We’re delighted to announce A.K. Drees as the winner of our 2017 Slippery Elm Prize in poetry! She’ll receive $1000 and publication of her poem “How the Rain Gets In” in our fifth issue, due out in December.
Read judge David Lee Garrison‘s thoughts on the winner:
“How the Rain Gets In” unveils a series of recollections and imaginings of storms, expressing our deepest fears of what our atmosphere can do to us and what human beings can do to each other. A mother tells of the aftermath of a tornado when she saw cows “bled dry by a thousand pieces of straw / turned into knives by the wind.” A child remembers heading home with the “truck windows open to catch the cool / at the front of the storm” and wondering if a pregnant doe at the roadside will survive it. A father hurries inside with the steak he was grilling in the yard when thunder and lightning struck simultaneously and without warning, and later he explains to a seven-year-old the destructive power of thermonuclear war. The poem ends on a quiet note about how rain gets into a house through a failure in the flashing around the roof gutters, a comforting moment after a nightmarish recounting of wildness and ferocity over which we have no control. The poem stares into some of the greatest terrors of existence, and it is so compelling that we cannot look away, cannot stop reading.