Read the winning poem from our 2023 poetry contest

We challenged our readers to turn one of our newsletters into a poem — here’s what you came up with.

A graphic with the words "2023 poetry contest finalists"

Drumroll, please.

Graphic by 6AM City

This April, we ran a poetry contest to celebrate National Poetry Month. We challenged you, our readers, to craft a poem using only the words that appeared in one of our newsletters (here are the original contest guidelines if you want to give it a try).

Turns out, you’re all poets and we didn’t even know it. We were beyond thrilled to read the original, creative, and awe-inspiring poems Ashevillians created from our newsletter copy. Check out the poems below, including the contest winner our readers voted for.

Winner: “An Asheville Summer Night” by Christina Hernandez

At sundown,
Fifteen pink alpacas throw a killer party.
Beer and herbal teas in any direction.
Three lobsters appear to see what the evening includes.
The music is provocative.
A chicken is emerging in the mix,
Gentle and dramatic.
In the garden, wildflowers open with creativity and gusto.
Farmers, playwrights and hikers do an artistic walk into the event.
We mix and we match and we include all
Just a regular summer night in Asheville.

Finalist: “HERE’S A MOUNTAIN, WRAP IT...” by Christin Nice-Webb

in sundown cloth. Wildflowers

black to pink and back, drink heat, know
how to party

in down of drab valley. In
a season of lowest hours, you’ve got among.

Behind us, a mountain. One rule: taste
without mapping your plenty. This is the bear’s

spring feast. Do not ask is this how we get
to live, in smoked candlelight? Dig. Here’s

elixir emerging. Keys jam. Hours spaghetti
into day. Having

is not how love begins.

Finalist: “Today’s Forecast” by Carrie Moran

A Wednesday in April and
The chance of precipitation
Takes all our heat.
Can this narrow feeling flow
Without a taste of limitation?

You know it couldn’t
Be more simple;
You’re a sunrise mapping day
On this garden and we’re
Emerging into inspiration.

You’ve got our heat in your system,
Use it how you please.
If today is mostly cloudy,
May our garden turn with the season,
Bringing the music of wildflowers to this poem.

Finalist: “Today Today” by Joe Rhatigan

Scoop the emerging sunrise
In your wings.
Travel the narrow road and
Open avenue.
Submit to the partnership of
Smoked mountain and
Cloth of wildflowers.

Tasked with mapping out
The gentle erasure of time,
You must not wait.
You’re nominated!

It’s simple—more or less.
Change your preferences.
Reset your party jam.
Salvage this only chance.
Today . . .
Or tomorrow,
At the latest.

Finalist: “As High, So Low” by KC De Maddis

To live—the psychedelic theatre.
An elixir of milk + tea—the play, the show, the craft
provides direction to passover the narrow hi-wire of today
+ tomorrow.
To think
is it a game, the drab trap
of hours, sundown to sunrise
to do all over
tomorrow, we may need a break
at times—we can also talk
emerging wildflowers, valley-fresh + taste the Sunday evening mountain crest
+ drink up.

Finalist: “Tanka: Wildflowers, free” by Daniel Walton

Wildflowers, free
to see, to be, emerging
like love in the spring —
An annual drink of art,
April mountain heritage.

More from AVL Today