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MLC

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FOOL FOR POETRY
INTERNATIONAL CHAPBOOK
COMPETITION 2018


 

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Liberty Walks Naked
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Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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MAYA CATHERINE POPA

 

 

 

Maya Catherine Popa

Maya Catherine Popa is completing an MSt in Creative Writing at Oxford University under a Clarendon Scholarship, and an MFA in Poetry from NYU, where she has studied under Sharon Olds. She co-leads a weekly writing workshop for veterans of Iraq & Afghanistan and is a regular contributor to The Daily Beast's "Women in the World". Her writing appears in The Kenyon Review, Poetry London, The Rumpus, The American Literary Review, Locuspoint, The Huffington Post,and elsewhere. Follow Popa on Twitter @MayaCPopa.


 

 

 

 

3rd Prize in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

 

Sashimi

 

I served my loves' sashimi hearts

on iceless beds of clean bamboo.

Some were tasteless, others,

spoiled at the oil-rig of our departure.

There was the horse-mackerel

bucking at the rice, as if another life

were to await. The wheel-shrimp

hugging his white station like a pillow,

the koi promising to love each grain.

I knew the knife-work it had taken

to get here, the hands, my hands,

unfolding origami nerves, widening

fields between modest fish lungs.

I could smell blood on the stone floor,

heard a bell that signaled the start

of an auction. I plucked and plucked

at another urchin's stitches

as my own heart shivered on the scale.

 

©2013 Maya Catherine Popa

 

Judge's Statement

In third place is ‘Sashimi’, a real peach of a short lyric, a masterpiece in painted miniatures. Cold as a fish, this narrator serves minimal portions of emotion ‘on iceless beds of clean bamboo’. Here are seven observations compressed into a single poetic serving, but only after the superb knife-work of thought. Here is a dismembering of attachment, but with the hope of further bloody attachment as the bell signals the start of another auction. Ultimately, it is the narrator’s heart that shivers. This is a clean-cut, tightly organised, lyric; a poem that shows great skill and linguistic, as well as culinary, expertise. It is, quite simply, beautiful.

 

 

Author Links

 

Five poems by Maya Catherine Popa at New York City Poets

'He Called His Penis John Wayne. He Lied': article by Popa at The Huffington Post

Review of Craig Morgan Teicher by Popa at The Rumpus

 

 

 

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