Sample of Comments for Entry #1:
…this one paints a very vivid picture in my mind's eye, and it speaks of the beauty of the new day's creation in such a way, that we can feel the Saviour's love in it. Lana Kostyniuk
This poem pulled me in from the very start. Its use of natural things, like sky and stars, with words like cantaloup-colored and sharp edged, painted a portrait in my mind. I liked the tactile elements of the poem. To feel, touch, hear a poem is impressive. There is little punctuation to disturb your reading. I like the flow of the enjambment from stanza to stanza. Finally, he brought his poem to a firm and excellent summation. Linda L. Creech
The author of entry #1 shows a good sense of rhythm. The form of the poem provides for gently lilting verse. The imagery is subtle but provides a tactile experience, no easy task for words alone. The first four lines describing the clouds as they "nuzzle" the window are indicative of this feat. These lines leave this reader anxious for more of the poem I can touch. Perhaps even more clever is the common elements that hold each stanza together. In stanza one an anthropomorphism is prevelant when the clouds nuzzle and the stars poplulate her sleep. In the second stanza imagery of knots and crisscross patterns evoke the authors reference to penance. Finally in the last stanza we are refreshed with the "taste" of the fruit associated with waking. This poem bears the marks of fine craftsmanship, is easily readable and most of all enjoyable. Graham Werstiuk
…does not really sound like poetry. it is not well organized and each line does not form a complete thought and at times, in the poem, a line continues in the next instead of it being a standard complete line itself. Besides the above, though, the poem is a product of great punctuation, grammar and crisp use of words. Bankole Banjo
…was descriptive, but turned me off immediately by repeating the descriptions of "wispy" and "cirrus," which have the same meaning. The afgan description was everyday. The colour of a sky cannot "wetly" nuzzle a window. "Wispy" and "cirrus" clouds occur in a dry sky. I am an artist and try for accuracy in art, the proper plants in their proper ecological zones, etc. In reading poetry, I like imagination, but not what I call "untruth." Being invited by dawn to rise is a good idea, but it didn't change my attitude towards dawn itself, or rising itself. Ruth Hill
Sample of Comments for Entry #2:
"My Bland God"
All of us would like to define our God for our own purposes, and the poem addresses the bland, comfortable God we would prefer -- one that we can control in our lives and who does not require stringent obedience to His Word. I love the term "pocket-god". And yet, that kind of god profiteth us nothing. When the terror of His actuality sinks in, we are aghast but only then do we learn what true worship means. Gloria Ewachiw
A "pocket-god" can make us happy, but there won't be joy.
It is not until we have been dashed to the bottom (of ourselves),
and it is not until we know His terror and that He is anything but bland,
that we can taste and see that the Lord is good, and there will be joy. Sheila Bair
The author expressed herself and the way she viewed God in an unmistakably honest fashion that is not only shocking but somewhat offensive. When I was reading the poem, I thought to myself..."does the author and I imagine the same God because she cant be talking about the God I know." The great thing about this poem is that—at the end—the image the author created of God is destroyed and God's true glory is revealed, his true strength, and we know...he can never be tame, we cannot miniaturize him and carry him around in our pockets. He is life and fire and magnificence that no one can predict. All we can do is expect and hope that God will touch our lives with his presence and show us how he really is, as he has done to the author. Marina Kravchuk
...tries to draw on powerful and haunting images but they often come down as clunky and jarring, losing in the process some of the desired effect. Though jarring imagery is a useful tool it still needs to be wrought with care. Lines that read "Like porn addicts that think they know women," are packed with a meta-narrative that is fitting but the line itself would benefit from have a more carefully chosen words. Words that don't jar the reader out of the experience the author is creating. Graham Werstiuk
…was the least polished poem because of its lack of structure in both poetic form and its content, and because of its poor use of imagery and other poetic elements. I personally like to see more structure, even in a free verse poem. I liked all the poems, but I think the others were better. Page M. Davis
Sample of Comments for Entry #3:
"Rituals of a Quasi-Pagan Childhood"
…paints a more clear moment in time than the other two poems. Her poem evokes the clashing of the white, Christian culture with the Native American culture and their spirituality … This is a unique poem where the reader sees two worlds clash on the poet and we see how she decides to worship Jesus from her heart. Olga Quintanilla
The title of this poem immediately grabs the reader's attention. Knowing this is going to be a Christian poem, the introduction of the "quasi-pagan childhood" introduces thoughts of conversion, and of hope. I was compelled to read this selection with care … As Christians we we delight in individual stories of conversion, the public testimony that occurs with baptism, and those joyously dancing for Jesus. This poem, however, challenges us to understand how a quasi-pagan, and hence quasi-Christian, rain-dance ritual should be viewed. This is a universal story, experienced wherever missionaries have brought the Word to aboriginal cultures. Terrance James
It flows and makes sense, and is saying that the day she was baptized was a memorable and good day. The others are vague and empty of a meaningful description of God. At least the third poem said something a born again Christian can identify with. After all is this not the point of Christian poetry, to tell in poetic form about the goodness of God, and to bring hope, comfort; encouragement to the readers thereof? That is how the Lord has used the poetry gift he has given me, and no one is more blessed than I am, when He gives me with a new poem. Chris Dickenson
The poem is straight forward and manages to easily create the scenes. It takes the reader effortlessly from one scene to the next in the space of one stanza. "A summerful of rain dances to Jesus" gives the reader an vision of the experience of the summer in one line. If this poem lacks anything it is only degree of craftsmanship found in the first entry. Graham Werstiuk
I think that none of the three poems merit a prize. None of them are really Christian. Rich Miller