Announcing the Neahkahnie Mountain Poetry Prize Winners

The Manzanita Writers’ Series announces the winner of the 2022 Neakahnie Mountain Poetry Prize

Carey Taylor, author of The Lure of Impermanence, won this year’s Poetry Prize held by Manzanita Writers’ Series and the Hoffman Center for the Arts.  Taylor will receive a $100 cash prize for her poem, “Birthday Fires.” She currently lives in Portland but considers the Oregon Coast the place her soul resides.

“I will always feel a strong connection to the North Oregon Coast after living at the Garibaldi Coast Guard Station as a kid.  I learned to read and write at Garibaldi Grade School, to swim at the Nehalem pool.  I had my tonsils removed in Wheeler, and I am still in touch with my best friend from first grade after 60 years,” said Taylor in her biographical statement.

“’Birthday Fires’ is a marvel of imagery and complexity in 9 couplets. The fires are birth, creativity, life” said Lana Hechtman Ayers, the judge for the poetry contest. “The poem reminds us that even as hardships and sorrows sap joy, we can still celebrate and make our own light, as in the final captivating image of the poem—’fiery candelabras / tilted on our heads.’”

Lana is a poet herself and the managing editor of the Concrete Wolf chapbook series and MoonPath Press.

In addition to the winning poet, Lana recognized two poems as second and third place winners. Lauren Mallett’s “’Skipanon [This Afternoon]’ pays homage to a special Pacific Northwest landscape and grapples with the cruelty of survival of the fittest, even as it applies to flora. This poet’s empathetic heart allows even the squatters in,” she says. “Jim Stewart’s ‘Personal Transport’ takes us on a walk through the fog, wrapped in memory and mystery.”

Read the winning poems and more about the poets.

She also recognized works by seven poets as honorable mentions:

David J.S. Pickering, “You Can’t Take the Boy out of Rockaway Beach”

Shari Crane Fox, “Someday”

Daria Moyer-LaMasney, “Rabo Encendido”

Matt Wigdall, “A Single Lady’s Slipper”

Ciel Downing, “Tender Riches”

Karen Keltz, “Collapse”

Connie Soper, “Bury This”


The next submission period for the prize is January 2023.