• 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry •

Winners & Finalists 2016

Winners & Finalists for 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

First Place: “Baldwin Apples” by Sarah Ann Winn
Second Place: “Coralee Robbins Mafficks the Fall of Art” by Amy Wright
Third Place: “vii. (the leviathan)” by Mary Buchinger
Fourth Place: “we move as dust” by Michael Bernicchi
Fifth Place: “the thing is, you see” by Normal
Sixth Place: “PSU Harrisburg” by Chris Middleman
Seventh Place: “Herding Autumn” by Kaye Spivey
Eighth Place: “Foot Sonnet” by Brendan Walsh
Ninth Place: “Nobody plays in firehydrant fountains but Tegs Turpin” by Amy Wright
Tenth Place: “Mumbai, 11th March, 15.30” by Rinzu Rajan
Eleventh Place: “Hometown Hero” by Aaron Graham
Twelfth Place: “I Consider Whether Shipping Your Memory Home Would Be Too Costly” by Sarah Ann Winn

2016 Luminaire Award Poetry Judges

A. Jay Adler, a New Yorker always, is Professor of English, Emeritus at LA SW College. He earned his BA, with concentrations in English lit, philosophy, and film at City University of NY, and his MA and MPhil degrees in English literature from Columbia University. Travel—by air, sea, locomotive, cable, four wheels, two wheels (motorized and muscle-driven), and by foot—remains a passion. The former poetry editor for the now-defunct West magazine, Adler writes in various genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and has written for the theater and won awards for screenwriting. Academic specializations include: British and American Modernism, the novel, James Joyce studies, rhetoric and composition, argumentation, and critical thinking. Adler’s blog, the sad red earth, is one venue for his political and cultural commentary, where he pays special attention to the analysis of arguments. A 1989 interviewee for a junior fellowship in the Harvard Society of Fellows, Adler was awarded a 2002 residency grant in poetry from the Vermont Studio Center. Among several screenplays, What We Were Thinking Of has won several awards, including second prize at the 1998 Maui Writers Conference Screenwriting Competition. During his 2008-09 sabbatical year, Adler traveled the country by motor home, documenting Native American life. Adler’s article, “Aboriginal Sin,” was included in the anthology, Global Viewpoints: Indigenous Peoples, from Greenhaven Press.


Aubrie Cox went to university to write a novel and came out writing haiku. She graduated from Millikin University with a B.A. in English Literature and Writing in 2011, and recently completed her M.A. in English Creative Writing at Ball State University. She’s taught first year composition, and edited for a student-run press and a couple magazines. Currently, she serves as the haiga editor for the online haikai journal, A Hundred Gourds, and edits a section in Ripples, Haiku Society of America’s newsletter. She’s also an adjunct professor at Millikin University. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals such as Modern Haiku, bottle rockets, Acorn, Eucalypt, and Mayfly. She has been a featured haiga artist on HaigaOnline, and has had work in the Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku and Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka annual anthologies. Her first chapbook collection, tea’s aftertaste, was published by Bronze Man Books in 2011. Awards include: Haiku Society of America’s Museum of Haiku Literature Award for the best published haiku in Frogpond 35.1, The Distinctive Scribblings Award for her tanka in Eucalypt issue 12, and a Touchstone Award from The Haiku Foundation for individual poem published in 2012. Most recently, she was included in A New Resonance 8: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku (Red Moon Press, 2013). Find her at her website.


Keri Kellerman lives and writes in Minneapolis. Recent work has appeared in Wyvern Lit, Lockjaw Magazine, and Right Hand Pointing. She has also served as guest blog editor for Alternating Current and is a member of the advisory board for the Twin Cities-based literary organization Revolver. She joined the Playwrights’ Center as managing director in 2013. She tweets at @kerikellerman.

2016 First Place Winner: “Baldwin Apples” by Sarah Ann Winn

Baldwin Apples

In October, their vinegar
drew bees or decay’s sweetening
drew bees. We brought bushel baskets
and sorted. Some for the compost,
the gently bruised for pies. The best,
those half-gone with pocked, perfect skin
still a little green, for canning
and apple butter. The Baldwins
lured me to the kitchen counter.
The turn-and-scraping colander
mill when the cooked apples were poured in—
the splashed juice hot and delicious.
Space made by adding cooked apples
carefully. She tipped the ancient
Dutch oven, and my idea
of plenty poured down. I didn’t
dare move or some would go to waste.
Save some for later, she said. Now
we restock the canned-goods cupboard.
No beauty goes to waste here. Fill
the shelf. Put up for lean winter
the sweet of slowly gathering
afternoon, that long fragrant bake,
the whole house cooked up, and browned with
cinnamon. In winter, the sound
of that seal breaking snaps me back
to sorting apples in the sun.
Their scent rolled from Atalanta’s
fingers, the breath of Eve before she bit.




Sarah Ann Winn’s poems have appeared or are upcoming in Cider Press Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Massachusetts Review, Passages North, and Quarterly West, among others. Look for her micro chapbook, Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, from Porkbelly Press in May 2016. Her first chapbook, Portage, is available as a free e-chap from Sundress Publications. She holds a Masters in Fine Arts from George Mason University, as well as a Masters in Library Science from Catholic University of America, and is currently a free-range librarian in Manassas, Virginia, where she lives with her husband, two sweet beagle/lab mix dogs, and one bad cat. Visit her at her website or follow her at @blueaisling on Twitter.

2016 Second Place Winner: “Coralee Robbins Mafficks the Fall of Art” by Amy Wright

Coralee Robbins Mafficks the Fall of Art

Coralee dusts roadsides with lupines, coos bless yous
from clawfoot bathtubs, heron-blue handkerchief
raising passing fishermen.

                                 She drawls, bottom lip a curl
                                             of baler twine,
          rear-ends a Civic at the Jefferson yield sign,

weeps, circles
lakes and pulpits, strings butterfly lights
from camper awnings, howls

over slick-glazed, sweet-sauced carcasses,
dabs her fingertips with Wetnaps,
communing foremost with the holy
mackerels of deliciousness.




Amy Wright is the author of two poetry collections and five chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, DIAGRAM, Tupelo Quarterly, and Brevity. Find her online at awrightawright.com.

2016 Third Place Winner: “vii. (the leviathan)” by Mary Buchinger

vii. (the leviathan)

She studies the leviathan

                learns every
                               everlasting detail
     each mole and dimple, curve of tooth

by heart—

               his physiognomy
                               so much more
               familiar
to her
             than to himself.


         How he shifts in the company of others

    the ripple
                      of self-consciousness
            the tics
                   she cannot but love

only because she alone
                      has paid attention

         and this makes him hers.

This knowledge, heart’s sustenance,
             harvested
                                 like pomegranates
                                     —that honeycombed
                                                 and jeweled fruit
                                     of banishment,
                                             fertility, promise—

           knowledge unwrapped and crushed, juices
                  staining her fingers, wrists, arms.


This, the myth she was handed.

        Devouring, bit by bit, what one has grown to love—

                                     this, love’s requirement.




Mary Buchinger is the author of two collections of poetry, Aerialist and Roomful of Sparrows. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Salamander, Slice Magazine, The Cortland Review, The Massachusetts Review, as well as in journals in Canada, England, Ireland, France, The Netherlands, and elsewhere. She was invited to read at the Library of Congress and in The Netherlands, and received the Daniel Varoujan and Firman Houghton Awards, multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations, a Norton Island Residency, and the Charter Oak Award for Best Historical. Originally from Michigan, where she grew up on a small family farm, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and earned a doctorate in applied linguistics from Boston University. Currently, Mary is Co-President of the New England Poetry Club and Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts; she lives in Cambridge with her husband, two sons, dog and two cats. You can find her at her website.

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 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

Judging spreadsheets and final reports will be updated here shortly.