top of page

The Flapper Press Poetry Café 2022 Autumn Poetry Contest Winners

Thank you to all our poets for submitting their work for the Flapper Press Poetry Café 2022 Autumn Poetry Contest! It's never an easy task to narrow it down—even when we have five slots to fill. We appreciate the enthusiasm and artistry of each submitted poem, and we are forever grateful to the poets who created them.

Our poetry prompt for the contest was designed to inspire new ways of creating poetry.

The judges looked for creativity, imagery, and respect for all the essentials in the poetic tool box. We selected five winners and awarded a $25 prize to each, along with publication on our site.

Here were the Submission Guidelines for the contest:

1. Select a poem title from ANY famous poet who inspires you.

Then change the title to make it your own.

2. Using your new title as inspiration, write a poem about anything you choose.

You can use any form of poetry—free verse, prose poem, sonnet, etc.

Your poem MUST BE at least 10 lines or more.

Please enjoy these marvelous poems from our 5 contest winners (in alphabetical order)!


Marianne Brems

(Inspired by Kay Ryan's "Turtle")

A Reptilian Time Machine

A rabbit poses no match for the turtle. This we learned as toddlers. But it’s not about the race, though time is a factor.

Time turns a clever corner when turtle temperature drops. In the pond’s muddy underworld,

heart rate recedes to one beat in minutes. Breathing moves to the tail and nearly stops. Digestion slows to a halt.

Meanwhile negligible senescence,

a further hitch in time, leaves even centenarian organs

untouched by age’s decline.

Should wonder need a further nudge,

remember the house the turtle wears, a weight she drags cross field and pond

but makes a home anywhere for infinity and beyond.

So while the rabbit smugly snoozes,

our hearts stay rooted further on with this reptilian time machine, a creature of divine invention, her carapace, her plastron, and everything in between built to sweeten the morsels of time as they mellow and deepen.

First published in Armarolla October 11, 2018

Marianne Brems

Marianne Brems is a writer of trade books, textbooks, short stories, and poetry. She has an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks from Finishing Line Press: Sliver of Change (2020), Unsung Offerings (2021), and In Its Own Time (forthcoming in 2023). Her poems have also appeared in a number of literary journals. She is an avid cyclist and open-water swimmer. She lives in Northern California. You can visit her website here.


Maril Crabtree (Inspired by Li-Young Lee's "The Gift")

The Gift of Ordinary Life

"I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me,

I escape, one way or another. " — Anais Nin

I wonder if she chose to escape these ordinary redbud trees

blooming their heads off as they dive into spring, or these everyday children laughing and playing in an ordinary neighborhood park.

Did she ignore such ordinary things as tulips nodding in the wind, or raindrops bouncing

over stones in the backyard creek, or the slow savor

of a cup of tea with the morning paper?

Did she think the call of a meadowlark mundane? Did she feel shackled by the soulful whistle of a freight train clacking past her window? If so, I hope

she stood still, opened her hands, asked to be born again

with new eyes, ears, mouth, and heart, with the gift of knowing how to encounter awe, even in a blank universe with moon and stars erased, nothing but deep space,

dark, silent. Even silence, even darkness, can bring ecstasy.

Maril Crabtree

Maril Crabtree is a former French teacher, lawyer, peace activist, environmentalist, energy healer, and yoga instructor, she is grateful for poetry (hers and others’) as the loom that weaves her life-threads together. Her full-length collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark (Kelsay Books), was published in 2017. She has also authored three chapbooks and edited four anthologies of poetry and essays published by Adams Media. Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including I-70 Review, Main Street Rag, Persimmon Tree, Third Wednesday, Literary Mama, and Poet's Market. She previously served as poetry editor for Kansas City Voices and contributing editor for Heartland! Poems of Love, Resistance & Solidarity. More of her work can be seen on her website.


Kathleen Hellen

(Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's "The Duino Elegies")