Poetry: 2013 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest Finalists

This month we feature new work from the five finalists for the 2013 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest:

Elizabeth Cross — Learning English
Sarah Heady — Corduroy Road
Pattie McCarthy — x y z & &
Mary Molinary — Nucleic Song
Benjamin Sutton — Then, The Unabridged

The Complement of a Verb

Elizabeth Cross

I was obedience of ear and delight of eye.
There were senses more but they must remain in the privacy from which they began,
which is in the predicate–expressing what is said in solitary action—
a dense place sometimes difficult to hold as incomplete given my prediliction to want

The complement of a verb may be a phrase or clause.
The complement of a girl may be a bird.

In complete predication,

The girl runs, walks, thinks
The bird sings, flies, eats

She has hidden her bird deep inside.

Some verbs are incapable of forming a complete predicate without the aid of one or more
worlds—such are called verbs of incomplete predication.

If we assume each new item of vocabulary or new grammatical rule
takes some finite time to be learned, we learn that the human is mortal and weltered,
but the word divine and calling.


LizpicElizabeth Cross lives in Falls Church, Virginia. Previous publications and grants include American Letters and Commentary, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, P-Queue, Michigan Council for the Arts, and the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing.

from Corduroy Road

Sarah Heady

day-mote spins in sunlight
by the door jamb

my sudden lyric,
your panicked blinking

baying wolves in human dress
terrorizing a switchback last all
hallows’ on the shunpike

foreign emblem righted by gravity
while at sea, tell me the west
and east signs of my truly being here—

stretched taut across two consecutive fields
between mountain and mountain

(look down, daughter:
it’s the maze in your navel
in lieu of a ring or a cord)


sarah headySarah Heady is a poet and essayist with roots in New York State’s Hudson Valley. Her first full-length collection of poems, Niagara Transnational (Fourteen Hills, 2013), was the winner of the 2013 Michael Rubin Book Award. Sarah was a founding member of the New Philadelphia Poets, a writing and performance collective whose work was featured at the Philly Fringe Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club and the Kelly Writers House. In 2013 she was a writer-in-residence at Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska. She lives in San Francisco and writes on human geography, the built environment and American history. More at sarahheady.com.

the listening girl (repetitions exist)

Pattie McCarthy

yourself mezzanined       warmer    efficient shift
a hand working     a foot working     let’s have
a bit of shush     between above & below stairs
                 in a conspiracy we breathe together

the language of gestures              he liked making
paintings of women spinning    reading    cooking
lacemaking        listen in listen listen hush
            you’re making so much noise I can’t hear you

let us consider the surface of domestic order
or not   let us consider the domestic
            or feral pigeon let us pluck it like a chicken
let us empty the wine jug let us be reckless & overheard

this image lets us be privy to      above & below
stairs     different privities    defense of domestic territories

•Nicolas Maes, The Listening Housewife (The Eavesdropper), 1656
•Nicolas Maes, The Listening Housewife, 1655


NS pmPattie McCarthy is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Marybones (Apogee Press 2012), and the forthcoming nulls (Horse Less Press 2014) and Quiet Book (Apogee 2015). She is also the author of the forthcoming chapbooks scenes from the lives of my parents (Bloof Books 2013), fifteen genre scenes (eth press 2013) and x y z && (Ahsahta Press 2014). A 2011 Pew Fellow in the Arts, she teaches at Temple University.

Dead Leah among the Aleppo & Olive

Mary Molinary

For four days & nights Dead Leah was filled with bees. Humming & filled with bees,
Dead Leah appeared to be part of something larger. On the morning of the fifth day, the
bees disappeared just-like-that leaving Dead Leah largely devoid of bees but not emptied.
The scent of creosote began its waft.

Later that day it rained.
Two bees remained with Dead Leah:  one on her left temple between eye-socket & ear;
the other smaller bee on her lower lip:

            “hummmm-ummmm” says Dead Leah, “buzzzzz-buzzzz”


molinary earMary Molinary, who—as it turns out—splits her time between Memphis and Tucson, is the author of Mary & the Giant Mechanism (Tupelo Press 2013) and currently is residing, teaching, and tending bar in Tucson. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her other honors include the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize offered by Beloit Poetry Journal and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her manuscripts have all been finalists a number times for book competitions including the National Poetry Series and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a range of print and online journals such as Beloit Poetry Journal, New American Writing, H_NGM_N, Bright Pink Mosquito, Crazyhorse, Poetry International, New Orleans Review, Contemporary American Voices, Pindeldyboz, Jellybucket, and spork. Her work has been performed primarily in Memphis at The Dairy, the P & H Café, and Sparrow House. Experiments in public poetry & art have appeared in league with MAB (Memphis Art Brigade) and will likely appear soon in Tucson.

from Oddments

Benjamin Sutton

someday: in lieu of sky              a kitchen rag full of bees full on bees


the nowgone myth repressed                 the day: one frame approaching


:          remember it’s not bad               to not remember


a mother to toss it to begin, as if to say here                 the river


noway notaway to not look     to say


:          that moment?


the houses staved & stilted                  not a mention of flood


:          that moment:    tongue in place of teeth


the houses stilted for the many              so many dropped to belly


BenjaminSuttonBenjamin Sutton recently won the Kay Murphy Prize from the University of New Orleans and Bayou Magazine, judged by Dawn Lundy Martin. Other poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2013The Literary ReviewRedividerSycamore ReviewSalt Hill, and Third Coast, among others.