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Laura Jan Shore

Laura Jan Shore is an expat currently living in NSW, Australia. Her poetry collections include Breathworks (Dangerously Poetic Press, 2002), Water over Stone (Interactive Press, 2011), Afterglow (Interactive Press, 2020). Published in anthologies and literary journals on four continents, she received her MFA in Poetry from Pacific University in 2019.

Laura's web site https://laurajanshore.com/

2023 Louis Award Winner

All the submissions were very strong, making for a very difficult decision. Ultimately, judge Lana Hechtman Ayers chose as winner The Generosity of Birds by Laura Jan Shore.

Lana says: The poems of The Generosity of Birds are vivid, honest, vulnerable, brazen, and fully-experienced.

 

Poem from The Generosity of Birds

Home is heaven having a bath

Black cockatoos trembled the forest with their cries
this morning just before the storm. Now rain
pummels my iron roof, lashes the windows
and I glory in full water tanks
and the first hot bath of wet season.
As my toes hover over steamy water,
I always hear your childhood squeals of delight,
splash of your tugboat, your spontaneous song:
Home is heaven having a bath.
Bending my knees, I sink
into the soup of myself. Suds lap my chin.
The dulcet tones of cello on the radio, mellow
and deep, like your voice is now.
I’m remembering my young mother body,
bony with worry and you, too slippery
for my grasp.

My long-lost journals finally arrived,
five decades of scrawl only I can read.
I soak in how I’ve changed, how
I’ve stayed the same, naked
amid the lulling waves of my own voice
on the page. And I want to say forgive me,
my pounding doubts. It seems my terror
of losing you began long before you were born—
with blood-soaked sheets as the baby before you
seeped away. This is the stain that blinds me
to your perfect wholeness. Sometimes, my love is an ocean
that wants to swallow you back. Now I see the gulf
we’ve built between us protects you
from my sweeping tides.
                
Common Uproar

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Runners-Up

Jeffrey Bernstein
Carey Taylor
The Ancient Ways
Some Aid to Navigation
 

Finalists

Jay Brecker
Thomas Cox
Linda Scheller
Henry Hughes
Mary Paulson
Joshua Coben
blue collar ecologue
The Book of Faces
Laurels
Sergeant Dark
Telling
The World Above You
 

Honorable Mentions

Sheila Dietz
C.W. Emerson
David Blumenfeld
Sarah Snyder
Susanna Lang
Robert Manaster
Vincent Peloso
Tim Mayo
Margot Wizansky
Margaret Koger
Sandra Fees
The Berry and the Bee
Danger Face
The End of the Season
Eve Speaks
Honey Tasting of Stars
The Last Jew
The Listeners
Little Elegies Inside Out
Random Music in a Small Galaxy
Surviving Aphrodite
Wonderwork