UPDATED: After reading all the winning poems, our patron has decided to raise the highly-recommended prize from £5 to £10 each. He agreed it is difficult to let any of the poems go. He also wanted us to reiterate that the purpose of the contest was not to make money (that's why we did not charge any entry fees) but to reward good writing. We are very excited and honoured to present these poems to you in the March 2012 issue of Cha.
UPDATED: The March 2012 issue of Cha has now been launched.
José Manuel Sevilla on "Sonia Wants to Rent an Apartment": The poem belongs to the new book I am writing. All poems are related to real people that I know or have met in the past. Sonia is a friend living in Barcelona. As the rest of the poems of this book, all images are part of my own biography, since my teenage years when I belonged to a clandestine organization fighting the remains of the dictatorship, my business trips, my visit to Croatia during the Balkan's war, my stay in Berlin when the Wall was opened, my life with my wife in Mexico and in Hong Kong or my interest in History and particularly in the atrocities of the 20th Century, like Auschwitz and Hiroshima. READ THE POEM HERE.
Bio: Born in Barcelona in 1959, José Manuel Sevilla has published several poetry books including Alicia in Ikea’s catalogue (2004) and Ashes of Auschwitz en Eighteen Dogs (2009, Angel Urrutia Award). He founded "Poets against Aids" in Spain and co-founded the theatre Group "Bonobos". He has also translated Peter Reading’s C into Spanish. Sevilla has been living in Hong Kong since 2003.
"Flashback Sonnet: B-Film Actress Seeks Lost Bastard Child" by Ranjani Murali
Ranjani Murali on "Flashback Sonnet: B-Film Actress Seeks Lost Bastard Child": The poem is part of my latest project, which is a meditation on archetypes and tropes from Hindi and Tamil cinema. The scene was based on my memory of an '80's Tamil song, where the heroine is reclining on sand, beckoning to her lover. I was intrigued by how much work goes into constructing "gaze" and/or desirability. This meditation seemed to need a form that was sensitive to a turn in perspective--how one is constructed by others and how one constructs the self--and the sonnet seemed to fit the idea perfectly. I had to revise the poem several times in the past six months, and I'm happy that it is, in some ways, a mouthpiece for my forthcoming project. READ THE POEM HERE.
Bio: Ranjani Murali received her MFA in poetry from George Mason University, where she taught creative writing, English, and composition. She was the recipient of Vermont Studio Center's Kay Evans Poetry fellowship and a nonfiction fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA.
Bio: Aditi Rao is a poet based in New Delhi, India. Winner of the 2011 Srinivas Rayaprol Prize for poetry, Rao facilitates writing workshops in Delhi and works as a consultant in the field of peace education. She holds a Masters’ of Fine Arts in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.
Andrew Barker on "On Encountering Jean-Claude Van Damn": This piece was written as an attempt to turn an anecdote into a poetic work. That anecdote concerning encountering the man in question during a night out in which he was presumably, as the wealthy often are, 'suffering an adverse reaction to a prescribed medicine,' or being what the rest of us are in such situations 'Off his tits.' If it works as a poem, it works due to the line length example of form imitating content, the poem moves as erratically as he does, and for the last line. There is something impressive about watching somebody who really doesn't care what anybody else thinks about them. As anyone who has ever encountered Chris Doyle will testify, there is something impressive about watching someone who can still get the job done, do the work they've set out to do, at the level at which they do it and be that out of it. I can't do it. And I'm jealous. The poetry is in that final, ambiguous realization. There is something impressive about watching someone making a fool of themselves who simply doesn't care that you think they are making a fool of themselves. He got the girl as well. READ THE POEM HERE.
Bio: Andrew Barker lives in Hong Kong. He is the author of Snowblind from my Protective Colouring (2009). He has degrees in English Literature, Anglo/Irish Literature and American Literature. He teaches at various universities and has recently completed a 450 page novel in verse set in Onegin Stanzas.
Bio: Dena Rash Guzman lives on an organic produce farm outside Portland, Oregon. In 2011 she was awarded Judge's Prize for best performance at the first ever Shanghai Erotic Fiction Competition. She is founding editor of the literary journal Unshod Quills.
Bio: R. Joseph Capet is a poet, playwright, and essayist whose work has appeared in decomP, The Montreal Review, and ITCH. He currently serves as poetry editor for P.Q. Leer in addition to teaching poetry at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, OR.
Bio: Shivani Sivagurunathan is a Malaysian fiction writer and poet. Her poetry chapbook, Chiaroscuro, was published by bedouin books in 2010 and her collection of short stories Wildlife on Coal Island came out in August, 2011. She now lives in Malaysia and lectures at University Putra Malaysia.