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The RHR Poetry Prize

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”
Albert Camus

Congratulations to the winner of the first
River Heron Review poetry prize.

Alina Stefanescu for “Proper Fugue”

Congratulations also to the four finalists:
Nancy Defoe for “Ekphrastic Apogee”
Joe Amaral for “Epochal”
Wendy Steginsky for “Bermudian Twilight”
Janine Certo for “Losing a Religion

A $500 prize will be awarded to the winning poet, Alina Stefanescu.
The winning poet and four finalists will be published in the August 1 issue, along with commentary on each poem by the judge for the contest, John Sibley Williams.

Thank you to all who submitted to the contest.


Poet John Sibley Williams is the final judge for the River Heron Review poetry contest. He is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize, 2019), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, 2019), Disinheritance, and Controlled Hallucinations. A nineteen-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, The 46er Prize, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors' Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Southern Review, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, TriQuarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.