Abecedarian Challenge Winners

An inside look into the Vocal Curation Team's favorite poems from the Abecedarian Challenge

By Vocal Curation TeamPublished 2 months ago 2 min read

How much do we want to be aware of form, in a formal poem — and how much do we want the form to disappear? Philip Larkin was a poet with a gift for writing work that adheres quite tightly to pattern; and yet his skill causes the form almost to disappear, to melt into meaning. In our Abecedarian challenge, a formal structure is right out in front: the letters of the alphabet at the beginning of each line. Some of you landed neatly on each letter, accenting the form itself; other entries — while keeping to our rubric — worked to make the form flow into the poem. One’s no better than the other; it’s just fascinating for us to see the different ways in which you all approached this challenge.

Prairie Johnson’s ¿Cómo se siente? Is our winner — congratulations to Prairie on this moving, complex poem, which interrogates an absent father. “My memories are yours, but somehow you are not among them.” The alphabet has a sense of forward motion, and Prairie Johnson uses this momentum to drive her work forward, pulling the reader along.

Second prize goes to Dana Crandell for Zephyrs, a poem inspired by the night, by the names of the stars and constellations and the artists across the ages inspired by them. We learned a new word, too: xenial, “of, relating to, or constituting hospitality or relations between host and guest and especially among the ancient Greeks between persons of different cities.” Of course, we knew its opposite — sad to say that xenophobia is not an uncommon word — but we’d never come across its positive counterpart.

Well done to our runners-up, of course; we especially admired Geoffrey Philp’s Marcus Garvey’s Light of Freedom, which uses Garvey’s words to make what is almost a found poem. Tracy Kreuzberg’s Every Woman is an inspiring feminist anthem; and D. J. Reddall’s Dionysian Dancer revels in its Classical imagery, calling to “a language older than any human ear”. All of these poems show how a simple scheme — follow your ABCs — can summon creativity. From A to Z, these were great poems.

You can check out the full list of winners HERE and learn about our current challenges below:


About the Creator

Vocal Curation Team

Collaborative, conscious, and committed to content. We're rounding up the best that the Vocal network has to offer.

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Comments (18)

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  • Timothy E Jones2 months ago

    WTG all

  • masterplay972 months ago

    applause for everyone

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    Hooray you talented people!!

  • Caroline Borges 2 months ago

    Congratulations to you all!

  • Rufai Yakubu liman2 months ago


  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Well done to everyone who placed and Mr Crandell!

  • Natasha Collazo2 months ago

    Congrats to the well deserved winners!

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    Well done and congratulations!!!!

  • Just Daniel2 months ago

    Wow, many many submissions, I bet the judging had some difficult choices to choose from! ^^

  • Asad Message2 months ago

    Congratulations everyone

  • Lindsay Sfara2 months ago

    Congrats everyone!

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    Thank you Vocal, and congratulations, everyone!

  • Congrats everyone!

  • Hummingbird2 months ago

    With all due respect, the first prize is well deserved but the challenge stated that it's exclusive to vocal plus members and I don't believe Ms Johnson is, as I don't see the v+ icon in her profile as is usually displayed.

  • Test2 months ago

    Congratulations to the winners.

  • sleepy drafts2 months ago

    Congratulations, everyone!! 💗

  • Marysol Ramos2 months ago

    Congrats to the winners. Looking forward to settling down tonight and reading all of these! Thanks Vocal!

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