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Welcome to Estate 806 in

Click the links below to read the winning poems for the Poetic Idol Contest ending August, 2006.

You'll also see photos of the top three winners, and read their biographical sketches.

Poetry Gardens of Fame Index

First Place
Second Place
Third Place
Honorable Mentions


Kevin Craig

Kevin Craig is a freelance writer and editor living in Ontario, Canada. His articles and fiction have been published internationally. He has also recorded memoir for CBC Radio Canada. His poems have been published in; Regina Weese, Heritage Writer, Anything Goes, Jones Av. Journal, Word Weaver and Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, to name a few. His article, 'Be Your Own Poetic Muse', was published in Issue #8 of Artella's PassionPoetry newsletter. Kevin took 2nd Place in the April, 2006 Poetic Idol Contest. His website is

The Wild White - A Journey

Come with me, this journey.
Eat the wild white.
I dream of cars and carry-on bags,
Europe in an afternoon.
Train station, smoky,
Lifted from a canvas
Of 1930s Parisian night.
Trees line the boulevards still,
And journey we must,
If living can be done in a day.
Café, night calls, brings us closer
To words being culled,
Placed gently with the love of a weaver
Into notebooks, corners curled.
And smoke, not because we do,
But elegant, the patterns lifting
From our upturned cigarettes,
As we bring the words to life.
Sip chardonnay,
We will, watching red points of light
Walking towards us,
Arm in arm of a night,
Lovers wandering the cobbled streets.
We will laugh with them
As they stumble past our table,
Us hunched over, writing manic,
Words in a notebook,
Words in a notebook.
And now the lovers,
Long since past, have melted
Into the casual words we write,
Locked keepsakes we will have
These notebooks
Where we ate the wild white,
Paris streets, traveled journey.
Manic poets on a binge of words,
Come with me.

As first place winner in the Poetic Idol Competition, Kevin won a prize package that includes a $150.00 cash prize; an e-Chapook of his poetry (up to 20 poems), attractively created and published for his personal or commercial use; public status as Artella's Poetic Idol in Residence; a feature interview in an issue of e-Artella; guaranteed publication in an e-Artella issue; free enrollment in his choice of Artella e-courses, the Artella eBook, "Behind the Veil", his choice of any e-Artella issue, and one month FREE Artella membership. Click here for contest details.

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Anne McGovern

Ann McGovern is a prize-winning author of 55 books for children, including Stone Soup. Her poems have been published in over 50 literary journals, including Rosebud, Fulcrum, Georgetown Review, and Confrontation.
She lives in New York City.
Becoming an Artist in Mallorca

I draw the hot breeze flicking the leaves,
draw my body with passion
like two cats fighting in a storm.
Draw with strips of red pepper and a fig,
draw upside down with a twig dipped in black ink.
I draw shapes of honey-colored rocks and artichoke flowers
as blue as old ice in Antarctica.
I draw women's kitchen voices and clang of pots.
I want to draw the taste of paella
and getting drunk on sangria with slices of apples and oranges.
I want to draw the yellow butterfly
zigzagging across the patio this moment.
I want to draw last night under the fat moon,
swimming naked, bats skimming the pool.
I want to draw how I was, alone.

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Lisa Tobe

Lisa Tobe, a spoken word artist originally from Kentucky, uses words to explore her life and her surroundings through poems, memoir, humor and theatrical sketches. As a VISTA volunteer in the Appalachian Mountains, Lisa worked with literacy students to use their own words and stories as a tool to learn how to read.

Lisa developed and directs Women’s Mountain Passages, a non-profit which works with women and girls to connect with their strengths so they may improve their lives and facilitate social change in their communities through leadership development, advocacy, youth programs and support networks. Through this non-profit, Lisa coordinates Truth Telling, a project that works with women through art, writing, theatre, oral history and photography to examine the impact of violence on their lives. These narratives, represented in A Cry for Hope, a stage production co-authored by Lisa, represent women’s stories of struggle, survival and healing, as well as explore how Plumas County responds to these issues. Lisa has performed at Words and Music in Chester and Quincy, the San Francisco Women Against Rape annual benefit production and Vagina Monologues.

Lisa also directs her own consulting business, Sierra Resources, where she works with communities to prevent violence. An outdoor enthusiast, Lisa has been backpacking for over 10 years, has hiked the 211 mile John Muir Trail, volunteers as a white water raft guide, and enjoys playing ultimate disc, biking, rock climbing and climbing peaks.

The Journey Home

Words, grit hard against her teeth, fall
between her lips as she begins
to tell me of a journey
that takes her
from Kentucky
to Kentucky.

She mentions dirt trails that turn
into roads and trails again as memories
emerge slowly like a Polaroid
slick dark colors
painted one on the other.

She talks of Maple seeds, crumpled
helicopter wings weighted on one side
spinning in a circle
as she chases them
across paved lots outside her Catholic school,
a small cluster of brick buildings
where she played outside, learned
inside, ate in the basement and prayed
at church. Hard, wooden pews pressed
through blue plaid school-girl skirts
as she sang loud off-key
in a pre-adolescent scream.

She tells of walking across uneven dirt
to the field's edge
where she balanced
on barbed wire
that had grown
into Sycamore trees, leaving
spots of rust like drops of blood
against the thin gray and white bark.
Denim legs shaking
in quick, jerky movements
she reached for the lower limbs,
before climbing those trees in slick soled
hand-me-down boots.
Sitting on a branch as big as her waist,
she'd pick the bark piece by piece
until she reached the white, smooth underneath.

She points to her chest,
wheat colored skin stained
by two blue dots stacked
one on top of the other
the remainder of an outline drawn
with black permanent marker
After treatment, she scrubbed her skin
until it and the marker peeled off in layers,
until she reached the white, smooth underneath.

Sweeping out her arms before sinking
to the Earth
clay dust in her hair, turning it burnt orange,
back to dirt. I am lost
in her movements.

As she talks of a blue hum that closes
around her mind,
she chokes on her words
flashing bright and dark,
bright and dark
like a subway moving
above ground through a city at night
images blending until street lights and faces
look the same, until it empties
into darkness.

Finally, they tell fractured story lines
creating a photo's negative
drawn by their hand
leading her to the white, smooth

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Matt Beatty

Acturus Found a Pencil

A warm wind bled all over me
atop that faux-marble bench
that smelled of old jeans and chapstick,
and I watched above as thumbtacks
slowly made open holes through
the blue buckshot canvas.

If just one of those thousand
flashlights from faraway worlds
would drown me in light,
shine down like a streetlamp
to lead me through the fog and coming darkness--

then with sleepless eyes
as red as Sand Creek's soil
and dreams of half-moons and silhouetted strangers,
for one moment,
just one brief moment,
I could be where I intended.

So I sat up and forgot my dilemmas
and started home--
but then saw the pencil
positioned between my feet:
long and black with bite marks,
a blunt tip and a worn top.

I wondered how many graphite scars
its eraser had stolen--
how many were mistakes, misconceptions,
or curses, love notes, drawings, letters or poetry.

I wondered how many more nine-thirty nights
I would pedal my bike across mown lawns,
with the sprinklers' bite ready to startle me
and the crickets humming along
until I begin to rotate with the earth.

How many more times would my eyes blink
before admitting defeat?--closing for good,
recalling only the pinpoint memories
created by those flashlamps,
those streetbulbs,
Arcturus and the others.

Would the rabid amusements of genius
and catastrophe be lost?
Would this one dark pencil
contain enough of its black-match lead
to record all I was worthy of remembering?

But then I understood
that remembrances are only there
for those that are in need of them--
and so I cast the pencil away.

And I sat at a bus stop to wait, to sleep
until 6 AM arrived and signaled the end
of the buzzing electric lights around me
that laughed so loud in the night,
ruling over the crickets.

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Mark Ross

Rodin's Rebuke

How can I strike my words against your sweet, inspiring shape
and sculpt the worthy likeness with their true and poignant thrust,
when feckless tools that, thrown upon the task, just simply break
and gently fall to paper, spent, like clouds of chisel dust?
Impervious to my approach, you're trapped in porphyry;
defying allegory's gouge and riffler's metric sway,
and even trite maquettes whose fleeting promise teases me
soon break beneath the clumsy, cumbrous hand of my cliché.
The multitude of metaphors, like fireflies evening flight,
shine bright against my consciousness inviting lucid prose,
but at my words' approach they disappear, a ghostly sight
that leaves me fixed, ironically, in Rodin's pensive pose.
My struggle to define you leaves me swimming in the sand
I blame my tools but wiser men see weakness of the hand.

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Honorable Mention

Carole Trickett


A swirl of purple and gold
as the barn swallows
gather on telephone lines
that reach from my house
to the neighbor's fading
red barn.
Each August they
perch in long columns.
Are they waiting
for another?
Are they drilling
for the long flight home?
Their congregation,
their departure

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Honorable Mention

Laurie Cuneo


In this declining winter
thoughts of fragility linger
in my mind.
I see the skeletal branches,
feel the crisp air,
taste the snow in the wind.
The mulching oak leaves
mingle with pine needles,
remnants of last autumn
their crunch and crackle
feel like small squirrel sized bones
under careless footsteps.
I can feel the thaw's pulse
beneath the ice frosted soil
that cracks and buckles
from Mother Nature's moods.
Oh, voluptuous ripening spring
hurry, soon
I need your promise of renewal,
the eruption of your gifts
to inject hope into
a tragic horizon.

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Honorable Mention

Kathleen Ivanoff

True North -a sestina-

Soon the ship sails. We wait for the moon rise to steer
towards the new. The constellation, now glimmering the dark,
is the map written in our eyes, the sky. A foam of milk to nourish
and pour into(nutmeg and honey too)the fragile teapot.
It is only after the first taste that we begin to panic.
The light increases imperceptibly, like the shadow of a pelican

not yet ready to tear the flesh from its breast to feed its pelican
child. It is to this destiny that we set out -- to steer
into the wild, to breathe the reflected stars without panic
to glide through the ocean, knowing how deep and dark
the bottom is. To add sacrifice to self-love. Steeped in the teapot,
this brew gives even the ocean a fresh means to nourish.

If we do not find the fish we need to nourish
ourselves, we will tear some of our own heart, like the pelican
whose shadow has receded into the dark liquid of the teapot.
There is no cause to cauterize the wound, for this we steer
into the unknown, the uncanny, the unexplored, the dark.
It is a known path, but revealed only with the key of personal panic.

How do we know when we find the receipt to exchange key and panic?
When the sky does not cause a spatial phobia, it will nourish
our eyes, and not just in dreams, we will see through the dark.
Underneath the sky, on a rock, in the sea, a pelican
waits to show the way. Its beak is an envelope, holding itself, ready to steer
into its own heart to feed the child waiting in the teapot.

Will we go mad? We might. When we look into the teapot,
there is a chance that instead of the shine, we will panic
and lose our way. Tossing around, we forget to steer
and the stars speak in tongues that do not nourish.
But again, beneath the sky, on a rock, in the sea, a pelican
waits to show the way, and we will remember ourselves in the dark.

Our path turns insight out, like a shirtsleeve undone in the dark.
Crumpled on the floor, it is the tunnel covering the teapot.
There is no return, once we have sighted the pelican.
And when we see that mother, the key of our own panic
will quiet and forge itself into a milk to nourish
like our map with the stars, which we sharpen and steer
our night vision by, the dark dappled with panic,
the teapot filled with diamonds to nourish
the pelican who has given her heart for us as we learn to steer.

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Honorable Mention

Wendy Warren

Paean to Thanksgiving

My family doesn't drink
which is a pity
since my one glass of wine
always looks like the brink
of alcoholism to them.
But I bring the wine to the feast
and pray that some of the in-laws
will have a glass so we can be
pariahs together.

My mother has been cooking for days.
Like the women of Plymouth Rock
she has baked and stewed
and boiled and roasted.
With only four burners and one oven
she will produce the bird, the spuds,
the gravy, the beans, the corn,
the stuffing, the salad, the cranberry sauce,
and the pies.
Thank God
there will be pies
with real whipped cream
beaten to within an inch
of butter.

But first we must set tables all over the place
in the kitchen, in the living room,
maybe even a bedroom if everyone shows
because (God forbid!) we should not
gather together
all together
for this day of excess
second only to Christmas.

Right now
the kitchen is stuffed
with eight or so people
portioning out the food
among bowls and platters
and plates and tureens
and gravy boats and trays
and baskets lined with napkins
while everyone else jostles for chairs
next to someone they like.

I amble toward the kids' table
where the jokes will be coarse
and the laughter obscene
but there are no seats left
I guess the wine would be out of place
next to the Mickey Mouse glasses of milk.
So it's back to the kitchen where a spot
awaits on the bench along the wall
next to my sister-in-law's mother
who usually drinks Gallo
but will appreciate the Hogue.

There's an awkward moment
when no one is willing to say grace
until my sister elbows her husband
and he recites the prayer he learned
in Sunday school decades ago.
Then there's a bit of confusion
while food goes both left and right
and my sister again takes charge
decreeing that we pass everything clockwise.
There is near-silence
as the plates are loaded
to just a bit past full
and then the din begins to rise
with eating and talking
and the waving of hands
and while no one is looking
I reach for the wine.

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Honorable Mention

Amy Smith

No Reverse

She's not new, but she's in good condition.
She's got a lot of miles left in her.
Her motor purrs like a kitten.
She's got a good sturdy frame, and she's real comfortable.
Only thing is, she doesn't go in reverse.
Ain't no sense in lookin' back anyhow

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