Joan is a resident of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where she worked as a reference librarian for 34 years. Her poetry has appeared in Crossing Paths, an anthology of Western New England poets, The Rockford Review, The Berkshire Review and Hummingbird. Her children’s poems have appeared in Spider and Ladybug.
Joan grew up in central Illinois. She and her husband graduated from the University of Wisconsin and made their home in Massachusetts, where they raised seven children.
We are not sure whether Joan Peronto even knows about this, as her son entered her poem in the contest, but she will soon, when an enormous basket (of which we’ll share pictures next week,) arrives at her doorstep in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Thank you, every single one of you, for sharing your poetry with us. We were honored and grateful for the occasion.
Now, without further ado, here is the winner of Portrait of a Bookstore’s Poetry Contest, 2010:
by Joan Peronto
The street’s sedate
and oddly calm,
every other house
a woman’s house.
The widow in the Cape
left her plastic Santa out.
It’s March. He’s fallen
on his face, beside the sleigh.
In the 50’s this street
could fill a school bus.
up the hill in rivers,
dropped their books,
climbed the willows,
roamed the woods.
Then the piper came.
The women fade
brittle as last year’s
They dance alone
inside their houses
until the music ends
Your poem touched and quieted us. Its sense of place and tone, its gentleness, its wisdom, the aching heart of it– thank you.
Are you a poet?
Do you write poetry, secretly call yourself a poet, but refuse to do so out-loud because you think only people who’ve been published have the right to the title? Are astronomers the only ones able to look up and wonder about the universe? Are doctors the only people qualified to diagnose a cold?
Well, that’s not much of a case, we realize, but we want to read your poetry regardless. Why? Because at some point you were compelled to set pen to paper and such moments are divine.
Every single one of you will receive a response. The winner’s poem will be posted on this blog, along with others’ if they’re so good we can’t help ourselves. The winner will receive a basket filled to the brim with the best books our Poetry Section has to offer, along with a POAB Gift Card to be used any way you fancy. We will either arrange to have it delivered to you if you live far away, or invite you in for a cup of tea, a tour of all 5 square feet of the bookstore and present you with your prize in person.
One poem per person, please. Send it to mail(at)portraitofabookstore(dot)com, with “Poetry Contest” in the subject line. No length, style or content restrictions.
Deadline: April 30, 2010 at Midnight
Hurry, we don’t have much time!