2015 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize Winner!
Guest judge Lynn Emanuel has chosen "Antikythera," by poet Lindsay Means, as the winner of the 2015 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize. Lynn has the following to say about Means' arresting poem:
On first reading, “Antikythera,” I admired the cadence, imagery, and mystery of it, but was unfamiliar with the title, so I became the reader that I exhort my students to be and looked it up. Antikythera, I discovered, is an island northwest of Crete, but nothing in the poem suggests why this particular island is significant: no details of the island, no description of landscape, nothing to distinguish this island from any other. Then I went a bit deeper. I found it was off the island of Antikythera that the wreck of a ship (dated to the 1st century BCE) was retrieved. It contained not only the statuary wonderfully described in the poem (The statue of a boy…/held out his hand like someone waiting to be pulled onto a boat”), but also the “gears…encrusted with minerals” which were, in fact, the earliest astrolabe or mechanized clock, “the oldest known analog computer,” my computer informed me.
Now the poem had its full ironic impact on me, because “Antikythera” is a poem about losing time and place. Indeed, it is a poem about losing oneself. “We forgot to look up. We forgot about north and south…we didn’t know about seasons,” says one of the divers who discovers the wreck and is the narrator of the poem. There is a marvelous telescoping of time in this poem. It opens at the instant in which the divers discover the wreck. It ends in a prolonged past tense in which humanity is now situated in a universe emptied of myth and filled with an unforeseeable future. The stars once represented tales of the gods, but now, in the poem’s final line, “the years wheeled overhead and the stars kept their silence.” In the form of the astrolabe, a new form of knowledge has arrived and with it a new narrative about the world and humanity’s place in it. “Antikythera” is a wonderfully thoughtful and poignant poem.
Lindsay Means holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College and lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first published poem.
Lynn Emanuel also chose K.T. Landon's poem, "The Dead Go Bowling" as first runner-up for the poetry prize. K. T. Landon is the 2013 winner of the Arts & Letters PRIME Poetry Prize, a finalist in Jabberwock Review‘s 2014 Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize for Poetry, and a two-time Pushcart nominee. She serves as a Poetry Reader for Muzzle, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fugue, CALYX, and Ibbetson Street, among others.
Both poems will appear in Issue 37 of Passages North, and all contestants will receive a copy of the journal when it is published in Winter 2016.
Congratulations to Lindsay and K.T., and many thanks to all the fine poets who shared their best work with Passages North this year. It was a privilege to read your work.