American Gothic:'s POE-try Contest Winners!


As the proud sponsor of the world premiere of "Usher" at the Planet Ant Theatre, written and directed by our co-founder and former theatre critic John Sousanis, we held a contest to win two tickets to this Edgar Allan Poe inspired play. Contestants were to submit an eight to sixteen line poem about love, death or madness (preferably all three).

We received a wealth of submissions, but in the end there could only be one winner. That distinction goes to John Jeffire, for his "Personal Ad." It's pretty non-standard as poems go, but it hit home on the themes of death, love, and madness. So congratulations to John and all the other finalists presented here, and to the many more of you whose poems we didn't have space to run. We hope to hear from you all again next time - and remind you to check out our monthly Lit section to submit your work for submission.

Don't forget Usher opens this Friday, March 18. We hope to see you there.

Usher - a new play, written and directed by John Sousanis. Adapted from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" Runs from March 18 - April 10 at Planet Ant Theatre. (Previews March 11 - March 17) Tickets are $15.00, $10.00 for students/ seniors, $5.00 off for Hamtramck residents. Group rates available. Call 313-365-4948 for reservations Planet Ant Theatre is located at 2357 Caniff Ave in Hamtramck MI, 48212

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John Jeffire - "Personal" - Grand Prize Winner.
What can we say - seeking love, certainly the work of a madman, red of blood - love, life, and death. Great work.


John Jeffire

John actually submitted enough pieces to hold a contest all his own - here's one more mad poem from our grand prize winner.

4 Day Binge

When paranoia shows, well,
It's time to close the doors.
No one knows who let him in
Or when he first walked through
But he's here plain as day
Over there in the corner,
Silk tie and a seed in his teeth,
Introducing your wife to the
Mistress you never knew you had,
Touching her arm and spilling his drink
On the pivotal page of your
Manuscript, fiddling with
The knobs of the gas stove
And lighting a Turkish cigarette.



Anton Petrov

Anton went way over the 16 line limit as stated in our rules. However, he claims to be from Montreal, so we thought it might be some sort of metric-conversion thing. Plus he included a pretty cool drawing of a Raven with the work. (Anton also did some pretty interesting gothic fonts that we were unable to preserve for the web, sorry Anton.)

the Poe't

Perched in shadow, 'top the door
Raven's sitting like before
Gazing sharply through the hall
With eyes fixed on short and tall.
Each and everyone that passes, Being late for morning classes
Running, walking, silent, talking; Every member of the masses
Raven sees and raven knows.
So begins the Raven's prose…

On the eve of early march, as he sat on top of larch
Gazing always into darkness, watching people passing by
Raven sensed that something quaint, not so distant, yet so faint
Drawing nearer every moment, almost catching raven's eye
Was approaching from afar, radiating light like Star
Up the heaven in the sky.

As the star was moving nearer, Nightly vision became clearer
What he thought was but a spark, in the depth of stellar mirror
Slowly grew and formed a shape,
And as Raven in the park sitting always, perched on duty
Out of shadow, from the dark, cometh She, celestial beauty.
Like an Angel that escaped…
…From the heaven to the earth
And was given earthly birth.

Blinded by fantastic beauty, Raven had no courage left
Sitting quietly on duty, frightened and of love bereft.
Perching motionless on top, fearing that his heart would stop.
Realized he that She's leaving, so returned He to believing
Her return like every evening, as if guided by the Fate
Her tomorrow He'll await.


Victor Pytko

Artist Victor Pytko shows he's fluent with words as well as paint, with this piece that stuck most strictly to the rules of our contest.

Love, Death or Madness

Love, death or madness
It matters not the pain
The end is the same.

Hate, life or sanity
Similar afflictions
Just polar opposites

During their disquiet
Reason fails; there is
no calm understanding

Love, death or madness
Hate, life or sanity
Compelling, unavoidable trios

The outcomes never
quite satisfy, still
what else is there?



We close out with two poems about love from Jennifer Zajac and Jaye Allen Thomas.

Jennifer Zajac

Stealing Seconds

A glance, a brush, a breath
In moments when nobody's watching.
Anticipation for stolen seconds.

A stare, a smile, a laugh
Rushing away from being drawn back.
Stealing pieces of what you lack
But the puzzle can't be solved.

Yours doesn't love you,
The other is amazing, forbidden and new,
So stealing seconds will have to do.

Jaye Allen Thomas


a moth to a flame
a tongue to a name
whispering longing
and writhing in pain
feverish touching
fire is lovely
softly resign
as it rises above me

Again, thanks to everyone who participated in our POE-try contest. It was a lot of fun, and we hope to do another such event soon. See you at the play!

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