A Calling for Entries in the 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry Contest

Announcing the second annual Poetry Contest!

An award will be given to the writer who submits for consideration the most outstanding poem within the realm of health, science, or medicine.

The contest starts today and ends September 30th, 2011. The winners will be chosen shortly thereafter by an elite group of 8 judges (other doctors, friends with literary training, and select bloggers).

The contest is open to everyone.

1st prize – the prestigious, and still pretentiously named, 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry, $500.00, and a homegrown cherry tomato from my garden.

Runner Up – $100.00, and lots of admiration.

Honorable Mention – a commemorative t-shirt, which will probably be funkier than you can imagine.

Poems should be related to experiencing, practicing, or reflecting upon a medical, scientific, or health-related matter.

Last year’s contest was a great success, with over 125 poems submitted for consideration. I received requests from readers to “publish” all the poems as we went along, and so as an improvement this year I’ve established a separate blog (charlesprize.blogspot.com) to share all these great poems. Some highlights will also be posted here on theexaminingroom.com.

So have fun, find inspiration, and send your entry to:
drcharles.examining *at* gmail.com

Rules:
Your poem must have a theme of medicine, science, or health.
You may submit up to 2 poems.
You can submit poems that have been published elsewhere, if you’ve retained the rights.
You can write under your own name, a pen name, or anonymous.
After you enter a poem I will ask your permission to repost it on the blog. You can say yes or no, and this will not affect your chances in any way. You can also ask me to take down a poem at any time and I will. I assert no exclusive rights to the poem whatsoever.

I know there are some extraordinary words waiting to be written, so best of luck, and let the contest begin 🙂

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30 thoughts on “A Calling for Entries in the 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry Contest

  1. O.P.W. Fredericks

    Hello Dr. Charles,

    I’d like to post a link to your contest on my blog and on my Facebook page. Would you kindly note where/how entries to the contest are to be submitted.

    I also read in your “winners from 2010” post that the poem, “TO SYLVIA,” by Maria Basile, M.D. received an honorable mention in your 2010 contest. Dr. Basile’s first poetry chapbook, Minimally Invasive: poems on a life in surgery, is forthcoming from The Lives You Touch Publications, to which I am the editor. The chapbook will include “TO SYLVIA” as well as its companion poem, “No More Sullen Art.” The chapbook it will also contain many of her poems about surgery and the surgeon.

    O.P.W. Fredericks

    drc – Thank you for your comment, and I really enjoy Maria’s poetry. Please let us know when her book is available for purchase!
    Entering poems into the contest is very informal, just email to drcharles.examining *at* gmail.com.
    This post you commented on [http://theexaminingroom.com] would be a suitable landing point for your link (thank you), or you could point directly to the more dedicated [http://charlesprize.blogspot.com] which will be focused only on this contest.

    Just got the first poem entry today, very much looking forward to more, so thanks for spreading the word.

  2. Ruth F. Harrison

    Ruth F. Harrison
    2710 NW Bayshore Loop
    Waldport, OR 97394

    Poem submitted:

    Galileo: moment of truth

    The heroes of our youth … yes, let me sing
    homage to bless and praise those mentors who
    knew and described the wonders of the earth
    we found ourselves alive on, sought to tell
    its boundaries and beyond; all creatures we
    might one day meet when walking in a wood;
    the names of stone, of mountain, flower, and star …
    One such was Galileo, like us bent
    on knowing truth. First space explorer, he:

    7 January, 1610 A.D.
    inventor, scientist, in middle years,
    he sits before his window just at dusk
    to watch night fall to see a point of light
    above the roof of the Basilica
    of San Antonio in Padua.
    He aims his tube where he has looked before …
    Thus, eagerly, a lover turns his eyes
    to his bright lady, scanning every look
    and change of weather in her countenance
    as if for wonders beyond fathoming,
    so Galileo scanned the winter sky.

    A month before, among more distant stars
    the seeker crossed the heavens with his scope
    and watched bright reaches flower before his eyes
    a myriad stars backing the Pleiades …
    He’d noted one bright orb among the spires–
    but now he holds his newest telescope
    whose lenses he has ground to such a power
    objects are magnified one-thousand times.
    Tonight, the planet does not rise alone:
    companioning fair Jupiter are three
    then four small stars to see, all in a line
    yet night by night he sees their places change
    and always near to Jupiter, aligned
    and moving with their world. He thinks about
    our earth’s companion moon, and knows he sees
    a paradigm for movement in the spheres.
    “The worlds do move. They are not fixed,” he says.

    No adumbration yet of what’s to come:
    Not yet the sullen anger of Paul V,
    the pope who banned what was beyond his grasp
    (and there was much) nor envious bishops near,
    small men of spite, nor credulous folk whose heads
    held clerical opinion up for fact
    and knew the shining moon as one smooth mirror
    set out in space to pour its light at man’s
    nocturnal need … Tonight truth shows herself
    before the mind which looked for her in awe
    with strict respect for fact in what he saw.

  3. Tal Berkowitz

    (Previously submitted to Pharos poetry contest)
    The Harder Half
    The Grandma in the hospice lay, as if she 
waited for the day

    That from the moment we see light, if life be day, we call it night.

    And as she slept, and as she dreamed, and as her alveoli teemed

    With grinning Strepto Pneumococc: “The old man’s friend,” the “Reaper’s Rock,”

    She thought of times that had gone by, she thought of prayers without reply.

    She wished that as she slipped away some kind words would her doctor say;

    But as she woke she only heard an unfamiliar Latin word,

    Abbreviations spelling death, with species names that steal your breath.

    She thought she heard that Legionnaire’s, in pipes while we sit unawares,

    Could rend her fragile septa twain, but still the doc did not explain.

    So on she lingered in her daze while diplococci swam the maze,

    Their capsules like an armored vest against the PMNs they pressed.

    “Could it be Staph?” the doctor said, with differentials in his head.

    “Hemolysis I do propose, lets see what sheep’s blood agar grows.”

    Then Klebsiella next he pondered, perhaps inside this woman wandered

    Small immotile gluc fermenters, obliterating pneumo centers.

    And as he thought bacteria from Anthrax to Listeria

    To Pseudomonas with green glow, what dealt the patient’s greatest blow,
    ‘Twas not the pain inside her chest, ’twas not her chronic lack of rest,

    ‘Twas not the bedsores near her spine that hindered her from feeling fine.

    It lay about one foot above her lungs, and when push comes to shove,

    Inside her mind the real pain stood, the symptoms of a life that would,

    Or could. Of “maybe’s,” and “I’ll try’s;” a life that’s told in dismal sighs.

    What if she’d made her dreams come true? But now her lips were turning blue,

    Her skin now pale, her breaths were short, her O2 sats a bad report.

    And all aware the end was near, she spoke with cough, and sang through tear.

    And to the doctor was revealed the diagnosis, long concealed,

    For treating which no balms exist in Gilead or Pharmacist.

    A challenge which his science tests had sinfully left unaddressed.

    And so removing coat and tie he looked his patient in the eye,

    He sat beside her, took her hand, he felt her fingers, coarse like sand.

    He told a tale of how she’d shown a doctor who had never known

    Though half his job was diagnosis, giving drugs to help prognosis,

    Yeah! the other, harder half that wrapped Asclepius’ staff

    Was not taught in pathology, p-phys, or pharmacology,

    And as the streptococci roared, blood pressure dropped, and fever soared,

    As blood from oropharynx lept, death cloaked as sepsis in he crept,

    Our heroine smiled, her mind at ease, the doctor fell upon his knees.

    Through watered eyes he saw a smile, our heroine left a life worthwhile.

  4. Tal Berkowitz

    Et Tu Rugae?

    For your diet don’t fry it don’t smoke it or salt it
    Just boil it and add-on no sauce to exalt it
    Do not drink it with whiskey or vodka or wine
    Do not sprinkle with nitrates, they’re way out of line
    Stay away from Pylori, the Helicobacter
    And take your B12 and your intrinsic factor
    Do not move to Japan if you’re preadolescent
    And keep all of your stomach until you’re senescent
    Your blood group I guess I can’t tell you to change
    And family’s family, normal or strange
    But avoidable risks, you must give it your best
    So that cancer of stomach won’t lay you to rest

  5. Shaw Kenawe

    SCORPION ENVY

    Because he has no prick, a scorpion thrusts
    his pedipalps and grasps his gal to coax
    her in a cunning promenade-de-deux.
    And she, in earnest to perpetuate

    her kind, is keen to work with nature’s lack.
    With eager stings he urges her to thrill
    herself upon a stick he’s oozed with sperm
    from his horny absence. She submits,

    and sits upon the fertilized imposter
    then asks him “Do you come here often?”
    Love’s labor on a log in desert sand
    secures his progeny, his generation.

    He conquered, came, reproduced disphallicly.
    His issues met, his race is in the hole.

  6. Justin Horowitz

    An ode to constipation:
    Oh poop, are you shitting me?
    I want you in my toilet swimmingly
    Instead you have contracted and compacted
    In my colon, quite impacted
    The specious streak on the paper
    Not feces but instead the consequence of sex with Feraligatr
    I should invest in softer toilet tissue

  7. mjs

    The Sunlight Came in Through a Measurable Door

    the sunlight came in through a measurable door
    that opened on water and danced at the shore
    the beams were but particles I caught in my gaze
    that turned and returned in the form of great waves
    it’s a certain uncertainty, a past made pluperfect
    for what had transpired led to different verdicts
    an absolute fuzzy, a gray apparition
    indeterminate forms, a quantum perdition
    if “a” is not ” b” that is all fine and dandy
    when “a” is not “a” I reach for the brandy
    for Science is not, at it’s ultimate core
    a place where the facts become metaphor
    where meaning meanders, where evidence flounders
    where logic and reason are left to sand-pounders
    results must be tested! beware of rank sophistry!
    and though life is elegant there’s no testing poetry!
    unless, to be fair, you have walked on that path
    where Euclid and Escher take turns with the math
    where Alice descends with animals feral
    and dodges the facts laid out by olde Carroll
    but I fear that I stray from the points on the compass
    and lessons are tossed as we frolic and rumpus
    Science, dear Science is not weakened in light
    nor does it seek ridiculous fights
    can you imagine, when sitting with friends
    picking a conflict with Spinoza’s lens?
    or shaking a fist at the stars and the moon
    while performing autopsies on the cat and the spoon?
    subject and object, the yin and the yang
    went out with Einstein and came in with a bang
    but where to go now, in theory and thought?
    and what is the point, when surrounded with rot?
    that is the secret, that is the glory!
    when faced with the lie to give lie to the story!
    and seek not to win in a joust with a fool
    the subject and object are not in a duel
    Science is not circumscribed by the narrow
    and space will but bend the straightest of arrows
    subject and object, particle, wave
    the ultimate truth or a game ‘fore the grave?
    you are a particle, you are a wave
    nothing is spent for nothing is saved!
    and if you are anxious, if the floor starts to give
    fear not the uncertain, it’s how we all live!

    ***

  8. Patrick Wm. Connally

    By the stream of photons
    Traveling since time was first seen
    Radiating out from singularity
    Still reported on my TV

    Past elements shaped in movement
    Pulling together giant lenses of gravity
    Waves of scattered matter formed
    Three generations from a star’s gut

    Mud on the planet, light and molecules
    Together in a chain, a replication, a reaction
    The joining of elements, Darwin proving
    The energized protein, the chains of joining

    The dividing, the infecting, the eating, the budding
    the socialized, the sexes growing bigger
    Cells, division, replication, selection, the sensing
    The sub atomic joining building to sense, remember, discover

    The stream of photons traveling since time was first seen.

    —-Thank you to the folks who brought us The Hubble Telescope.

  9. Gary Andrews

    Garyandrews.mail@gmail.com

    Poem submitted:

    There is no resisting the seas when they rise
    Relentless dispassionate and cold.
    No thought for priests or kings who went about this world
    Ruling
    Responsible
    Invoking myth to temper the tempest.
    Erecting monuments
    Stone gaze across the water below the heavens
    Where sun and moon negotiate the movements
    Of our oceans massive waves.
    The inching quality of glacial remains.
    And we
    We proud and paultry
    We build walls.
    Higher and higher
    Deeper and wider
    Billions of bodies shoulder the water
    “Give us some space
    to feed and find mates
    pass on our genes
    and what we have learned
    of what to expect
    from the clockwork of tides”
    But if Earth has her way and we’re set adrift
    And we have our we and live behind walls
    The glorious order ordained by the heavens
    The push and pull of gravity
    Guiding
    Giving us time to
    Plant
    To ponder
    To wonder
    At the deepest cracks on her face.
    The wisened visage
    Of a woman who has seen
    Too many wars
    Too many walls
    Too many men who believe
    The moon is only as big as it seems
    Or
    The sun has a soft spot for you and for me
    Or
    That by building walls
    As high as we can
    It is we who decide the dominion of man.

  10. gary andrews

    this is the actual entry for the contest. the previous post was the draft. i apologize for the confusion.
    Garyandrews.mail@gmail.com

    Poem submitted: There is no resisting the seas when they rise

    There is no resisting the seas when they rise
    Relentless dispassionate and cold.
    No thought for priests or kings who went about this world
    Ruling
    Responsible
    Invoking myth to temper the tempest.
    Erecting monuments
    Stone gaze across the water below the heavens
    Where sun and moon negotiate the movements
    Of our oceans massive waves.
    The inching quality of glacial remains.
    And we
    We proud and paultry
    We build walls.
    Higher and higher
    Deeper and wider
    Billions of bodies shoulder the water
    “Give us some space
    to feed and find mates
    pass on our genes
    and what we have learned
    of what to expect
    from the clockwork of tides”
    The glorious order ordained by the heavens.
    The push and pull of gravity
    Guiding
    Giving us time to
    Plant
    To ponder
    To wonder
    At the deepest cracks on her face.
    The wisened visage
    Of a woman who has seen
    Too many wars
    Too many walls
    Too many men who believe
    The moon is only as big as it seems
    Or
    The sun has a soft spot for you and for me
    Or
    That by building walls
    As high as we can
    It is we who decide the dominion of man.

  11. Claire

    Do i just post my submission to the blog?

    drc – please enter poems by emailing them to me as noted above in the post. thanks!

  12. Lin

    Lin Chambers
    Poem submitted: “A Child’s Eyes”

    How wondrous
    A child’s eyes
    At the sight of
    A swimming bear
    The implosion of a heated pop can
    The march of ants
    The glow of the moon
    The crash of lightning
    The chemistry of mama’s cooking –
    Be it cupcakes to eat or slime for play.
    The twinkle of fireflies
    The falling of snow
    The fluttering of a butterfly
    The rumble of an engine
    The discovery of bones.

    I never want to grow up.

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  13. Eben Gering

    Hemoglobin

    Two α-chains, two β-chains, four ferrous rings,
    one heterotetramer cradling eight inspired Os.

    Where atmospheres reverse, you awaken;
    meteor ablaze in a planet’s embrace.

    Your losses fuel my distal imaginings,
    stoke the capillary beds of my fingers and eyes.

    Shepherd of soluble flames, you were born in my bones,
    and for all of your life you will orbit my heart.

  14. Gideon Cecil

    AIDS

    You are like a rose blooming at dawn
    your soul like the wind giving you life
    before you were born.
    Life is a choice;so make the right choice,
    and you won’t earn aids as a prize.

    A university student fell in love with his lover called death,
    he had unprotected sex then breathe his last breath.
    His lovely smile like a rose fell at noon,
    he fell in love with his death so soon.

    She kissed him goodbye after sex with a text message on his phone:
    ”Welcome my love to my world of aids!I am not alone!
    Come die with me and be my friend like the fallen flower,
    I come to take your soul away because I have the power.

    Life is a choice learn to live it with a dream,
    Abstain from sex you won’t die with a scream.
    Go to school and don’t be a fool,
    Forget about sex;you will do well at school.

    The wind is coming in the rains again,
    birds are clapping in the angry rain.
    Be like the fresh flower at the break of day,
    Learn to amend your ways and learn to pray.

  15. Gideon Cecil

    I am delighted to participate into your open poetry contest.The poem I wrote is a message to the young and old to abstain from unprotected sex in this world of aids.
    It’s a message about the choices we make in life untimately that will give us a better future.

  16. Mary Anne Cohen

    Vaccines

    A line of children come from school
    Girls in plaid dresses, braids,
    Boys in white shirts, fifties haircuts,
    some were crying, all afraid
    Doctors in stark white, with needles like cannons
    aimed at our small arms.

    “Polio Pioneers”, the first brave shots, a bit of pain,
    But we would not have withered legs like Uncle Stanley,
    a wheelchair like the lady down the street.
    We would not have canes, leg braces, or dreaded
    Iron Lung half-life seen
    In March of Dimes displays
    Our mothers could stop fearing summer,
    send us to the pool again
    Another dread disease stopped dead
    by modern science

    Now New Age nutters rail against vaccines
    wear their ignorance like tie-dye shirts
    years out of style, “All Natural, man!”
    “No chemicals, Organic”

    As natural as the rows of little graves
    in any ancient graveyard, young lives cut short,
    tombstones leaning
    with an awful grief, five children in one family
    dead in one black week
    Of sickness we can now prevent
    with a small shot
    Death is natural, organic, impartial
    Dust to dust.

    We have won an awful war.
    A pox , a literal pox,
    on those whose warped beliefs
    kill babies, whose ignorance and arrogance
    throws victory away

    They all should go to those small graves,
    read the mothers’ grief, fathers’ helpless pain.
    See the blood on their own hands
    hang their heads in shame

  17. James Ph. Kotsybar

    COMMENTS FOR THIS ENTRY ARE CLOSED
    — James Ph. Kotsybar

    When the general public hears about
    A breakthrough in scientific research
    They want to add their voices to the shout,
    So as not to feel they’re left in the lurch.
    That they have opinions, there is no doubt.

    They’ll foist themselves into the dialogue,
    When something sensational’s put in print.
    Though their comments reveal they’re in a fog
    Without having the slightest clue or hint,
    It won’t prevent them posting to the blog.

    Most often, all they can add is their moan:
    “Why can’t science leave well-enough alone?”

  18. Martin Richard

    Schrodinger’s Dolphin

    Some say the dolphin does not exist
    Until we see him
    That when he wheels between the mountains
    And the image of the moon
    It is our minds which do the leaping
    Not the dolphin.

    Others scoff.
    Did the dolphin not exist
    Before the Greeks encircled their amphorae
    With the image of his dance?
    The dolphin does not need
    And never needed us
    To prance.

    But yes, but yes, they answer!
    It is we who have the dolphin conjured
    From our love and admiration!

    Not so! Not so! Some others say!
    The dolphin merely travels as a wave
    Beneath them!
    Contracting to particulars
    When it pleases him to please us
    And be seen!

    The dolphin smiles
    He knows he swims all possible paths
    A happy few of which we see
    But yet he fills completely
    The width and breadth and depth the Gulf
    Of our Unknowing.

Comments are closed.