Thursday, May 8, 2008


Jennifer Hollingsworth-Austin of Roanoke has won first place in the 2008 Poetry Competition sponsored by the Roanoke Valley Branch of the National League of American Pen Women.

Her poem was entitled “A Geometer Built the World.” Hollingsworth-Austin’s poem was one of 104 poems received from 16 states that were reviewed by a poetry panel and poetry contest judge Maurice Ferguson. Ferguson said the winning poem reminded him of the metaphysical poets John Donne and George Herbert.

Ferguson, who lives in Buchanan, VA, with his wife, son and a menagerie of animals, was a chief editor of Artemis Journal. He also has coordinated several writers’ workshops in the Roanoke Valley, organized numerous literary events, conducted a contest for prisoners and printed an anthology of prisoner's poems, Context Crumble.

Ferguson has published in Samsara Quarterly, Melic Review, Piedmont Literary Quarterly, Inlet, Artemis and the Roanoke Review.

Other winners in the contest were: second place, Glenna Holloway, Naperville, IL for a poem called “Sestina for a New Widow” and third place, Gretchen Fletcher, Ft. Lauderdale, FL for a poem called “Small Towns, Big Stories.”

Honorable Mentions were given to Elizabeth Williams, Oceanside, CA for a poem called “A Sestina of Splintered Kisses,” R. Frazier, Roanoke, VA for a poem called “Snapshot of Dad,” and W. B. Spillman, Jr., Floyd, VA for a poem called “The Ice Queen.”

The winning poems were read on May 7 at the Daily Grind Coffeehouse in Salem.

The Roanoke Valley Branch of the National League of American Press Women sponsors the poetry contest every year. The 2008 contest marked the eighth year the organization has awarded prizes.