2019 JRMPC Winners – Joy

Click the cover to purchase your copy of the 2019 Sunbeams Anthology.

2019 Cover art winner

1st Place – $100 – Dana K. Leahy – Urbandale, Iowa

Dana K. Leahy

Although Dana has worked almost exclusively in the creation of stained glass mosaics and word art for the past 15 years, she enjoys an occasional return to her first loves of water color and oil painting. Raised in rural Iowa along the shores of the Mississippi River, she has a deep affinity for the natural world and a fondness for any and all art forms that celebrate and revere it.

Dana’s artwork can be viewed at: sites.google.com/site/danaleahyproject66



2019 Poetry Winners

1st Place – $300 – Virginia Watts – Wayne, Pennsylvania

Virginia Watts

Virginia Watts is the author of poetry and stories found in The Florida Review, The Moon City Review, Palooka Magazine, Burningwood Literary Journal, The Helix, Ginosko Literary Journal and others. Nominee for Best of the Net 2019 in nonfiction and the recipient of a Pushcart nomination, Virginia resides near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.





Why I chose “Choose a Memory to Keep”…

Poetry for me has always been about eliciting emotion more than logic. This poem made me instantly feel. While it reminds me subtly of Dylan Thomas’s villanelle “Do not go gentle into that good night,” it is more hopeful, filled not with rage against the dying light, but joy. Watts’ line “There will always be enough time” is not literally accurate as moments and people cease, but she successfully tacks a memory on the wall of her life, elongating time. I can see myself, family, friends and neighbors inhabiting this poem. When a writer can transcend beyond their own experience to the life of another, then they have truly done something great. Thank you Virginia.

-Brett Ramseyer

Choose a Memory to Keep

by Virginia Watts

Summer nightfall, but not yet

Light searing off its last energy

a blaze of orange ember igniting

the high up things, sun sudden

on a plane wing casting igneous

gold over glass panes

attic windows next door

tree tops greener

than they really are


Summer nightfall, but not yet

Dogs bark, howl, doors bang

neighbors calling for barefoot kids

chlorine-haired, shoulders sunburned

playing hide and seek on cooling grass

tongues blue, red, Fla-Vor-Ice sleeves

emptied, abandoned on porch steps

teeming with happy, black ants


Summer nightfall, but not yet

Cricket engines humming through mesh

screens, outside shapes, rooflines, chimneys

lightning rods, swing sets, charcoal grills

standing on stilt legs peering over ditches

Even as stars break through, tremble

It doesn’t feel like the end

There will always be enough time

to be a part of this summer nightfall

There will always be enough light left

in a backdrop sky to find this place

And I will always know

exactly where I am



2nd Place – $150 – Jean Prokott – Rochester, Minnesota


Jean Prokott

Jean Prokott has appeared in Quarterly West, Midwest Gothic, and RHINO, is a recipient of the AWP Intro Journals Award, and a finalist for RHINO’s Founders’ Prize. Her poetry collection received third place in the Cathlamet Prize for Poetry with Ravenna Press and was a finalist for the New Issues Poetry Prize. She is a graduate of MSU Mankato’s MFA program, holds a Master of Science in Education, and currently teaches high school in Rochester, Minnesota.




Why I chose “The Second-Largest Ear of Corn in the World”…

I found this poem to be hilarious, yet tinged with the melancholy of a mid-Western town facing economic decline. “my God, you’re lucky!” to have a water tower shaped like a giant ear of corn outside the kitchen window made me laugh aloud at the absurdity of it all, but phrases about leaving this world behind, one star reviews and starting wage all gave the light-hearted surface of the poem a real world depth I admire.

– Brett Ramseyer

The Second-Largest Ear of Corn in the World

by Jean Prokott

We can see it

from our kitchen window,

and I know you’re thinking

my God, you’re lucky!

At night, it’s lit

from the bottom

—a rocket ready to leave this world behind—

and some nights

I crawl out the window

and board. I climb

its spindly legs,

pass the green husk,

and hike the yellow skull teeth,

which are painted

with Ls in the corner

to mimic the kernels’

gleam. Maybe I’ll dive

inside, swim in the 50,000 gallons

of water meant for all

the city.

Maize God!

The unanswered

Google question asks:

what is starting wage?

The city wants to tear

it down, and I wish

we’d eat it instead

so we could see its raw gums

rather than empty space.

I bought a shirt with its picture

on the front. It says

Eat Local.

The Second-Largest Ear of Corn in the World

has 4.3 stars on Google.

The one star review:

it’s not real corn.

The five star:

I expected nothing, and it gave me everything.

3rd Place – $75 – Dave Lull – Glen Ellyn, Illinois



Dave Lull

Dave enjoys writing poetry, fiction and science fiction that is humorous and/or reminiscent. His professional background in user experience design includes various types of writing; he has written two professional books on design. He lives with his wife in the Chicago suburbs and enjoys art and scale modeling.





Why I chose “When Trains Were the Toy of Choice”…

I have long since lost the innocence of childhood, but Lull took me back to the anticipation of the coveted toy. As model boys in search of model trains this tale of two friends sharing a pure joy together brings me nothing, but smiles.

– Brett Ramseyer

When Trains Were the Toy of Choice

by Dave Lull

My friend and I, rich with our long-awaited birthday money

(well deserved for being such delightful boys for seven years),

would bike to the hobby shop

on a sunny summer Saturday

to marvel at the model trains.


Each of us packing more than ten whole dollars

for the sweet agony of decision,

we entered our Mecca of high ceilings

and old varnished wood and glass cases,

and shelves of colorful models of all kinds:

trains and cars, boats and planes;

but of course we zeroed in on our favorite ones –

those that coupled into the magnificent multi-wheeled chains of transport

we held in such esteem –

with screamed whispers of “look at this” maybe twenty times,

wide-eyed and oblivious to all else.

Later we took our usual final step of looking through the magazines,

conscious of the watchful owner’s eyes.

And then, finally,

traded in our money for a box of plastic pleasure.


And then we’d leave with our treasures

and discuss on the quicker ride home

exactly how we were going to spend the afternoon

with a “can you come over later”

so we could show the results of our meticulous work,

building kits which would cost us ten entire minutes

of compulsory patience to make.


And we’d sit in the cool of our basements with our mothers’ lemonade

and ooh and ahh and dream beyond our capacity

and talk about future plans and how we would save up

to buy what we’d need to achieve them.


And later that night when I went to bed,

after watching Twilight Zone or part of Shock Theater,

I would lay there with my tattered train catalog and wonder

whether heaven was something like Saturdays in summer.

2019 Finalists (in alphabetical order)

Marcus ElmanMarcus Elman for “Cherry Orchard at St. Blaise” – Venice, California

Marcus Elman’s delight in the play and movement of words is a natural extension of his youth as a sportsman and years as a professional dancer/teacher in the United States, Europe and Asia. Marcus, recently, was a semi-finalist in the Sixth Annual Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, was the featured poet in Cultural Weekly (September 27, 2018), and was given an honorable mention in Beyond Baroque’s 2017, eighth annual poetry contest. Marcus has been published in Best of The Poetry Salon, Volume I, 2013-2018,
and, Method & Mystery – A Research-Based Guide to Teaching Poetry, also published by the Poetry Salon. He is a graduate of American River College, UC Davis, and Pepperdine.


Susan Pryor Hooks – for “The First Library I Loved” – Austin, TexasSusan Pryor Hooks

She is a mother, grandmother, volunteer, gardener, piano student, but first and foremost a word lover.



Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis  for “Why May Day Matters” – Portland, Oregon

Richard Lewis is a writer in Portland, Oregon, who has published one chapbook of poems with Finishing Line Press, How Things Are. “Why May Day Matters” springs from an annual May Day celebration in Portland, with its Morris dancing, singing, and May Pole, and the joyful spirit he has found in it every year for more than 30 years.



Raina Manuel Paris

Raïna Manuel-Paris for “If I Gave a Party” – Los Angeles, California

Raïna Manuel-Paris is the product of a French father and a mother from the Dominican Republic. Raïna has an MFA from Columbia U in Film and a Ph.D. in Myth and Depth Psychology from PGI. She teaches Myth, Ritual, Psychology and creative writing for the last 18 years. Currently she teaches at Relativity Studio school and at PRS. You can find some of her lectures on http://www.PRS.org and articles on http://www.JCF.org.
She is a published author of non-fiction (the Mother-to be’s Dream Book,) articles, and poetry, and she recently completed her first novel. She offers her the Cradle and the Crown seminars on a regular basis, and she gives Tarot reading from her unique alchemical perspective. Find out more at http://www.rainamparis.com

Robin Susanto 2019Robin Susanto for “[Unless a stranger]” – Vancouver, Canada

ROBIN SUSANTO is a teacher, translator, and writer. His poems and fiction have appeared in a few magazines and anthologies, including the New Quarterly, Contemporary Verse 2, Blue Print Review, and “Wild Weathers,” an anthology of love poems published by Leaf Press. His translation of an Indonesian novel was published by the Lontar Foundation under the title “Never the Twain.” His poems won honourable mention in the 2017 Ross & Davis Mitchell prize for Faith and Writing contest, and more recently the 2019 William Henry Drummond poetry contest.


Dawn Terpstra for “Grace” – Lynnville, IowaDawn_Terpstra

Dawn Sly-Terpstra is pursuing her lifelong passion of writing poetry and non-fiction. She enjoys discoveries of culture, magic, and family wherever she travels. With deep roots in her home state of Iowa, she is inspired by connections to the natural world. Her work appears in Lyrical Iowa, Haiku Journal, Cathexis Northwest Press, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review and in a forthcoming issue of High Shelf Press. She has spent a career in communications and marketing and currently leads a corporate communications team.


Jo Barbara TaylorJo Barbara Taylor for “Dozing on St. Simons Island” – Raleigh, North Carolina

Jo Barbara Taylor lives near Raleigh, NC. Her poems, fiction and academic writing have appeared in journals, magazines and anthologies, most recently, North Carolina Literary Review and Broad River Review. She has published four chapbooks and a full-length collection, How to Come and Go (Chatter House Press). She chairs the workshop committee for the North Carolina Poetry Society, coordinates a quarterly poetry reading series for a local independent bookstore, and leads a poetry writing “funshop” in Durham.


Without this generous few this contest would not be possible.  I am forever grateful for your contributions.


Beth Snider – $500 – Flower Garden Level Patron & 2 time Sunbeams poet

Deb Bustraan – $180 – Daffodil Level

Shelly Reed Thieman $50 – Trillium Level & 2018 1st Place Poet

Dianalee Velie – $50 – Trillium Level & 2019 Sunbeams poet


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