Alyssa Scull
Allendale, NJ


This delightful concrete poem took third place with its expert use of the form. Although concrete poetry is often relegated to primary grades, this poet proves its form can be very effective when used by a knowledgeable high school student. Poetry can be appreciated on many levels; for the concrete poem, visual is foremost. This flexible and creative dynamic with words allows the reader to 'see' the poem: form is meaning and well as function. However, besides the visual in "Turkey Procession," the poet also uses extended metaphor, single metaphor, alliteration, personification, and wry humor. The poem concerns eight turkeys that "meander" into the speaker's back yard; they are represented as marching in a "single-file line" wearing "special outfits" when compared to the "plain old" speaker who can do nothing but observe this "special occasion."
This concrete poem is written in the shape of a turkey. It begins with one word, "Grander," as the top the turkey's head; then, moving down its neck, the speaker says:

than I would
    have imagined
          for such
           birds, their
           chests puff
            up in pride as
             they meander, plucking
             at grass here and there; it is a turkey
              procession right in my back yard, . . .

The opening word, "Grander," is a superb choice; it represents the dressed up nature of the turkey's color and is perhaps a play on 'gander' for a male goose-another 'overlooked' bird for its stately nature. Notice how the poet uses alliteration with the letter 'p': "puff," "pride," "plucking," and "procession. Later, the turkeys are compared to a "parade."

For the larger 'body' of the turkey, the speaker employs distinctive personification and phrasing. They are "dressed up in shiny black and blue coats, the colors of a / healing bruise"-a grand metaphor indeed-as they wear the "fanciest outfits for this special occasion, this / parade through my town-." Continuing the extended metaphor of a parade, the first turkey is described as the "Grand Master" who "leads the way with a / heave onto the fence and a hop down to the other side, the rest / blindly follow, one by one." This is an amusingly accurate description of turkeys negotiating a fence, using alliteration with the 'h' sound to do so.

The ending of the poem represents the knobby legs of a turkey; they are cleverly rendered and continue the extended metaphor of a parade. The speaker informs us "the rest"

                       blindly follow, one by one, but this leader does not
                              seem bigger, wiser than
                                    the rest,          yet he
                                        holds            the baton
                                          and                 marches
                                           on,                   followed
                                         by a                        single-
                                           file                           line
                                           of                       content
                                   turkeys,            going where,
                       I will never           know, but going,
walking on, leaving the yard to show off for a better audience than plain old me.

The ending of the poem moves it beyond a simple pictorial representation. The speaker compares him or herself unfavorably to the turkeys who "walk on" to "show off for a better audience than plain old me"-a wry choice of words indeed.

I enjoy this poem immensely; its one sentence skillfully demonstrates the pleasures of concrete poetry. White space and line breaks control the poem's visual, while humor and irony add another layer to its meaning. The poem's exact imagery, the push and pull of its line breaks, the sound of its unique word choice, and its wry tone make for an exceptional poem to both view and read aloud. This is a skilled and witty poet of inventive and intelligent writing.

Thank you for the privilege of reading your work!

Marie Kane
Final Judge, Sarah Mook Poetry Contest