Where are you from? What Nevada places, or experiences, have helped to make you who you are?
Answer that question in Nevada Narratives first poetry contest.
As you know, Nevada Narratives is all about stories grounded in Nevada. Stories take many different forms. This time, we’re focusing on poetry, and the prompt is, Where I’m From.
The poem that inspired this contest comes from the Kentucky poet laureate, George Ella Lyon. I can’t fully quote the poem here, but follow the link for her poem and some ideas about how to use it as a jumping off point.
I’m not a poet, but when I came across this poem in a memoir writing group, I came up with this.
Where I’m From: Circa 1972
By Suzanne Stormon
I’m from that little diner on 4th street in Reno,
steamy windows on winter evenings,
sitting at the Formica counter, swiveling on the red Naugahyde stools,
next to Bonnie, eating corned beef and cabbage.
The proprietor, a short grey- haired man with an Eastern European accent,
world wise and knowing,
loving Bonnie and I.
We, about the age of his daughter.
She, going to college.
She, about to become a reporter on a local TV channel.
Out on 4th street, already a jumbled mix,
the nearly homeless, the prostitutes,
and the random casino workers like Bonnie and me,
all looking for a little taste of home.
I think he worried about the two of us.
A couple of keno runners, we could have gone either way.
The proprietor, let’s call him Joseph, (as his name is long forgotten)
sold meal-tickets in packages of three, five, ten;
good for the daily special, a burger or breakfast.
Bonnie and I bought a meal-ticket nearly every payday.
We’d find a place at the counter at least three nights a week – never at that little table in the corner.
There we’d savor the cabbage rolls, the spaghetti, the meatloaf, the ham dinner.
We’d converse with the hotel-dwelling men who favored the meal-ticket option,
Buying them whenever their luck was running.
Almost everyone a regular, a part of some crazy family.
Joseph presided over it all, a student of the world, war-weary,
open-hearted, father to us-his other daughters.
Sitting at that counter was like sitting at the dinner table in some perfect home,
where everyone is accepted for who they are.
The Contest Rules:
- It doesn’t have to rhyme.
- You can include a picture.
- It can be a poem or a prose poem.
- The piece should be set somewhere in Nevada.
- The title must be Where I’m From, (and any subtitle you want).
Deadline: Feb 26, 2016
Submit by email to sstormon(at)gmail.com. Please use subject line: Poem for Nevada Narratives’ Contest
By submitting the poem(s), you are giving permission for me to (non-exclusively) publish them on this blog. You retain all rights to your work.
The winner will be published on the blog and will receive a $10.00 gift certificate for Better World Books.
P.S. If you are inspired to write something other than a poem, you can still submit it for possible publication on the blog. I’m interested in many types of stories.