instagram logo tumblr icon

James Hearst Poetry Prize

Gaye McKenney's poem "Demolition" from the 2009 Spring issue of the North American Review received an Honorable Mention in the James Hearst Poetry Prize.


I was in an online poetry boot camp and had a few hours to come up with that Tuesday poem. Everything I had written that day stunk like raw fish baking on a dry dock. I overheard my children discussing their favorite movies at the time. My oldest said “Little Mermaid” and my middle said “Sleeping Beauty” and my youngest said “Snow White.” When I asked my youngest why, she said the wicked stepmother had the best laugh. And a poem was born.

Devi Sen Laskar's poem first appeared in...

Secret WomenEric Piatkowski
Anchors on chiefs’ and officers’ hats blaze
bronze, gold. Fear holds us, though technically
seamen are navy property. But sex?
Dismissed. Inspection done. Red stripes. White crow.
Each left sleeve flies one. Our navy blue wave
falls apart. First...


Some Music

Across the room, a group of 20-somethings,
winding down their pasta dinners,
discover you can fret your finger on the rim
making even cheap wine flutes complain.
At first, annoying, an assault on ears,
but later like the reel whine
when a line is cast and catches sun,
its bright wick whipped against a sky so blue...

plutocracy revised proof

    In my accompanying essay, I discuss the continuing relevance of nineteenth century political economist Henry George’s discussion of the corrupting influence of money in politics. The decisive event in the history of money in US politics of the intervening years between...

My mother may have been the first American practitioner of feng shui. Before this ancient Chinese philosophy of bringing harmony to the home by moving furniture and other objects to create a balance – sort of an external chi thing – became popular among the trendy, New Age, upper-class, my mother was moving things around our home to restore balance and harmony. During the 1950’s when I was still in grade school, my...

wired-cropedEmily Dickinson’s use of the dash was unique to the poetry of her time and became a mark of distinction, so to speak. It was as if she avoided ending certain key lines with standard periods and ellipses in order to give typographical recognition to a pause for thought. W.S. Merwin once said that he abandoned...

Ritual 29

“Zen Amen” comes from an eighteen-month period during which I wrote seventy-two Abecedariums & Double Abecedariums, all in a metaphysical / occult vein. It was the first one I did, and with fantastic beginner's luck, it ended up as a finalist in the 2007 Hearst Competition.


Jeanne Emmons's poem "Polio Water in 1955" was the James Hearst Poetry Prize winner in issue 291.2, Spring 2006.

Notes from the author:



North American Review
1200 West 23rd Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Phone: 319-273-6455


instagram logo tumblr icon



Go to Online Store

Up to Top