2023 Neahkahnie Mountain Poetry Prize Winners Announced

The Manzanita Writers Series and the Hoffman Center for the Arts announce the winners of the 5th annual Neahkahnie Mountain Poetry Prize, which honors poets who live on the North Oregon Coast or have strong connections here.

Submissions were judged by Warrenton resident and poet Lauren Mallett, who serves on the Oregon Poetry Association’s Board of Directors and is the Student Contest Chair of Cascadia, an online anthology and contest for Oregon’s young poets.

Mallet awarded first place to Logan Garner of Warrenton for his poem, “5 NOVEMBER.”  About the poem, Mallett  said, “I feel at home in the particular grief of “5 NOVEMBER.” The coast is a character here, and—in the absence of Sam, a beloved dog—an obtrusive one at that. The natural world speaks when the speaker and partner have nothing to say.”

As first prize winner, Garner will receive a $100 cash award. He is the author of Here, in the Floodplain, published by Plan B Press.  His poetry has appeared in The Purpled Nail and Elevation Review. His fiction has been featured in speculative magazines and anthologies.

Second place was awarded to Manzanita resident Phyllis Mannan for “A Chance Meeting with My Mother on the Anniversary of Her Death.” Mallett described Mannan’s poem as ” a striking visitation sonnet. The speaker’s mistaking a stranger in a parking lot for her late mother is compelling…even more so is the dialogue that closes the poem.”

Mannan has published a memoir, Torn Fish: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and Their Shared Humanity, and a poetry chapbook, Bitterbrush. Her work has appeared in Cloudbankthe North Coast Squid,  The Oregonian, Rain Magazine, and elsewhere.

Katz Bryan of Rockaway Beach won third place for his poem, “Prepared.” “This poem reminded me of the richly personal nature of the sundries we keep in our cars,”  Mallett said, “—those for emergency purposes…and those “just cuz.” What a beautifully paced scene (and comic volta) is shared here.”

Bryan says that in his poetry, he seeks to honor the people he has known, and to share the humor or wisdom he has discovered along the way.

In addition to the three prize-winners, Mallet  also recognized works by several other poets as honorable mentions:

  • Ursula McCabe, Portland, OR: “Calling Doctor Bushtit”
  • L Swartz, Wheeler, OR:   “OCEAN (mocking)”
  • Matt Wigdahl, Castle Rock, CO, and Cannon Beach, OR:  “Is language still the bed you seek?”

All three prize-winning poems are viewable here.   

In addition, the winning poets will read their work at a special Hoffman Center event on April 23 which will celebrate the launch of a new poetry collection by part-time Manzanita resident Connie Soper. The reading begins at 3 pm. For details and registration, click here.

The next submission period for the Neahkahnie Mountain prize is January 2024.