Welcome to our new official blog for all things SLAB! This is our newest way to keep our readers up to date on what SLAB has going on. As another SLAB poetry contest has come to an end, the SLAB staff is excited to announce this year’s winner, Lucian Mattison for his poem “Yet” and runner-up, Mary Liza Hartong for her poem “Ruby Slippery.” Our judge for the Curry Poetry Contest this year was Lori Jakiela. Both poems can be read in Issue 13, which will be released in April.

The winner of SLAB’s poetry contest this year was Argentinean-US poet and translator, Lucian Mattison. He is the author of two books of poetry, Reaper’s Milonga (YesYes Books, 2018) andPeregrine Nation (Dynamo Verlag, 2017). His poetry, short fiction, and translations appear in numerous journals including Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart, Muzzle, Nano Fiction, The Nashville Review, The Offing, poets.org, Puerto Del Sol, and Waxwing. He edits poetry for Big Lucks.
Visit Lucianmattison.com to see more of Lucian’s works.

Our judge, Lori Jakiela, said this about “Yet”:

“The great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet once wrote, ‘There are reasons to be sad, disconsolate, bitter, but there is not a single reason to be hopeless.’

In the brilliantly titled and expertly crafted poem ‘Yet,’ the poet refuses to look away from the sad, disconsolate, and bitter world, and yet (!) sings of hope, that essential element for living. This poem is astonishing for its beautiful images–a hammer of lilies, trucks of soldiers emptying and filling like beer glasses on the bar, petals like ticker tape. It’s astonishing for its wisdom and precision. It’s astonishing for its sweeping vision of war and escape, of lost innocence and the eternal desire for innocence and maybe even peace. This is gorgeous, important work that feels of and for our troubled times.”

The runner-up was Mary Liza Hartong who is a graduate student in creative writing at Dartmouth College. She originally hails from Tennessee, but now calls the Granite State home. When she’s not writing she performs with an improv comedy group, slowly completes puzzles, and bakes fabulously buttery desserts.

Judge Lori Jakiela said this about “Ruby Slippery”:

“In that awe-inspiring way a great gymnast sticks a perfect landing, ‘Ruby Slippery’ firmly plants itself in the ranks of memorable, concise poems that speak truth to women’s experiences. In a time of ‘Me, Too,’ this poet has something important and authentic to say, and this poet says it in a voice that can speak to everyone. There’s nothing slippery about the message behind “Ruby Slippery,” and that is part of its genius. ‘Ruby Slippery’ feels reminiscent of poems by Anne Sexton, Margaret Atwood, and Marge Piercy, but with a very contemporary push. This poem makes a reader want to stand up and shout, ‘yes!’”

Congratulations to our winner and runner-up. Next year’s poetry contest will be taking entries from August 1st through December 1st. Our new judge will be poet Kathy Fagan.

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