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• 2015 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry •

Winners & Finalists 2015

Winners & Finalists for 2015 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

First Place: “mob of one” by Normal
Second Place: “Reign” by Jared A. Carnie
Third Place: “Sewing” by Noel King
Fourth Place: “Cause Célèbre” by Andrei Guruianu
Fifth Place: “After Abandon” by Michael Cooper
Sixth Place: “The Bends” by J. Bradley
Seventh Place: “Interview with a Rapid Snowfall” by Maison Demuth Olson
Eighth Place: “October” by Jared A. Carnie
Ninth Place: “My Afternoons with Dylan Thomas” by Lyn Lifshin
Tenth Place: “Madame Laveau, Fortune Teller and Police Psychic, Falls off the Wagon with a Resounding Thud” by Jason Ryberg
Eleventh Place: “color & contour” by Maison Demuth Olson
Twelfth Place: “Interstices” by Kelly Jean Egan

2015 Luminaire Award Poetry Judges

Gabriel Barrio graduated New Mexico State University in literature in 2015. He has been published in Tlaa Literary Journal and has worked for NMSU’s student-run newspaper, The Roundup, as well as been a contributing writer to NMSU’s alternative press publication, The Groundup. He is a member of the university poetry collective, Soul Verse, and he organizes a monthly poetry event in Las Cruces that supports regional literary arts in the Southwestern United States. Gabriel writes for EDM Nations, Macro Records Music Label, Fightweek, The Truant, and Desert Heat, and is an avid reader and a connoisseur of all things literary.

Lori Hettler founded The Next Best Book Club (TNBBC) in 2007. An advocate for the small press and self publishing communities, she has been featured in both The LA Times and The NY Times. Portions of her reviews have been quoted for a number of books (most notably in the press release for Graywolf Press’ I Curse the River of Time, Red Hen Press’ Spring 2013 catalog for David Maine’s An Age of Madness, and in Heather Fowler’s Elegantly Naked in my Sexy Mental Illness). Formerly the Marketing Director for Chicago Center of Literature and Photography (CCLaP), Lori now takes on freelance work under TNBBC Publicity. When she’s not curled up on the couch with a good book, you can find her on Twitter, TNBBC’s Blog, Goodreads, and Facebook talking about it.

Steph Post is the author of the novels Lightwood and A Tree Born Crooked. She is a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell Scholarship for Creative Writing from Davidson College and the Vereen Bell Writing Award. Her fiction has appeared in the anthology Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics and many other literary outlets. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for The Big Moose Prize. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Denis Sheehan lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and has been the editor/publisher of Askew Reviews zine for about 15 years … and counting. His writing has appeared in Chiron Review, Gonzo Parenting, Gloom Cupboard, Astoria, Jersey Beat, In Between Altered States, AVN Magazine, and others, aside from his mother’s fridge. He is the author of A Nobody’s Nothings, The Longsberry Letters, and Track Wreckard 1-14, with more books on the way. Find him at boneprint.com.

Melanie Wozniak is Co-Creator of and a blogger for the animated analysis blog, Animated Meta, and serves as a literary intern for Louise Fury of The Bent Agency.

2015 First Place Winner: “mob of one” by Normal

mob of one

they don’t express these things
the rye the whiskey the screaming
in the hall—the piss in front
of the door—the backhand
slapping like an angry
spanish dance
across the cheek
of a child.

every girl
holds at least
one secret
out in her palm
far from the crowd
in her own private world
in her own mob of one.

every girl
knows the land of the turtle
the language of the sickly
the chambers of the swan.
every girl
rallies a flower
discovers a feather
champions a stone
she protects from the world.

there is no word left
to express the sound
of a siren shattering the moon—
no lighthouse bright enough
to guide your tiny vessel
out of the harbor of tears &
into the sea of an
unforgiving sorrow. maybe
there is no one left to blame.

there is no expression left
no words left
to the song you have not
written yet
that carries on its wings
a hope
that sings
your name.

With presently 550–600 pieces published between 1992 and 2015 (without the Internet), Normal remains “one of the last American primitives” [self-described] in the underground press. His most recent book, I See Hunger’s Children: Selected Poems 1962–2012, was published by Lummox Press in 2012.

2015 Second Place Winner: “Reign” by Jared A. Carnie


I picked up a stick
And spiked the sky
Where the sparrows peered in.

I built my fortress.
I tested my troops.
I crushed my enemies. I worked tirelessly.
I was glorious.

Then mum called ‘dinner’
From the back door
And the night destroyed my empire.

Jared A. Carnie recently left the Outer Hebrides. He can be found at jaredacarnie.com.

2015 Third Place Winner: “Sewing” by Noel King


I have a need to cover a great oak tree with one
big white sheet, dream of threading together
a house-full pulled from under a family
who stare at me, consider me mad; brutal even.

At eight, I fell from its branches, don’t know what
happened then, just remember being bedridden.
At ten, I crouched in lightning, not knowing a tree
was the last place to shelter.

An oak swish in winter soothed me at earlier times
of life. Now its tongues tease me, coming as it has before
baby, child, teenager, husband, widower. Naked
in a nightmare, I am barely balanced on my garden wall,

wave my arms to keep balance and the sheet in my hands
from flapping, despair on how to get my sheet over the tree.
I no longer object to house plans for its field, won’t mind
the sound of a chainsaw; will a dream to sit on

its wide stump as branches lay dying in the grass, and I
won’t count the circles, knowing it has lived long enough.

Noel King was born in and lives in Tralee, Ireland. His poems, haiku, short stories, reviews, and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in thirty-seven countries. His poetry collections are published by Salmon Poetry: Prophesying the Past (2010), The Stern Wave (2013), and Sons. He has edited more than fifty books of work by others. Anthology publications include The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry (A.R.A.W., India, 2014).

Luminaire Award Medallion Designers

Special thanks and acknowledgment to Devin Byrnes and SuA Kang of Hardly Square, for their creativity in designing our annual medallion imprint. Hardly Square is a strategy-, branding-, and design-based boutique located in Baltimore, Maryland, that specializes in graphic design, web design, and eLearning courses. Their invaluable design expertise has made our annual awards come to life. Learn more about our medallion designers.

Transparency for 2015 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

Judging spreadsheets and final reports will be updated here shortly.