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In the spring of 2023, The Orchard Street Press conducted its sixth annual Poetry Contest.  Approximately 700 poems were sent by writers from forty states.

From those submissions, forty-five poems were selected for inclusion in Quiet Diamonds 2023: three for cash awards, including the 2023 winner of our Malovrh-Fenlon Poetry Prize, Sam Barbee’s exceptional “Phantom Pain.”


I would like to thank all the poets who sent their work. It was our privilege to review some remarkable pieces, challenging our judges with the task of choosing the 7% or so that would ultimately be published. I thank them for taking on this difficult assignment.


John P. (Jack) Kristofco



Prize-Winning Poems

First Prize, $500 and the Malovrh-Fenlon Poetry Prize:

“Phantom Pain,” Sam Barbee; Winston Salem, NC

Second Prize, $300: “Fireweed,” Bill Griffin; Elkin, NC

Third Prize. $200: “Into Thy Hands,” Jennifer Stewart; Abilene, TX



“The Uncertainty Principle,” Bill Glose; Yorktown, VA     

“Against Desecration.” Mary Makofske; Warwick, NY

“Almost Like a Maraca,”  Pat Anthony; Fontana, KS

“Romance From Nightfall to Dawn,” David Dragone; Middletown, RI

“How to Write an Elegy,” Kathryn Howd Machan; Ithaca, NY

“To Wake the Dead,” Charlotte Muse; Menlo Park, CA

“Reasons to Celebrate,” Cora McCann Linderbach; Lakewood, OH

“In Everything Once Was a Poem,” Susan C. Waters; Las Cruces, NM

“Inevitable,” Eleanor Lerman; Long Beach, NY



“Adagio,” Annette Gagliardi; Minneapolis, MN

“A Thirst,” Elizabeth Chapman; Palo Alto, CA

“January,” Ben Onachila; Brevard, NC

“On This Silent Morning,” Lorraine Jeffery; Orem, UT

“Before Me, A Series Of Accidents,” Jean Mikhail; Athens, OH

“How the Moon Moved Me,” David Dragone

“It Was My Turn to Eat the Monsters And They Knew,” Michael John Olson; Hamilton, OH

“Speak Risk,” Mark Taksa; Curtis, CA

“Grotto,” Deborah Doolittle; Jacksonville, NC

“The Juxtaposed Open Their Boundaries to One Another,” Susan Jefts; Diamond Point, NY

“Doxology,” Karl Plank; Cornelius, NC

“Beachcombers,” Ron Scully; Burien, WA

“Sonata on a Hill High Above the Ocean,” Charlotte Muse

“The Next Last Word,” Sam Barbee

“Winter Visit,” Kim Karshner; Oberlin, OH


Honorable Mention

“Fatherland,” Mary Makofske

“Open Water,” Deborah Doolittle

“The Unearthing,” Susan Jefts

“Roadside Angel,” Kim Karshner

“In the Spring Shenandoah Valley,” Susan C. Waters

“Dawn Chorus,” Deborah Bachels Schmidt; El Sobrante, CA

“Harvest,” Judith H. Montgomery; Oregon City, OR

“holding pattern: 2020,” Cora McCann Linderbach

“Railroad Baron’s Bed,” Susan Craig; Columbia, SC

“A Stone’s Throw,” Jean Mikhail

“Fish,” Bob Wickless; Reidsville, NC

“Attendance,” Jean Wong; Kenwood, CA

“Adrift,” Jeanie Mortensen; Ludington, MI

“On Being Asked to Write About Home,” Eric Machan Howd; Ithaca, NY

“Still Life,” Charlie Becker; Laguna Woods, CA

“Sunrise,” Ben Onachila

“Facing It,” John J. Brugaletta; McKinleyville, CA

“Watching the writing that we leave,” Catherine Moran; Little Rock, AR


These poems make up Quiet Diamonds 2023, the sixth Edition of the annual poetry journal of The Orchard Street Press