The 2021 Anita McAndrews Award Poetry Contest was judged by Maritza Rivera, who is warmly thanked for her exceptional service.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to all the contributing poets from twenty seven countries for your participation and affirmation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Poems will be posted at poetswithoutborders.org
For more information on future submissions go to poetswithoutborders.org
“Twelve children have been killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank this year as well as 67 in the May attack on Gaza”— Al Jazeera, 24 Aug 2021
I knew them when they were not
nameless—beauty like the bloom
of dusk in their eyes. Only God
can make a boy into a garden of
geraniums, and yes, the bullet, too.
I imagine every gunshot was
answered with Allahu Akbar—
the bullet remembering its Maker,
the maker remembering God. God
remembering the day He said
I will create man and the angels
asked why. I imagine the soldiers
visit the roadside shops to pawn
their guns for love. I imagine
they look into the silvered eyes
of those they were sent to silence;
they say o brother, son of my father,
speak, and the reply comes: peace.
I imagine that the mention
of peace is enough to quench
the wildfire of a war brought
to consume the helpless. They say
that at the mention of God’s
name, everything bows, so why
is the bullet so stubborn?
I imagine. It’s the only thing I
can do without fail. Once I tried
to hold a gun; to learn the art of
answering a gunshot with another.
But God hugged me, pried away
the cold steel biting at my fingers.
I sobbed. He let me. His shoulders
were broad, and my tears dropped
like a liquid metal. Once, I tried
to say peace in the eye of a storm,
and stuttered. And God did not
reprimand me for this lack of faith.
About the poet – Timi Sanni is a Nigerian writer, editor and multidisciplinary artist. He was the winner of the 2020 SprinNG Poetry Contest, the 2020 Fitrah Review Short Story Prize, and third-place winner of the 2021 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize. He was also a finalist for the 2021 Lumiere Fiction Prize, and was longlisted for Frontier Poetry’s 2021 New Voices Contest. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in magazines such as The Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, Palette Poetry, HOAX, Lucent Dreaming, and elsewhere.
My people are being shot and I can only throw back poems.
- Khet Thi, died in detention May 9, 2021
"They told me to come to the Interrogation Center," she said.
I thought he had a broken bone. I was wrong.
They removed his organs as a warning
to anyone who dared to write a poem
and read it out loud."
The Generals are not trained
to fight poems but know
verses live in the body
so they ordered one long gash down Khet Thi's chest,
cut out the organs and burned what was left.
They hoped to make the city safe from poets.
It didn't work.
Words still jump from body to body,
heart to spleen, find their way through air
chattering and singing.
On our side of the globe,
we discuss verb choices.
We do not speak of a February coup
or poets dying in Myanmar.
We don't talk of Ko Chan Thar Swe
burned after he left his monastery, became a poet.
We don't mention Ma Myint Myint Zin
shot in the head at a protest
or U Sein Win - his face dissolved with gasoline.
We haven't yet thrown poems back
that can threaten a General
but your words are spiraling in our chests, Khet Thi
and no army can stop them.
About the Poet - Lao Rubert is a poet who spent her professional career advocating for repeal of the death penalty and criminal justice reform. She lives in Durham, North Carolina. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Adanna, Atlanta Review, Barzakh, Collateral, Mer Vox, New Verse News, Poetry in Plain Sight, Snapdragon and Writers Resist.
The day Americans never felt more unified.
The day Americans came together and rose up from the ashes of tragedy.
The day a Muslim woman left her house without her hijab. The day the Sikh man hid his turban in the dresser drawer.
The day my father began tucking his grandmother’s necklace, engraved with a prayer to Allah, into his shirt.
About the Poet - Gabrielle Ghaderi is an emerging writer from the Chicago area. As a half-Iranian woman, much of her work explores multiculturalism, identity, and race. Gabrielle has been published by Blue Marble Review, YES! Magazine, Non-White and Woman, and various local news outlets. She holds a BA in English-Writing from Illinois Wesleyan University
Let us be known
for the plea, sea to sea—one country,
lakes, plains, city streets,
essential work rewarded
long past pandemic disease.
Fairness regardless of skin or origin,
inequity’s truth an epiphany,
warding off war a gain.
Let us be known
for Lincoln and King,
for questioning, inventing,
justice boring through
smokescreens, through hate
berating those dragging their bones
as the richest gain riches.
Let us be known
for opposing those
who sharpen their claws
on our daughters’ plea
for a new economy
steeped in well being.
Let us be known
for clearing the sky for better lives,
now and then—an extra slice of pie,
known for the falcons’ wingbeat
freeing seas of hungry children
as the raptor’s shadow passes
dropping bills like uneaten seeds.
About the Poet – Judith Janoo lives in East Burke, Vermont. Awards for Judith’s poetry include the Soul-Making Keats Award, the Vermont Award for Continued Excellence in Writing, and the Anita McAndrews Award Poetry Contest. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has appeared in journals including The Fish Anthology, Pedestal Magazine, Sow's Ear and Main Street Rag.
When we say we’re for equal rights,
That must mean we’re feminists.
If we’re for civil rights,
Apparently we are black.
We have to label ourselves with
A rainbow, if we want to support LGBTQs,
Yellow ribbons to show
We care about veterans.
And, don’t forget your pink ribbon
For breast cancer survivors.
When will all the labeling stop, so
De-stigmatizing can begin?
When will all the niceties finally fall apart, so
Messy realities can cover over superficialities?
Why can’t rights just be rights?
When will justice, mean just justice?
We’re not all black feminist lesbian veteran breast cancer survivors,
But we can all be the Americans America needs us to be.
About the Poet - Samantha Terrell , author of Vision, and Other Things We Hide From (Potter's Grove Press), is an internationally published American poet whose work emphasizes self-awareness as a means to social awareness. Her poetry can be found in publications such as: Anti-Heroin Chic, Dissident Voice, Fevers of the Mind, In Parentheses, Misfit Magazine, Red Weather, Sledgehammer and others, and has been featured on radio shows and podcasts from Wyoming to Glasgow and beyond. She writes from her home in upstate New York.
“Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.” Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18.
he reads the holy koran
heads to the mosque
she reads the holy bible
he is muslim
she is christian
married 25 years…
he prays the rosary
confesses his sins to a priest
she teaches Sunday school
cleans the church on Saturdays
he is catholic
she is moravian
married 50 years …
she worships on saturdays
keeps the sabbath holy
shuns the swine
he walks & meditates
keeps his temple holy
loves bbq ribs
she is adventist
he is agnostic
married 35 years…
& so it is
love is respect
respect is love
love is peace
peace is love
but only among the wise
About the Poet - Daisy Holder Lafond was born on St. Thomas, USVI; has lived in New York, Trinidad & Tobago and Toronto, Canada, where she studied Creative Writing and Magazine Journalism. A former newspaper editor, columnist and magazine publisher, her work has appeared in various publications including Canadian Author & Bookman, The Globe & Mail, The V.I. Daily News, The V.I. Voice, The Caribbean Writer, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Moko Caribbean Journal, Poui Cave Hill Literary Annual and Interviewing the Caribbean. Additionally, she is co-author of All This is Love – A Collection of Virgin Islands Poetry, Art & Prose. In 2012, she received The Caribbean Writer’s Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize and in 2016 was Second Place Winner in Small Axe Poetry Competition. Additionally, she is a V.I. government retiree and resides on the island of St. Croix, USVI. She has two adult sons and one granddaughter.