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Odes of October Contest 2023 Winners Announced

Ohio Poetry Association is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Odes of October contest, as judged by esteemed poet, Paula J. Lambert.

First prize goes to Nancy McDermott of Chardon, Ohio, for her poem “The Quilt Show.” First prize includes an award of $65 and inclusion in the 2024 Common Threads, as well being published below.

Second prize goes to Timothy J. Richards of Olmstead Twp., Ohio, for his poem “Warlock’s Culinary Concoction.” This prize includes an award of $25 and appears below.

Third prize goes to Daniel Moreschi of Neath, Vale of Glamorgan, in the U.K. for his poem “A Fitful Veil.” This prize includes an award of $10 and ppears below.

The judge also chose two Honorable Mentions:

  • “Caulk,” by Anthony Wyatt, Dayton, Ohio
  • “October Friendship,” by David Lee Garrison, Dayton, Ohio

 A total 54 poems were submitted for this contest. We are deeply indebted to judge Paula J. Lambert, ( author of “The Ghost of Every Feathered Thing,” “How to See the World,” and other books and chapbooks, for her diligence and care in selecting the winners. 

First Prize: Nancy McDermott

The Quilt Show

Sweet old-man smile
mellowed away from macho,
the kindest of pink in his cheeks.
No one holds his hand.
He circles the gallery.
Shuffle, pause, shuffle, pause.
Never one to care for quilts himself,
he cared deeply for her caring.
Now he bends to sign the guest book,
slowly writing his name. Only his.
A small wound opens briefly.
He closes it and steps away.


Second Prize: Timothy J. Richards

Warlock’s Culinary Concoction

            — an alliterated lunch

Sybil the witch said she seasoned the goo
with a spicy, savory salt
but when Walter the warlock sampled the stew
his taste buds came under assault.
I used my mother’s old recipe, she said.
I added the mildewed muskrat meat
in a rank-smelling rue of porcupine poop,
then simmered it over a very low heat
together with hay from a foul chicken coop.
Then I dumped in a dish of dreadful duck doo,
combined with a cup of caraway seed,
mixed in a mash of cayenne pepper,
and blended it all with ditch witchweed.
Don’t worry, my weary old warlock, she said.
I’ll switch the sauce to something less sweet,
something similar to dead bird cake,
when I stir in some aging rotten old leeks
and add several strips of sliced-up snakes.
Then the culinary queen of the kitchen
constantly cackled as she stirred the new brew
for her wart-headed warlock who patiently waited
to taste the concoction of Halloween stew. 

Third Prize: Daniel Moreschi

A Fitful Veil

A wanton wave of pallid hails descends
from ashen skies. Its drifts are carried through
to countless nooks and peaks by lofty breaths;
abundant, bunched-up, powdered sheets imbue
terrains in bright-white hues, while structured flakes
display arrays of lustrous reveries.
This frigid reign persists; a frozen lake
reflects an incandescent glare to tease
a place where sheens and gleams can shine as one.
But blankets bearing flame-lit crystals spell
their end; their flimsy layers come undone,
leaving gloomy voids in place of swells.
A realm left bare, but rich in rays of gold,
is lesser for the loss of winter’s hold.


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