Still Literary Contest Poetry Winner:  Frank Jamison


Frank Jamison lives and writes poetry and fiction in Roane County, Tennessee. His collection of poems is Marginal Notes, published in 2001 by Celtic Cat Publishing. He received the Robert Burns Award of Excellence from the Knoxville Writer's Guild and won the 2005 Libba Moore Gray Poetry Award. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006, and his work has appeared widely in journals such as Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Meridian, Nimrod, Red Wheelbarrow, South Carolina Review, and Tennessee English Journal.


Judge Maurice Manning writes of Frank's poem:  "I really enjoy how this poem offers a map of this landscape, noticing the land forms and the people who have lived with that land for so long.  But the poem arrests me most when it shifts to a far more specific and intense perspective and calls out the waters, the hollows, and the little towns by name.  This is a very moving and carefully composed poem."



Here Then Is a Landscape

Mountains worn into hills,
Grasses seeking sunlight,
Valleys filled with mist like smoke
And a broad river cutting through.

Here then is the place
Where hard-scrabble earth
Was tilled, flooded, re-tilled
By hard-scrabble people.

Who could have dreamed
Luxury would one day be
Carved from that dirt,
Those stones?

Yet they are not gone,
The eekers-of-bare-living,
Into the hard-scrabble earth,
Their stones upturned.

Among the mountains worn
Into hills, their names still
Hang in hollows and coves,
On ridges and roads.

They emerge from the earth,
From springs and streams, names
Like Rose, like Laurel, like Crystal
To flow now as they did then,

Down creeks and hollows
Named Bradshaw and Branham,
Keylon and Poland, from Abel
To Zwicker they understood

How the dead endure as they put
Their stories on the landscape:
Hurricane, Dry Fork,
Winchester, Bullet,
Dead Man, Zion.