
Former Winning Poems

2016

James Najarian Wins 6th Annual Frost Farm Prize
Winner reads at Frost Farm June 17

James Najarian

May 16, 2016, DERRY, NH -- The Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, and the Hyla Brook Poets today announced that the winner of the 6th Annual Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry is James Najarian of Auburndale, Mass., for his blank verse poem, "The Dark Ages."

The prize was judged by David J. Rothman, Director of Western State Colorado University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. Najarian receives $1,000, and publication in The Evansville Review. He will also be a featured reader at The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, on Friday, June 17, 2016, 7:00pm. The reading kicks off the second annual Frost Farm Poetry Conference (June 17-19, 2016).

Commenting about this year’s winning poem, Rothman said, "'The Dark Ages' participates in what has become, over the last several decades, a recognizable sub-genre of the elegy, even if it is an elegy of death-in-life: the Alzheimer's poem. This poem differs from all others on this theme I have ever read, however, in its successful use of an extended metaphor, in which the poet implicitly compares the mother's loss of memory to the aftermath of the Roman departure from Britain. The poem's six stanzas of blank verse, each nine lines long, alternate starkly between painfully clear-eyed description of the mother's decline, and comparably evocative reimagining of the advent of ‘the dark ages,’ with the loss of wine and oil, the abandonment of towns, the vanishing of nails and so on. The result of such a strategy might have seemed predictable, but with an unsentimental eloquence and restraint that only make the unstated pain and loss that much more powerful, the poet never rhetorically asserts the connection between the alternating sections, but simply lets them stand and resonate with each other until the personal and the historical merge in ways that illuminate both. This is compelling, masterful work, not only technically adroit but also thematically fierce and focused, and emotionally profound: an intense yet also measured depiction of destruction and grief."

Rothman added, "With more than 600 entries, this year's submissions to the Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry presented a tremendous range of subjects, themes, tones, styles and techniques. After spending many hours with them, my overwhelming impression is that hundreds upon hundreds of poets continue to care about craft.”

Najarian grew up on a goat farm near Kempton, Pennsylvania. He teaches nineteenth-century poetry and prose at Boston College, where he directs the PhD program in English and edits the scholarly journal Religion and the Arts. His poetry has been published in West BranchChristianity and LiteratureTar River PoetrySouthern Poetry ReviewThe Literary Imagination, and other journals. He also published a scholarly monograph, Victorian Keats, with Palgrave Macmillan. His manuscript of poems, An Introduction to the Devout Life, has made finalist several times at volume contests, and is seeking a publisher.

The judge read all 646 anonymous entries and, in addition to selecting the winner, chose six poems for special recognition as Finalists and Honorable Mentions:

Finalists:

Honorable Mentions:


2015

Kevin Durkin Wins 5th Annual Frost Farm Prize
Winner reads at Frost Farm June 12

Kevin Durkin image

May 21, 2015, DERRY, NH -- The Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, and the Hyla Brook Poets today announced that the winner of the 5th Annual Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry is Kevin Durkin of Santa Monica, Calif., for his poem, "Meteor Crater."

The prize was judged by prize-winning poet Josh Mehigan. Durkin receives $1,000, publication in The Evansville Review and will be a featured reader at The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, on Friday, June 12, 2015, 7:00pm. The awarding of the Frost Farm Prize will kick off the first annual Poetry at the Frost Farm: Writing in Meter and Form Conference (June 12-14, 2015).

Commenting about this year’s winning poem, Mehigan said, “’Meteor Crater’ is unmistakably about the stark beauty and sublime power of the natural world. Its author skillfully plays stress and syntax against meter and line to create an appropriate naturalism. Because it’s a monologue, its language must also be credible as speech, and as the speech of a particular, stoically fatalistic person. The genre calls for a degree of realism unusual now in poetry, and the poem furnishes it. It is my pleasure to award the 2015 Frost Farm Prize to Kevin Durkin for ‘Meteor Crater.’

Kevin Durkin’s poems have appeared in Poetry, New Criterion, Yale Review, and the anthologies Poetry Daily, Able Muse Anthology, Irresistible Sonnets, and Measure for Measure. Finishing Line Press published his first collection of poetry, Los Angeles in Fog, in 2013. Currently the managing editor at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, he resides with his wife and two daughters in Santa Monica.

Durkin said this about winning the Frost Farm Prize: “Robert Frost has long been my favorite poet, and since so many of his best poems were written on his Derry farm, winning the Frost Farm Prize is especially meaningful to me. I am honored to be associated with a poet whose work has so often inspired my own."

The judge read all 476 anonymous entries and, in addition to selecting the winner, chose five poems for special recognition as 1st Runner-up and Honorable Mentions:

First Runner-up:

Honorable Mentions:


2014

Rob Wright Wins 4th Annual Frost Farm Prize
Winner reads at Frost Farm June 12

Rob WrightMay 27, 2014, DERRY, NH -- The Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, and the Hyla Brook Poets today announced that the winner of the Fourth Annual Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry is Rob Wright of Philadelphia, Penn., for his poem, "Meetings With My Father."

The prize was judged by prize-winning poet and translator Rhina Espaillat. Wright receives $1,000 and will be the featured reader at The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, on Thursday, June 12, 2014, 6:30pm. His winning poem will be published in The Evansville Review.

Commenting about this year's winning poem, Espaillat said, "'Meetings With My Father' moved me from beginning to end. The speaker [of the poem] tells the story of a painful relationship with all the skill of a novelist and the musicality of a poet. Repeated readings continue to highlight the rightness of each detail, and the unobtrusive skill of the verse is a delight. My congratulations to a poet whose work I am looking forward to reading again."

Wright is an assistant fiction editor to the magazine Able Muse. He was awarded Fellowships in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 2005 and 2007, and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His writing has been published by Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Big City Lit, and Able Muse.

Wright said this about winning the Frost Farm prize: "I'm honored that my poem, 'Meetings With My Father' was chosen for the Frost Farm Prize. Robert Frost casts a long shadow over my writing and always has. The first poet I read for pleasure was Frost. My high school English teacher, Mrs. Antrim, had our class not only read, but analyze poems for scansion, rhyme and form. I chose Frost's 'Acquainted with the Night' because of its stark image of the 'One luminary clock against the sky,' and because I liked to walk at night. After I turned in the paper, Mrs. Antrim lent me a copy of Frost's Poems. I read it cover to cover — the first time I had done that, not only with a book of poetry, but of any kind. I still treasure Frost's words and his mastery of image, form, and, of course, meter. There is no other poet like him."

The judge read all 580 anonymous entries and, in addition to selecting the winner, chose five poems for special recognition as honorable mentions:

2013

Caki Wilkinson Wins Third Annual Frost Farm Prize
Winner reads at Frost Farm June 13

Caki Wilkinson imageMay 31, 2013, DERRY, NH -- The Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, and the Hyla Brook Poets today announced the winner of the Third Annual Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry is Caki Wilkinson of Sewanee, Tennessee, for her poem, "Arts and Crafts."

The prize was judged by prize-winning poet and translator Catherine Tufariello. Wilkinson receives $1,000 and will be the featured reader at The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, on June 13, 2013. Her winning poem will be published in The Evansville Review.

Commenting about this year's winning poem, Tufariello said, "'Arts and Crafts' stood out for me on a first read because of its verve and virtuosity. Far from being daunted by the fiendish constraints of rhymed dimeter, Caki Wilkinson seems to relish them. In a few deft strokes, Wilkinson creates a lively and opinionated character who disparages modern art as 'poppycock' for privileging concepts over things. This craft artist prefers the "material" craft of origami to "ethereal" abstractions. But Wilkinson hints that the relationship between arts and crafts is not so simple. In the final stanza, the crafter of paper birds "makes the air"--and what could be more ethereal than air? 'Arts and Crafts' stayed with me, and finally floated to the top, because of the way its tightly folded stanzas unfold with rereading."

Wilkinson is the author of the poetry collection Circles Where the Head Should Be, which won the 2010 Vassar Miller Prize. Her second collection, The Stone Museum, won the Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor's Choice Award from Persea Books and is forthcoming in 2014. She's an assistant professor of English at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

"The Frost Farm Prize is one of the few contests that celebrates poets working in form, and I feel very glad and lucky to be among its list of winners," Wilkinson said. "I can't wait to visit the Frost Farm later this summer!"

Tufariello read all the anonymous entries – more than 500 -- and, in addition to selecting the winner, chose three poems for special recognition as honorable mentions:

 

About the Frost Farm’s Hyla Brook Poets

The Frost Farm was home to the poet and his family from 1900-1911.  Robert Crawford and Bill Gleed started The Hyla Brook Poets group in 2008.   In addition to a monthly workshop, the group organizes the monthly Hyla Brook Reading Series held from May through September in Frost’s barn.  The Series features emerging poets as well as luminaries such as Maxine Kumin, David Ferry, Wesley McNair, and Rhina Espaillat.

To hear about next year’s contest or for more information on the Hyla Brook Reading Series, join the Hyla Brook Poets Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HylaBrookPoets