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2018 Winner: Sarah Carey, Accommodations

Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

We are proud to announce that the Winner of the 2018 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition has been selected by our final judge, Amy MacLennan.

This year's winner is Sarah Carey of Gainesville, FL for her manuscript Accommodations.

Amy comments: "This collection starts off with an ache that pulls a reader in uncontrollably with sorrow and beauty. It is a tremendous manuscript that begs to be read over and over. Organic in the purest sense. Anyone encountering these poems will be stunned."

Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. Her work has appeared recently in Superstition Review, Glass Poetry Journal, The Potomac Review, Valparaiso Review, Barrow Street, Rise Up Review, SWWIM Every Day and elsewhere. She is the author of one poetry chapbook, The Heart Contracts (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and was the recipient of an International Merit Award in the Atlanta Review's 2018 International Poetry Prize competition.

Visit Sarah at or on Twitter @SayCarey1.

“The consciousness that reigns in these poems is hurricane-proof, bullet-proof, heartache-proof. And, lucky for us, this is the consciousness of our tour guide throughout this often heart-breaking volume. Again and again, with a grace and acceptance that reminds us of the strength of human beings, these poems examine the often-blurred line between what will happen in our lives—and what we can make happen. Carey’s poetic breath becomes the reader’s life-breath—a parity that only the best of poems can offer.”

—M.B. McLatchey, author of The Lame God

Excerpt from Accommodations

We Gather in Florida to Celebrate My Father’s Life

Outside our hallway, cross-hatched
feathers, a flutter away from the hotel window,
perched hunter of the forest understory,

a red-shouldered hawk’s eyes
meet our own, a window into which

we can’t quite see, yet make our way—
third floor to first—open to story
after story, while outside a single magnolia,

gold-leafed in sun, backlights the first bloom,
as spring rain greens the asphalt oasis.

We greet our blood, catch up, cousins
lament cousins outlived, out of touch,
who moved, who stayed, despite the odors

of smoke or strangers—reconstruct
commitments made, unmade, pursued,

as time realigned our views.
I give up my ghosts, and everything I know
of human nature, which is nothing.

My father is salt and mineral, crushed bone.
We arrange to arrange to arrange.

Did you know, I told the gathered group,
flowers from each state he lived in flank the pulpit,
bloom today in all of them, in all of you:
dogwood, peony, forget-me-not.



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2018 Runners-Up
1st runner-up: Mary Kay Rummel
2nd runner-up: Anna Weaver
3rd runner-up: Carol R. Sunde
Finding Her
the subject of my goodness
In a Far Country of Mind
2018 Finalists
Glenn Freeman
Don Judson
Katharyn Howd Machan
Kathleen McClung
Peggy Miller
Pattie Palmer-Baker
Tina Schumann
LeRoy n. Sorenson
Nadia Wolinsty
Connie Zumpf
dear mother/dear father
Brush Strokes
Temporary Kin
In the Light of Another Sun
The Color of Goodbye
A Skin of Light
2018 Semi-Finalists
Laurel Blossom
John Davis
Richard Downing
Linda Duede Starbuck
Mary Ellen Talley
Bill Garvey
Roger Hecht
Judith Hemschemeyer
Richard Holinger
Rick Kempa
Margaret Koger
Linera Lucas
Robert Manaster
Scott Mitchell
Diana Morley
Annmarie O’Connell
Ethan Pennington
Clela Reed
Marzelle Robertson
Cathy Ross
Claire Scott
Heidi Seaborn
Teresa Sutton
Catherine Wald
Sharon Whitehill
Ellen Young
Sally Zakariya
Honorable Mention
Solomon Au Yeung
Sarah W. Bartlett
Leslie Berlot
Kay Bosgraaf
Lori Cole
Denise David
Katherine A. Dering
Simon Peter Eggersten
Frederick Falls
David Fitch
David Giannini
Lenora Good
Karin Hoffecker
Faith S. Holsaert
Julie Jacob
Sonja Johanson
Jolie Kaytes
Janet Kozachek
Edwin Krizek
Paul Lamar
Wayne Lee
Alicia Cahalane Lewis
Taylor Napolsky
Christa Pandey
Robert Perchan
Deborah Phelps
Charles Rammelkamp
Melissa Rendlen
Penelope Scambly Schott
Jacquelyn Shah
Allen Strous
Patti Sullivan
Diane Webster