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2 poems by 2 local poets win 2 awards


Shelly Reed Thieman penned her first poetry verses for a fifth-grade Haiku contest.

She won.

The self-described “young and snappy grandmother of three girls” recently won another poetry competition. This time the recognition came for her words in the “Anniversary” category, celebrating The Iowa Poetry Association’s 75 years of publishing poems by local authors.

Being a poet, Reed Thieman enjoys creating a wide range of genres, including highly structured Japanese Haikus on one end of the spectrum and unruly free verse on the other.

Reed Thieman’s winning IPA entry is titled: “On the Anniversary of Another Winter.” The poem was born out of her personal reoccurring struggle against Old Man Winter. Writing the poem is one piece of her plan to be more welcoming of winter’s inevitable frigid temperatures.

Prep Iowa

Madison Bolin enjoys a wide array of activities. The 27-year-old enjoys watching a good dirt-track auto race, as well as spending time with her family and friends. But writing poetry is also near the top of her list.

Bolin credits her mother for first encouraging the poet within to step up and step out of her shell and to share with the world. At her mother’s behest, Bolin submitted work at last year’s IPA contest. The positive experience led Bolin to enter again this year, and she penned an entry that earned first place in the category of “Humorous Verse.”

“How Venus Chases Mars,” the winning poem, came into being by some kind of cosmic accident, according to Bolin. She had originally set out to put together something deep and meaningful, but her mind wouldn’t cooperate. Instead, words dripping with wit, sarcasm and ideas that Bolin found funny kept being conjured within her brain. Why fight it? She decided to give in to her subconscious, and she is glad she did.

“It’s just something that’s blossomed,” she says.

“On the Anniversary of Another Winter”

Tongue-tied with suet and peanut
butter, a quartet of nuthatches nimble
as eighth notes commune at the feeder.
Owl calls my secret name as dusk
raps his chapped knuckles
on the kitchen window.
Dog and I allow him in unshaven,
his face creased deeply
as an ancient blueprint.
A mirage of deer disappears
toward the pond while snow brushes
layers of white over lashes
of the pine bough. Tranquility
lands, light as a moth. I invite
it in for a snifter of brandy
and like the moon, learn
to harmonize with darkness.

By Shelly Reed Thieman, West Des Moines, who won first place honors in the category of “Anniversary,” which celebrates IPA’s 75 years of publishing poems. Reed Thieman also works doing communications for the IPA.

“How Venus Chases Mars”

I wish I could write you a love poem about Space.
All that comes to mind is Russia vs the United States.
I’m thinking like, “How the sky holds the stars,”
or, “How Venus chases Mars.”
or rather, “My love for you is as deep as a black hole?”
“You hold my heart as tightly as Houston maintains control?”
Then again, Houston has as many problems as I do…
Hmmm. Maybe I better stick with I Love You.

Madison Bolin, Ankeny, won first place honors in the category of “Humorous Verse.”

The Iowa Poetry Association (IPA) recently put out its 75th Anniversary Edition of “Lyrical Iowa.” This annual anthology consists of poems written by the people of Iowa. Readers should prepare to embark on emotional and spiritual journeys — some gentle, others less so — while trekking through an array of topics including old bra hooks, turtle-shell repair, littering and something about “running past Zeus and dragons along the way.” The IPA’s compilation features 329 poems chosen from 1,719 entries submitted by poets from 139 towns in 75 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The nonprofit organization works to promote the culture’s passion for poetry. The poems on this page were first printed in IPA’s “Lyrical Iowa 2020.” For more information, visit ♦

One Comment

  1. Martha Patterson Carlson says:

    Beautiful poem by a lovely lady!

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