1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 4a/ 5/ 6/ 7
Commentary by Dennis Garrison


The Adelaide Awards


Sea Sounds

up into stars
from a cradle of sand . . .
nestled close beside you, I taste
the night.

Carol Raisfeld

This wonderful lyric cinquain makes it look simple - a mark of excellence. From the value-adding title (with two deeply resonant words), to the Line 1 - Line 5 resonant connection, to the so-subtle turn at the end of Line 4, this poem maximizes the cinquain’s particular strengths to produce a poem so polished it seems inevitable. The tranquility of the diction plays strongly
against the vibrant sensory imagery. This is what is meant by “an instant classic.” Raisfeld has created a superb cinquain in classic style.



She loves
the dark stain, yes
the smear of its claret
like an adulteress who shapes
her smile.

Lucille Gang Shulklapper

In “Lipstick,” Shulklapper has likewise made use of several techniques. Her title is a virtual sixth line, which is desirable in cinquain. There is an insight to be had in the L1 - L5 couplet into the dramatis persona. There is an extraordinary lushness to the diction of this poem (so difficult to achieve in poems of such brevity), with lines 2 and 3 standing out. The turn is finely
done, so seamlessly it surprises. Very fine work in this cinquain.



Our earth,
frail boat, drifts on
a vast ocean of sky
while we hold tight and try to learn
to row.

Ross Plovnick

I enjoyed the way Plovnick’s cinquain leads the reader back to the title for reassessment. This poem seems to be a natural lyric but opens into trenchant commentary with the fourth line and its two-stage turn (holding/learning). The turn is such a double-back, it sends us back to the title for understanding. This is very careful, skillful writing and a beautiful cinquain.


At the Boarding Gate

Last call
for departure—
I look around and see
that those who came to say goodbye
are gone.

Bob Lucky

Lucky’s dry humor shines in this excellent poem. It is further amusing that his physical turn is likewise the turn of the verse. Knowing when to stop with the information in a poem is sort of like timing in comedy, an important but fine line. Lucky stops on a dime and gives us a potent and funny cinquain.


Railroad out of bondage

the drinking gourd,
travel after moon-down.
Wherever they hang that star quilt,
turn north.

Rich Magahiz

Magahiz has essayed a subject that is profoundly meaningful in American society and carries a tremendous baggage of social, cultural, and other resonances. The diction is reminiscent of the events but never condescending. Although the reader
must bring something more than usual to the table with a poem like this, its deep allusions will be apparent to millions. This is a hauntingly beautiful poem that comes back to one over and again.


There were so many fine poems in the 2007 issues of AMAZE that there are quite a few more that I wish I could highlight here. I have included below three Honorable Mention cinquains, in no particular order, and also three Honorable Mention Variant
Forms. I think it is important to recognize, along with the finest cinquains, also the finest of the variant forms which are becoming established on the basis of cinquain prosody and spirit. So, I have included a mirror cinquain, a crown cinquain, and a butterfly.

Galactic Lullaby

Some nights
I hear the stars
sing of another me,
walking an opal beach, under
twin moons . . .

Michael L. Evans

Long ago

clash in the sun,
their silver blades flashing—
on the ground, the fallen cherry

Terra Martin


we watch the tide
day after endless day;
what can we say we have not said

John Daleiden


Mirror Cinquain

Song Of The Muse

I am
the candlelight
upon your book of verse,
the shadow sweeping softly through
your dream,
the one
you sense just beyond your vision,
the wind that rustles leaves
once your thoughts are
set free.

Michael L. Evans

Crown Cinquain

Poet Without Borders

the final shot
silence lies within words—
you reach through it, a bloody mute

The words,
half-dead, fractured
lie—blackened or bloated
or buried alive in snow’s deep

On the
empty pages
of the lost words, you search
finding other tongues, lover tongues—

without borders
you resurrect dead words,
breathe life into barely living

In the
quest for language
we yearn for words of peace,
of love, and dancing, we hold hands,

Hortensia Anderson


Whispers at the Window

like spring bouquets
and picnic days that lapse
into orange and ochre whorls,
this life . . .
a single snowflake surrenders
upon breath-frosted glass,
its fragile dance


My congratulations to the winner of The Adelaide prize for 2007, Carol Raisfeld, to those who placed in the short list, Lucille Gang Shulklapper, Ross Plovnick, Bob Lucky, and Rich Magahiz, and to our Honorable Mentions, Michael Evans, Terra Martin, John Daleiden, Hortensia Anderson, and Naia. It certainly has been an honor and a privilege to read these wonderful cinquains and to share my reflections on them. — Denis M. Garrison

Return to the front page of this issue:   Amaze   Vol. 6, No. 1  
Go to the Poets & Authors page for the poet's biographical sketch and email link.
All poems are copyright © 2008 by their respective authors.

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