Hundreds of submissions poured into Sunspot Lit for the first $100 for 100 Words contest. Fiction entries ranged from literary to genre pieces (heavy on sci-fi this time, which always sparks the editor’s personal pleasure). Nonfiction prose offered thoughtful commentary on society and relationships, lyric essays, howls that burned down the houses of power, and bright, compact ideas. Poetry was of course well represented.
Many of the entries ran up to the word count limit. A handful made clever use of the title to enhance the work by setting place, time, tone, or other important elements. A surprising amount used less than half the allowed word count, and some of those shot to the top of the list.
The finalists are, in no particular order:
- Melinda Winograd for “Suitable Match”
- A.D. Conner for “Whiskey Mermaid”
- Thomas Boos for “The Bar at the Bottom of the Hill”
- Lory Saiz for “In the Dark: A Micro Essay on Black Sails’ James Flint and the Gay Villain Trope”
- Bob Thurber for “The Shovelers”
- Judith Ralston Ellison for “Zapped by Electricity”
- Pamela Sumners for “Love Poem”
- Jesse Sensibar for “Plow in the Sky”
- Jodee Stanley for “November”
- Mary-Chris Hines for “As a God”
- Claudia Reed for “The End of the World?”
- Julie Goldberg for “We Can Get Another Balloon”
Generating this list from the hundreds of quality entries was like picking a path through a patch of thorns. Many of the pieces that did not make this list still have their hooks deep in flesh and refuse to let go. We hope that the authors of those works will consider submitting through the regular process so we can scoop up new treasures for our readers.
The first-place winner is Pamela Sumners for “Love Poem.” Her piece used the word-count limit to its fullest extent without pushing the boundary unnecessarily.
Pamela is a constitutional and civil rights attorney from Alabama. Her work has been published or recognized by thirty journals and publishers over the last two years. She was included in Halcyon/Black Mountain Press’ 64 Best Poets and had been nominated for 2019’s 50 Best Poets. She was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2018. She now lives in St. Louis with her wife, son, and three rescue dogs.
Her slim ninety-four words start warm, pour on a disturbing heat, then spill blood before looping back into a cool, almost arctic end.
Look for the poem in the next edition of Sunspot. Just take care that you don’t get hurt.