Final judge James Applewhite, one of North Carolina’s most distinguished poets, selected “In the Dawn Valley” by Joanna Catherine Scott of Chapel Hill as the winner of the 2008 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition of the North Carolina Writers Network. Applewhite also gave honorable mentions to “Haymaking” by Marjorie Hudson of Pittsboro and “Drought” by Allison Elrod of Davidson. Marjorie Hudson’s “Salmon Fishing, Possession Bay” and “The Barred Owl’s Visit” by Fred Bahnson of Efland also received commendation from Applewhite. Scott will receive a $200 award. Hudson and Elrod will each receive $50.
Of Scott’s poem, Applewhite wrote, “ ‘In the Dawn Valley’ evokes a special, memorial place in a voice both slightly formal in its deliberate movement and slightly conversational. This is spoken poetry of a lovely musicality, in a movement appropriate to the subject. The details are clear, moving, authentic, the syntax natural, unforced, elegant, all neither over- nor understated.”
He complimented “Haymaking” for “its metaphysical turn within the natural context” and “Drought” for “its moving, clearly depicted record of a national calamity.”
Joanna Catherine Scott is a well-known North Carolina writer, a recent winner of the Brockman Campbell Book Award from the N.C. Poetry Society for Fainting at the Uffizi and the Black Zinnias Poetry Book Award for Breakfast at the Shangri-La. Her winning poem is part of a collection, Night Huntress, due to be published later this month. Her novel, The Road from Chapel Hill, is a SIBA/ Book Sense Southern Literary bestseller. A sequel to that book, Child of the South, is due out in Spring 2009.
Marjorie Hudson’s work has been published in Yankee, Pembroke, and the Sandhills Review, among others. She is the author of Searching for Virginia Dare (Press 53), a creative nonfiction mosaic that uses historical research, fiction, memoir, and lyric line to explore the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island.
Allison Elrod is a freelance writer in Davidson whose articles and essays have appeared in Southpark Magazine and The Living Church. Her commentary has been featured on the WFAE-FM, Charlotte’s NPR news and talk station.
Applewhite selected the winners from twenty-five manuscripts sent to him by the preliminary judges who read the 125 entries received by contest coordinator Anthony Abbott. James Applewhite is professor of creative writing and American literature at Duke University. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including River Writing: An Eno Journal(Princeton, 1988) and Daytime and Starlight (LSU, 1997). His most recent books are Selected Poems (2005) and A Diary of Altered Light: Poems (2006). He has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the state’s highest honor, the North Carolina Award in Literature.