Smooth Challenge Winners

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

By Vocal Curation TeamPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 1 min read

Life is rough, sometimes; we could all do with a little smoothing out. In the entries to our Smooth challenge, there were stones and fur, water and ice, the wind over soft skin. Congratulations to Kate Kastelberg, our winner with ‘New Stones in the River: A Life Insured’, a truly lovely sestina that indicates loss but gathers memory into joy. “The years since the river was born,/ I have sat on its stony shores, passing/ time’s spells: feel roughshod rock turn to velvet as lilies bloom right/ from the water’s surface, slowly at first, earning/ their place in the sun.” Kate’s terrific poem is a reminder that a stricture — like one of our challenge rubrics — can be a gift rather than a constraint, an opportunity to take a concept and make it one’s own.

Judah LoVato, a runner-up in our Book Club Challenge, places second with ‘Silky Silence’, which conjures a Wyoming winter, cattle breathing steam into the cold, the sounds they make echoing our prompt, mooth/smooth. We loved the “brown gutter-ruts of hoofprints” roughening the surface of this poem, the “hide-hard buffing” that softens the stump of a tree.

Interesting to note that some of our entries contained the word ‘smooth’ and some did not: we like the lateral as much as the literal. Cathy Holmes’s ‘A Waveless Lake’ has a narrator diving into summer water, feeling a mother’s arms in its caress, reflecting on her own body as she ages. The water is soothing, not directly smoothing, but the idea is beautifully clear. Ayva M’s ‘Pancake (verb) -’ is a prose poem rich with molasses and memory, bold in its rush of language and imagery. Zara Blume in ‘how it feels’ gives us the sensation of smooth in tofu, in matcha, in rose water… this is a delicious poem of feeling we can sense on the skin.

Thanks as always to all our creators; we’re wishing you a smooth and silky end of the year.

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 (16)

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  • Manisha Dhalani5 months ago

    Congrats to the winners!

  • Patricgamer5 months ago

    Congratulations to the winner.

  • Just Daniel5 months ago

    Congratz to all! ^___^

  • Kodah5 months ago

    Congrats to all! ❤️

  • Tressa Rose5 months ago

    So awesome you guys. Congratulations!

  • Leslie Writes5 months ago

    Congrats to all you smooth operators :) *cue music

  • K. Kocheryan5 months ago

    Congrats everyone!

  • True Crime Writer5 months ago

    Congratulations to everyone, well-deserved pieces.

  • Zara Blume5 months ago

    I did NOT expect to place in this challenge! Thank you, Vocal, and congrats to all winners. 🤍

  • Heather Hubler5 months ago

    Congratulations to all the winners

  • Cathy holmes5 months ago

    Thank you and congrats to all.

  • Sid Aaron Hirji5 months ago

    Congrats all. Lotsa good ones I read

  • Ace Melee5 months ago

    Congratulations, winners!

  • Babs Iverson5 months ago


  • Lena Folkert5 months ago

    Congrats all!! And so awesome to have placed 🥰💕🥰🫶🫶

  • Paul Stewart5 months ago

    Congratulations to all those who placed in this excellent challenge.

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