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The Joy of Reading

'It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.'  Oscar Wilde

Allan Lake: The 2017 Winner

Originally from Saskatchewan, Lake has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton Island, Ibiza, Tasmania & Melbourne to date and visits Sicily annually.

Lake has published two collections; Tasmanian Tiger Breaks Silence (1988) and  Sand in the Sole (2014).  Lake won the Elwood Poetry Prize in 2015.

2016/17: poems were accepted in Australia by Meniscus, Plumwood Mountain Journal, Poetica Christi Anthology, Poetry Matters, POAM, Releasing the Genie, Poetica Christi Anthology, Verge, Yours&Mine Mag, & StylusLit.

Clark Cook: The 2015 Winner

Clark Cook is a Canadian poet who explores the vagaries of love, time, mystery, myth, & the complexities of poetry itself. He works mostly in free verse, with occasional forays into rhyme (humour and satire).  He feels that the best of poetry embodies Robert Creeley's insight that Form is Never More than an Extension of Content. 
Clark taught English literature at Simon Fraser University & the University of Victoria (prison program, BC Pen) & Business/Technical Communication at BC Institute of Technology. He retired as a Head of his department at BCIT. 
Four recent UK anthologies feature Clark's poetry—The Poetic Bond III (2013) & IV (2014), The Bridge of Fates (2014), & Remember (2014).  A fifth anthology, out of Germany & exploring the issue of violence (late Summer 2015), will feature one of Clark’s poems.
Three poems are in a USA literary journal-- (I, ii 2015).
Five poems are in two issues of a journal out of India, Ashvamegh:  the Literary Flight  I & II (Feb & March 2015). See
Thirty-five earlier poems are at 

2017 Commended Poems

The following poets produced poems that were Commended by our judges:

  • Moana Mink for her poem "For M"
  • Roger Sippl for his poem "Lifelong Couples"
  • Dianne Turner for her poem "Signatures of Love"
  • Eleanor Sivins for her poem "The Guarded Ones"
  • Afzal Nusker for "Smitten by You"

2016 Commended Poems

The following poets produced poems that were Commended by our judges:

  • Bryon Richard Smith for his poem "Two Become One"
  • Sheila Marlin for her poem "Look to the Stars"
  • John Ward for his poem "Look At You"
  • Emma Doughty for her poem "Believe In Me"
  • Anita S. Pulier for her poems "How did you do that?" and "Sounds of Morning
  • Denise C. Buschmann for her poem "FDR and Eleanor, a Love Story"
  • Alan Harris for his poem "If Stephen King Wrote Poetry "
  • Sharyn Stone for her poem "It's Time"
  • Adrian Ernesto Cepeda for his poem "As I Sit Here Waiting..."

2015 Commended Poems

The following poets produced poems that were Commended by our judges:

  • Bryon Richard Smith for his poem "What Is Love"
  • John Brookes for his poem "Three Sonnets, linked by love"
  • John Ward for his poem  "Cocoon"
  • Emma Doughty for her poem "Believe In Me"
  • David Lindsay for his poem "Trellis"
  • Uma Venkatramen for her poem "Love's Journey"
  • Wanda Morrow Clevenger for her poem "When I Loved You"
  • David Joseph for his poem "It is You".
  • Steven W. Baker for his poem "Afterglow"
  • Alisha Grace Scott for her poem "Northern Lights"

2014 Commended Poems

The following poets produced poems that were Commended by our judges:

  • Bryon Richard Smith for his poem "The Crossing"
  • Rei Aziz for his poem "A Piece"
  • Margaret Ann Waddicor for her poem "Two souls"
  • Miguel Saporta for his poem "Proof Reading"
  • Thomas Vaughan Jones for his poem "Eternal Love"
  • Penny Sinclair for her poem "Love"

2015: Highly Commended Poem

Like Poets of Long Ago 

Your words begin to flow, 

I look into yours 
And I honestly know, 

That the love we share 
Is like it was a new
And as magical as the day 

said “I do.” 

You speak fWhen you speak poetry to me, 

It echoes through my soul— 
What comfort it brings me 
And makes me feel whole. 

When you look in my eyes 

And you from the heart— 
One poet to another, 
And just as the Brownings, 
We were made for each other. 

by Stacy Savage 

2014: Highly Commended Poem


My onion is my lover
He's the first thing I see when I get home
And open the fridge in desperate hunger
Where he sits add waits on the bottom shelf
So eager to help me make dinner.
I place him on the chopping board
And undress him
His layers tumble off easy as silk
Yet my Lover acts coy about his body
I assure him he is very well endowed.
Soon he is fully de-robed
Naked and ready to be chopped
I split him in two but he shrieks angrily 
And starts spewing sour insults
I chop again and he becomes blind with rage
His juices seething
I feel tears pricking the back of my eyes
After every splice his roar becomes louder.
He tells me I shouldn't have stopped dieting
That I look like an obese leprechaun
And he declares his hatred towards my mother
After she juggles with him and his friends
By the end I am a sobbing mess
And unwillingly toss him into the pan
I always end up crying when he's around
We haven't had a single meal where he hasn't lost his temper.
by Tasman Hogan

2014: Highly Commended Poem


I guess I love you in my way,
I hope you die before I do.
Your stupid face, 'neath brows grown grey
In front of the TV all day.

Your balding patch, how you slurp stew
'Twas you or loneliness, I knew
I guess I love you in your  way
But you'd better die before I do.

by Deborah Jane Willimott

The Gallery of Winning Poets


The Winners Roll of Honour


Allan Lake2017
Nicki Riley2016
Clark Cook2015
Bonnie Roberts2014

Winning Poem 2017 'Her Prince' 

Her Prince

She's a regular at the al fresco tables whereas
I always sit inside at a window table for two.
She and Prince, her Scottish Terrier that looks
like he could be a member of parliament
out and about with his PA (Personal Assistant).

PA's a peony just past its best but still blessed.
There's make-up, hair colour, dangly earrings
and especially those high-heeled leather boots
that adorn a PA with no agenda other than to 
please her adorable, rascally, wire-haired master. 

Every second passer-by pats or tickles Prince 
and she responds like she herself was cuddled. 
People fondle the dog, speak to the dog and ask 
her the dog's views on matters of consequence.
And me? I've observed her, adored her forever 
but she's taken. 

by Allan Lake

2016: Winning Poem 'My Perfect Love'

My Perfect Love

I want the kind of love they write books about 
She said 
Never knew what I was capable of 
Until I had her in my bed 
It wasn't about the sex 
It was more about the trust 
It was never about the lust 
It always just came down to, us 
The safest I feel is when I'm in her arms 
Or her head, on my chest 
Her laugh leaves me speechless 
Her awkwardness is pure beauty 
She has brought out things 
I never knew were parts of me 
She makes me feel smart 
In a world where I've always felt dumb 
She's made me feel whole 
When I've always seemed broken to some 
She brought to life part of me I never knew existed 
I tell her something, she remembers, 
She listens 
She made me feel comfortable for the first time in forever 
She's made me believe 
Happiness can last forever 
I never thought about a wedding 
Like I think about one with her 
I never thought about moving away 
When I think about her 
It seems like a choice I could make in a day 
I'd marry her tomorrow and mean every word in those vows 
If I could fall asleep, every night 
With my face against her cheek 
I'd wake up every day 
With my knees just as weak 
As weak as they did the first time that I felt her in my arms 
Or the first time I felt her lips against mine 
Ever since I spoke to her 

realized there is so much to this life that I'd gladly leave behind 
She is so smart in the way she speaks 
She is so kind in the way she looks at me 
She is pure beauty in the way she makes me see 
How there is so much more than my past to me

by Nicki Riley

2015: Winning Poem 'How to Woo a Girl'

How to Woo a Girl

I wrote you a poem but the words
pouted and frittered on the fringes
of my imagination, colliding with
discarded thoughts and half-baked
ideas which took the words with them
on their way back to the oven.

So I sang you a sweet song 
and sent the fragile notes
trembling across the blank spaces
between us,
but earnest robins plucked up the notes
before a melody could form.

So I picked up my saxophone and breathed
l o n g sinuous 
wails onto the night air, sending
waves of sound to you across the broad meadows
but the waves of sound lost their way in the dark
and fell to the grass, drowning in heavy dew.

My art is a reluctant emissary, 
an unwilling partner
in commending my love 
to you. . . .  
I should give up poetry
and teach robins 
to warble love songs            
in keys you 

already know.

by Clark Cook

2014: Winning Poem 'Beholder'


He does not believe 
in picking wildflowers. 
Not even a single petal 
to remind him of their beauty. 
He gives them a light brush 
of his lips 
and for a while 
shades them 
from the noonday sun 
and then leaves them 

He asks me if I too 
believe in Karma; 
he honors me with his kisses 
and covers me with his body 
and with his love 
leaves me 

by Bonnie Roberts

2017: Best Romance Poem

Kisses In Time

I look deeply into your eyes
Your face I cradle holds no lies
I smell the scent of your caress
My senses rage against your breasts
I hold you close to feel your love
Your tight embrace I now dream of
I taste the flavor upon your lips
My tongue in you it gently dips
Your breath I take away from you
A thief I am of hearts so true
Within my arms you are now mine
Forever lost in kisses in time

by Bryon Richard Smith

Site Visits


2016: Best Romance Poem

Bird Language: A Love Poem

In the Northern Turkish town of Kuskoy, people have developed an entire language of whistles. The name of the town literally translates as “Bird Village.” 

From a housetop 
on a green slope, 
the Turkish man cups his hands, 
rests forefinger on front teeth, 
blows words into space. 

His message trills, gliding 
like a lark out into the valley, 
singing out the shopping list, 
Please buy honey 
at the market. 

His note flutters like 
sifts through arguments, invitations, 
measurements for a young girl’s dress. 

In the market, his wife 
touches the honey jar 
already in her basket. 
The longer we are together 
the less we need to say.  

by Faith Paulsen

2017: Most Original Poem


When I saw Suzi first

Her eyes were brown
Awoke such passions with a thirst
More fit to drown
When I saw her again
Her eyes were grey
Asking not why, nor where, nor when,
If love love stay
When next I saw her face
Her eyes were green;
To love and leave no trace
Where love had been
When last I saw those eyes,
Those eyes were blue.
How strange that I should realise
Old love, once true!

by Seth Murti

2016: Most Original Poem

Dog Sleep

This slip of a black dog 
Represents my heart, I’m told. 
Phew! I love that windmill tail 
And sweet Chaplin stroll. 
lovable, ridiculous dog, 
But his life is already quarter lived 
(I don’t tell him so - of course not!). 
I wish I could offer him a wider, 
Bigger pile, not just a pile of me. 
Take yesterday, when I scolded him 
For stealing a Christmas pudding 
(and putting it on my pillow). 
He (then we) crumpled so badly 
I could revive him only with a frankfurter. 
He’s lying tight to my side as I write 
(How friendly that feels!), 
And he 
his hurrumph on me: 
She really loved me and I loved her too. 
Why was it so complicated for you? 
Then he sighs and turns full turtle, ears fanning, 
That muzzle with flash of gum hard to one side, 
Huge front paws striking up like a disco dancer 
Before folding into their buttery soft flop. 
I wish you could still witness that 
(And the other wonders of our life). 
Every day we 
Bump into 
That wish 
So hard 
It hurts. 

by Dave Pao

2017: Highly Commended Poem

Love and I 

Love and I are no strangers 
My life bears her fingerprints 
left on fleeting visits 
Chance encounters 
enriching my life 
never blossoming 
into a lasting relationship 

Love and I are no strangers 
but she never became a friend 
For she could spread joy 
as easily as sorrow 
but always in extremes 
She was not one for balance 
it would seem 

Love and I are no strangers 
but she always left me in the dark 
never explaining why 
she sometimes gave generously 
then abruptly took it all away 
as though she felt 
we ought to know 
the sweetness of pleasure 
the bitterness of pain 

Love and I are no strangers 
So if we met on the street 
we'd have a chat over coffee 
I would ask why she never stayed 
Her only answer would be 
an enigmatic smile 
and her silence would tell me 
Love and I are strangers, after all

by Uma Venkatraman

2015: Highly Commended Poem


If, for some reason 
you were to end 
it all with me 
tomorrow morning; 
I go to bed tonight 
nestled in your arms 
Knowing I am so happy 
to have known you 
and would not trade 
any of it for peace 
of mind 


If, for some reason, 
I had to end it all 
with you 
tomorrow morning; 
fall asleep my darling, 
know that I have loved you 
with purest and deepest heart 
and clear intentions 
and I know you love me 
as we rub noses 
and share breath 
for this, our last night. 

If, for some reason, 
the universe 

to separate us; 
stay strong and know that 
our time together 
was a gift and should we find one 
another again, then 
it is truly meant to be. 

If, for some reason, 
everything goes according to plan 
and we lay in 

others arms day after day 
remain in the truest love and stay together, 
know that I have pondered every alternate universe, 
and in even the darkest timeline 
I have always returned to you 
and you have always found me. 

by Audrey El-Osta