The Luminaire Award  is awarded annually to one work of poetry and one work of prose that has been submitted to and published by Alternating Current. Every piece of writing submitted to our press is considered for the award. Prior to the 2013 award, only poetry was considered, the judging panel consisted of only Alternating Current editors, and no honorariums were given.

All winning pieces are published in our annual literary journal, Poiesis, and online at our website. The winners also receive complimentary copies of the journal with their winning pieces indicated with our medallion imprint, the use of the medallion imprint on their own websites and book collections, a $100 honorarium, a certificate, and a laser-engraved standing desk award. All winning pieces are now chosen by a select panel of editors, publishers, writing instructors, literary organization members, and/or published authors invited by our press to participate. The 2011 winners were featured in Poiesis #4. Two Honorable Mention winners are also awarded publication and a certificate.

• Tim Scannell | “Quality Time” •

I use time with obsessive
Care only once during the day:
Getting butter to every corner,
Every goddamned edge of
The toast.

• Gary Every | “Amphitheater” •

I am stalking wild turkeys
trying to capture the perfect photograph,
a big tom
with bronze feathers and bright red comb
but the silly pudgy bird proves elusive.
I turn deeper into the forest
traveling further and further
between the trees,
giant trees towering high above my head.
Gobbling calls haunt me as I walk,
turkeys roosting in the treetops,
hidden in the shadows,
until I stumble upon
an old abandoned cabin
and just beyond that

a long-forgotten amphitheater.
the trees have been sacrificed,
sawed and planed to make boards
then nailed into benches
arranged in rows like church pews.
The little stage is made of stone
old geological bones
covered with moss and lichen,
a few rocks tumbled out of place.

How strange to stumble upon this location
while I am lost in the woods.
I consider myself a storyteller,
and stand on the stage,
words falling from my tongue
like newborn rain.
Gradually ghosts fill the pews,
a thousand faceless warriors
whispering dialogue of yesteryore
echoes of my hero’s tale,
while ahead and behind me the river
continuously flows.

• Bob Sharkey | “Understanding Anita” •

If a hurricane, Ophelia.
Sensing someone behind
watching her hips swivel
beneath the long dress.
A half-turn of the head,
dark, plain firm profile,
the steady look that says,
“you’ll do what I want.”

If a city, New Orleans.
Not a cold virtuous doer
of occasional good deeds.
Loved for being free
of guile and greed.
Innocent despite the fog
of alcohol and smoke.
A salty tear of the sea.

If anything, the tide.
Water catching dull green
from a cannery wall,
tossing it into a brightness.
She stands in unraked sand
looking out at the foam
tinged with red, blood
of the coming storm.