Poetry: 2012 Poetry Chapbook Contest Finalists

This week we feature new work from the five finalists for the 2012 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest:

John Cross — The Terms of Your Tenancy Are Changed
C. Violet Eaton — Some Habits
HL Hazuka — True to Life: cuttings, mechanics, & modifications
Sara Peck — The Particulars: Oak, the Grain of, Oak
Matthias Regan — Death Blossoms

Mathias goes home in summer

John Cross

Where I’m a known nothing, I size up the moist and living – those are stingers in the clover. I stroll the single lane’s shoulder and boast of the beasts I’ve known. my probable body changes loudly in their eyes, my loved ones’. my arms must be very long; they rise, rise with the heat, things floating in steam. ghost-voice  through  a  cardboard  tube,
I scare the cat. patient lawn outside the screen        deepens,       my  big   storm
unfolds  its  napkin


John Cross earned degrees from the UCLA and the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. His poetry has appeared in Volt, Forklift Ohio, Fact-Simile, Lana Turner, New American Writing, Caliban Online, and other journals and received the 2001 Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. His collection, staring at the animal, won the Snowbound Chapbook Award from Tupelo Press. He teaches creative writing and seventh-grade English at Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, where at the end of each year, his seventh graders, while studying Dada, joyously disrupt the campus.



C. Violet Eaton

points saturate immense
doom tide rock wall
beach house
stone white
lung hum skull
pull wheel
water wicker whiter creel
weather layers
total wintered core of ocean
beat back     wrung
out of nothing     th’
pearl object :
precis     wave form sound
which to contain gulls
heavy of wing to touch
combine effect of them
nouveau arcade light
thro thalassic lens
spens spenser
pantry wuther hover
father locker naval stately
solar numer mobbey dycke
so o sea sick see
these trees
emptied in kite
light sea
tight     delicate
invoke radial intricate
radio reef ship bark
be hold     sun sup
-posing solvent
brittle windowed I
who need to
be held     o so from
blaecen derives
bleach not black
nor –out
that trace of cress
that hair that
stink once pluck’d
tho thou art auld
thou reasonst well
& thy dear thy
dessicant tong
thy thankyoucard
for hold that
seep of ink at margin
-al yr scrim
shaw berk pall tor
tar gilt    all
silence tense to craft
or bild of fat     adipocere
or more precise
of water born are we
& not to air
& not in any realm
what swum in volta there


C. Violet Eaton studied at the University of Buffalo’s Poetics Program and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the editor of Bestoned, a journal of poetry. Recent work is forthcoming in Cannibal, Destroyer, and the Colorado Review. As Dowser, he occasionally dispatches small editions of ‘hill drone’ recordings from a secret location in Arkansas.


also known as W A L D E N

HL Hazuka

(r e e l   4)                                   on 3rd avenue

rapid train mvmnt
is sleep beneath
lamp shade light
reading, cutting, folding
& shooting
all curled up
with a full set of bangs

ice glass lens light
into another dumb holiday

rapid eye lash mvmnt
as a few bubbles burst
the way the carousel plays
between recollections
of recollecting ribbon snippings
& parasols spinning

like multiple layers of clouds
beyond the blazing horizon
of horizontal motion
or a sun accompaniment
the entire way
with kissed droplets
forming out
of a back window
incessant clicking

(r o s c o e)

            stan goes to town
& pretty ribbons in her hair
along with rapidly shifting
& vibrating trees
a cloud rise
between falling flurries
& one red tractor makes
dog belly gaze a dog eating bird house
or a spring romp in snow melting

cease to frame
shovel or sweep
fade cut to fade in
from speechless laughter
to saturated rays

is all a bit too domestic
you bad ass bucking bronco

viewed through window
seeing shades
of not being afraid
as with stealing pancakes
or helping with dishes

(m e l t i n g  w i l d e r n e s s)

            a man climbs a fallen
tree & shouts Geronimo
just as another death passes
below the surface
central park

really there is no here
except another skyline born

torn from fabric
a single element
is how we frame
is how we

city, city, city
Manhattan bridge falling down
so we artist
so we sane



-translated during a screening of the film, Walden: Diaries, Notes & Sketches (1969), by Jonas Mekas.


Heather HL Hazuka is a poet, writer & translator of visual language. Her work has appeared in Fourteen Hills (a Pushcart nominee), Five Fingers Review, Cipactli, Sidebrow 01 and So to Speak: a feminist journal of language and art, among others. She is a contributor to White Horse, a multi-author chapbook (Sidebrow Books) & was recently recognized by Andrei Codrescu in UNO’s Arts & Writing contest. She holds degrees in biology, English (M.A.) & creative writing (MFA). Currently she is at work on one poetic film, several mixed media translations & a novella that really wants to be a novel. She is co-editor of Multicultural Education & the associate publisher at Caddo Gap Press in San Francisco.



Sara Peck

so you have swept me back       walled flush against the

grey of you                  color changing irises in sunlight

in dusk light I can barely see         the long days of your

hands      those early frosts we tucked the tomatoes into

flannel sheets       alone night purples          the one time

with you I didn’t look       as if clammy day hours were

enough to tend the plants       there are the mornings we

kiss open vegetables           hose down the wood-slatted

deck       I’d never kill the stars to see you       as if this

were a deal to make       careful now in your discretions

everything winged is restless         should we go outside

are you interested


Sara Peck holds a MFA from Columbia College Chicago. She now splits her time between Chicago and Charleston, SC, where she manages a used bookstore, makes tea, and sometimes stops her cat from eating the house plants. Her work is published or forthcoming within anderbo, Everyday Genius, and Phantom Limb, among others.


from Death Blossoms

Matthias Regan

I joined the army in 1998 I served as a forward observer
I got out & joined the reserves a drill sergeant an adviser
to the iraqi army I thought that the war was unjust but
in order to expedite our exodus from that nation I served
in any capacity I could to help that cause americans
& iraqi Im not up here to say anything bad about the us solider
the iraqi people the iraqi solider one battalion in toliahah
from 2005 to 2006 I could sit up here & give my opinion
I worked as part of a 10-man team I did have the opportunity
to work w/ the iraqi forces if you want my opinion as to whether or not
rules of engagement actually exist in the iraqi army the answer
is no little or no restrain in discharging their weapons
it created a dangerous mix we had some phrases
spray & pray the iraqis would just start shooting
the death blossom once the shooting started
death would blossom all around I never saw
any civilians get killed but one incident sticks out
the enemy would take pot shots at us wed get mortared
a barrage of fire it didnt matter where or even if
it was just mortars I ran up to the roof one day
& I was trying to see if there was an enemy or where
that enemy was I did see the iraqis shooting the wall
she was running in front of was just being patterned by bullets


Matthias Regan is the author of numerous chapbooks, pamphlets and manifestos, including Oil Slick Rainbows, recently published by Beard of Bees Press. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming from Half Circle and Moira. A full-length collection of poems, Gapers’ Delay: Harmolodic Essays is forthcoming from Virtual Artists Collective. He is the editor of The People’s Pugilist: Carl Sandburg’s Writing in the International Socialist Review (Charles H. Kerr Press). His essays on the poetry and poetics of populism have recently appeared in The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest and Deep Routes: The Midwest in All Directions (White Wire). He has an M.A. in poetry from Boston University and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Chicago. He currently works as a Visiting Assistant Professor in English at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. He lives in Chicago, where he helps to run the Mess Hall, an alternative art gallery/community center, and participates in the Next Objectivists—a free poetry workshop dedicated to the study and reproduction of the OUTSIDEREAL.