Uncategorized | March 30, 2012

The Missouri Review and textBOX are delighted to announce the winners of the Art of Omission contest. We asked entrants to compose a short short or poem of 50 words or fewer using only the words contained in an excerpt from Reesa Grushka’s essay “Arieh.” From the 68 entries received, we selected the top five, all of whom will receive a one-year subscription to the Missouri Review. Caryn Suhr, the grand prize winner, will also get a free entry in the 2012 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize. Thank you to everyone who entered!

Grand prize winner: Caryn Suhr

White People and The Wire

You turn to the girl and boy beside you and connect over black city streets and meaningless pay-phones. I understand that recorded language unwinds the blueprint, but are you aware that you are a white girl? And, regardless of the black friend you lost, you are a white girl.

Caryn Suhr is currently an MFA student at Florida Atlantic University. She normally resides in Georgia, but, for the time being, is located in Delray Beach. Currently, she is working on a short story collection and a novel.

Winner: Husnah Khan

Because Jerusalem is a garden,
there sprouts a child’s shoe,
olive trees, and a donkey.
Recorded prayers that cross air
unwind like the tissue of brain.

Cross a street, turn a corner.
Choke on gasoline and smoke.
Tall soldiers circling.
To understand is meaningless.
Banal laws become a new language.

Husnah Khan is a 2010 graduate of The University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and is currently studying for the LSAT so that she can pursue both human and animal rights law. Her passion for poetry can be explored online at husnahkhan.blog.com and husnahkhan.tumblr.com, where you can read all 365 poems from 2011 as well as poems from 2012. During her free time, she likes to raise money for various causes (crowdrise.com/husnahkhan) and spend time with family, friends, and her orange cat, Houdini.

Winner: Dan Souder

I understand, a blueprint is like a chain. It is there, flat on the
street, a measure of narrow functions, orderly and banal. Crossing it
is an intrusion. Soldiers are protecting you from me. I dream into the
past. Broken pay phone, connect me to my friend.

Dan Souder lives with his wife on an intersection near the police, two hospitals, and a fire station. He is using software to learn Brazilian Portuguese. Obrigado.

Winner: Jenn Hollmeyer

You are busy. I understand. I smoke prayers in the corner, burning my dreams. The weeks twist and choke, and time becomes a tomb. You circumscribe my language, and it breaks me. There. The argument crowns. The moon reveals a new road. I will turn. You will pay.

Jenn Hollmeyer is a founding editor of Fifth Wednesday Journal and holds an MFA in writing and literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Post Road, Salamander, Meridian, Etchings, and other publications. Jenn works as an advertising copywriter and paints architectural portraits. She and her husband live near Chicago in a blue house with a white dog named Red.

Winner: Erika Dreifus

Jerusalem Dream

In Jerusalem,
……………you dream of soldiers, effective
……………and tall, protecting the city,
……………the streets, and the olive trees.

……………the orderly chain unwinds
……………and becomes a Sabbath dance,
……………circling over old, flat stones.

The moon is like milk,
……………the prayers, like bells.
……………You understand the language
……………of heaven and God.

Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories, which is a 2012 ALA Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding Jewish literature. She lives in New York, where she writes fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews. Web: www.erikadreifus.com.

The excerpt from “Arieh”:

“Jerusalem is a dream city because there is no blueprint, no draft against which to measure or understand it. The streets are not orderly but twist, as a friend suggested, like the tissue of a brain. And certainly in my first weeks there I felt that Jerusalem was aware of my intrusion and was willfully protecting itself from me. The city undercut reason and the forward flow of time, as well as the functions of a compass—banal laws that I had taken for granted as effective regardless of borders. But to measure and to understand in dreams is meaningless—a busy street becomes a garden. A garden suddenly sprouts a tomb. A tomb reveals a child’s lost shoe, a patent-leather shoe with a broken buckle. Beside a bank of pay phones, an argument breaks out about the number that will really, truly, connect you with heaven. Crossing a street leads you to a new language, a new currency, a new god. Bells, sirens and recorded prayers circumscribe and cross the air. You choke on gasoline and smoke from burning trash, but turn a corner and you smell the dry, gentle olive trees, the aromatic grass. The hawking of wares unwinds past a stand of tall soldiers into a circling Sabbath dance, a white chain of song twisting over flat, old stones, and a girl and a boy with black eyes leading a donkey down a narrow road, the moon in their hair like milk, like silver beads, like crowns.”