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Source Weekly Poetry Contest Winners 

Out of 100s of submissions, here are your winners!


or the Inaugural Source Weekly’s 2017 Poetry Contest,

we challenged local poets to send us their works in one of two categories: focused on the topic of growth, or in the “open” category. Scores of poets submitted more than 260 poems, which were judged in the first round by the MFA creative writing candidates at OSU-Cascades.  

In the second round, our judging panel included Emily Carr, Ph.D., a poet published by McSweeney’s and the program director for the MFA in Creative Writing program at OSU-Cascades; Ellen Waterston, owner of the Writing Ranch, executive director of Playa, and the author of four books of poems; and Jenna Goldsmith, Ph.D., writing instructor at OSU-Cascades and the recipient of the Kentucky Writers Fellowship for Innovative Poetry in 2015. 

Thank you to all of our judges for the generous use of their time—and to all the winners. 

See the poets in action at these two readings:

Sun., Nov. 12, 10am. Tucson's Poet Laureate, T.C. Tolbert will read as part of the Deschutes Public Library's Second Sunday Reading Series, with the Source's poetry contest winners as special guests. Deschutes Downtown Public Library, 601 NW Wall St, Bend.

Thurs., Nov. 16, 5:30 pm. Readings from the Source poetry contest winners, and poets Emily Carr and Jenna Goldsmith. Crow's Feet Commons Café, 875 NW Brooks St., Bend.

Winner — "Underwater Music" - Alex Borgen

Runner up — "Mower to the Glowworms" - Jamie Houghton

4-way tie

"Stream" - Meli Broderick Eaton
"Since the Apple" - Danielle Gosselin
"How I Spent My Day" - Jamie Houghton
"Trees" - I.A. Johansen

Honorable Mentions

"Different Light" - Sandy Thompson
"Widow/Window" - Jana Zvibleman


— W I N N E R —
Underwater Music: Water Home

by Alex Borgen

Connection Piece VI (by Yoko Ono)

swim as far as you can in your dream/ away from/ your home/ your mate/ your children/ your pets/ your belongings/ your work place/ your colleagues/ see if you drown or survive

My mother wants a one-lane lap pool.

We talk about this often.

She wants for us to dig the hole in her backyard


we understand one other when we use our bodies.

We would shovel out the earth until our arms

ache, our shoulders paralyzed with the strain

of repetitious movement,

line it with stone, labor, then fill it with water.


Long after the swallows fly south

and the milkweed's soft leaves begin to

shrivel into crunchy cocoons,

and the monarchs dwindle to the last few

castaways hiding in the tall silvery grasses

the winds pick up from the north and east.

After summer fades into longer shadows

and the apples are harvested from her trees,

she will have to construct a tent-bubble

to encase her dream pool—

"If I had a small pool in my yard, I would swim

twice, maybe 3 times a day," my mother whispers—

We understand the world better when we are moving.

"I would like that."

I nodded, yes.

Water home


— R U N N E R   U P—


(After Andrew Marvell)

By Jamie Houghton

Think of it as just a haircut through your heart which is your whole

body glowing because that's what a pulse does and your heart is electric

Think of your heart as mud struck by lightning in the womb some where

you cannot dive for or become small enough to see

Think of it as a slight shock combing up your spine or your skin

changing like the surface of water

Think of it as division think

of me as a witness think

of clinging to the rain or pouring

down the grate think

of it as the last

whisper before being extinguished

Think of it as sinking just

to rest in the dark wet think

of it as a buffet and you

are sunlight's last snack think

of the shining blades as music think

of your tailbone as a mouse

and you will be fed to the peonies

and the dogs and the dawn think

of me as next



since the apple

by Danielle Gosselin

the microwave told me she was becoming nauseous from too much radiation, and could i please roll her a nice joint.

while rolling, i peeked at the peaches, who wrinkled and turned.

mirror, mirror is it me that's turned and wrinkling away. what would an eye see inside the pit of the pithiest fruit. (the heart of the heart).

on the wall i've written everything: i long to hear the mango's orange tang on the tongue.

who is made of stars (blinks us) and stars are made of meat. we like to eat big hunks out of each other.

the fairest mouth might taste of fruit. berried and soft.

one of the people excreted his soul. (didn't sell it to devils (didn't deliver it to gods)) let it shine inside the microwave, settling in her bones.

all the fruit wore time into foul juice and time wore fruit into night.

i pulled the plug on the microwave (because things were getting out of hand). the beauty slept on another day.

when the people found her, they raised their red apple, now a gun. she stared and sighed, how uninventive,

they'd lost the wonder of their evil.



by Meli Broderick Eaton

There is a process by which

water disappears

when we are not looking

they say it flies


through our sky then

falls back to earth

heavy and new.

One hot summer afternoon

we followed a mountain stream

to see what boulder birthed it

what stone was responsible for this.

Oh, sacred spot

where lusty gush poured

from beneath the earth

as though the planet

were a pitcher tipped

just enough this way

and we were satisfied.

Miles later

where the water flattens


runs wide to fill

an alpine bowl waiting

with hard open hands we slid

bare feet through the cold

savored the late blue release

when earth gives back

heat taken from the day

crickets sing from deep

in meadow grass

when the dusky remains

of light become

ashes to mountain

dust to lake.

3. Trees

by I.A. Johansen

The year she was born

they still looked sickly

like stripped pencil sticks

in little burlap sacks.

Her father brought them home

and planted them like

a wall around the yard

three deep and green all year long.

He said they'd pay for the wedding

he couldn't afford otherwise.

But she grew up ugly

not on the outside but in

and her father knew it

by the time the trees had

reached the height of the house.

He said they'd block out the world

she wouldn't understand otherwise.



by Jamie Houghton

The ghostly silver of unnamed want

clung to you like dead

grass to dew. You were a child

sucking on rubber wheels.

A dark muttering bruised your lips

you tried to let it all run

you over. Began walking away

from that body you never wanted.

Sound travels- at least-


Who can loom as a star

in your limited heaven?

Traffic means no harm in parts

it is the total stampede

that jams signals. You howled

at the top of your voice

kicking and trying to bite.

The subjunctive stands between us

your mouth remains open

speaking in qualifiers-

If we ever get there

if I see you.



by Sandy Thompson

morning walk
in muted forest

September clouds
shroud high pine
and cedar boughs

graphite green
on graphite green,
on and on

around a bend,
random alder
beneath the mist

yellow leaves
ten thousand candles


widow / window

by Jana Zvibleman

"'If anything
were ever to happen to either of us,'

we used to say to each other,
but then I never thought . . .
you know "

if anything

if the winter were ever to thaw


if that child should ever grow

if anything

if these petals should happen to fall


if anything

if this bridge were to reach the other side.


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