The 2015 Janet McCabe Poetry Prize

by Ruminate Magazine March 02, 2015

Ruminate Magazine is excited to share with you the winners of the 2015 McCabe Poetry Prize. We received a total of 511 entries. The winning poems were selected by our final judge, Dan Beachy-Quick. You can read the winning poems in Issue 36, which will release in mid-September.

FIRST PLACE: “The Book of Never Saw” by Jody Rambo

Jody Rambo
is the author of Tethering World (Kent State University Press, 2011), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Award. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Cutbank, Gulf Coast, Quarterly West, Sycamore Review, Salamander, The Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. She is the recipient of four Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council. She teaches creative writing at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Our final judge Dan Beachy-Quick writes: More than an homage to Emily Dickinson, whose spirit lovingly haunts this poem, "The Book of Never Saw" describes a faith Dickinson also practiced: that word and world are of most intimate relation. Here, imagination unfolds into experience of the most rarefied kind, where the unseen and the unlived betray their native lack and invert nothingness into a form of life. Forgive me, though, for making the poem sound merely philosophical--it's far more than that. The language sings a plain-song of pure lyric realization, lulling and quickening at once. To read it--and it should be read often--is to become like the bird alive in it: caught up, in the midst of praise, in "the small commotion of wind" any true poem most truly is. 

SECOND PLACE: “War Notes: Rome, 1940” by Andrew Deloss Eaton

Andrew Deloss Eaton
was born in 1981 in San Diego, California. He was raised throughout the U.S., living in Las Vegas, Missouri, and Virginia and elsewhere, before relocating to Northern Ireland, where his wife is from. In 2015, he completed a PhD at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, part of Queen's University, Belfast, where his thesis was on modern manifestations of the American elegy in poetry. His poetry meditates on themes of belief, transience, and violence, and some of his recent poems grow out of his listening to a series of cassette tapes left to him by his namesake paternal grandfather who he never knew, and who was captive for three years in a prison camp during the Second World War. He is currently finishing his first complete manuscript, and his poems and criticism appear or are forthcoming from Hayden's Ferry Review (online at The Dock), Magma, Pleiades, and Poetry Ireland Review. He lives in Belfast.

HONORABLE MENTION: “Elegy in which My Mother Learns to Swim” by Jody Rambo


2015 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize Finalists:

John Blair, “A Philosophy of Gravity”
Rebekah Hewitt, “Because Longing is Part of Belonging”
Linda Malnack, “That I Might Know You Utterly”
Kevin McLellan, “You Grip a Key”
Clare Paniccia, “On Seeing the Doe”
Melissa Poulin, “What Fills” and “Imsland”
Jill Reid, “Code Blue”
Mara Scrupe, “the iris the peony the dogwood bloom (If War Came to You)”
Emily Shearer, “Reciprocation”
Kathryn Smith, “Gathered”
Mark Wagenaar, “Bird's Eye Impromptu”

Thank you to all of you who entered Ruminate’s Poetry Prize!


Ruminate Magazine hosts an annual contest for short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. You can read more about our writing contests and art contest here.

Ruminate Magazine
Ruminate Magazine


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