“I like having a phrase lying around to get poems started.
It’s like having a key.” — Shane McCrae
If you’re like us, you have poems everywhere—half-hidden in files and folders and titled things like “Renewal,” “Family,” or “Conflict.” They creep into margins, install themselves in the pages of your notebooks. And sometimes, you can watch them crystallize around a single photo, a single phrase, a single second.
Our finalist judge, Shane McCrae thinks of these phrases as keys, unlocking the truth hiding in that moment. The poem that forms around those phrases makes that truth accessible in a way no other form can—it invites the reader to experience it for themselves.
So return to that poem, the one that is only partly done but already rings true. Sit with it. Return to the phrase that created it and unlock that door.
The 2017 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize closes May 15th, with a $1500 cash prize and publication in Ruminate awarded to the winning poet and $200 and publication in Ruminate awarded to the second-place poet.
Please, accept our invitation to submit your poems. It’s time to share that truth.
All of the plays posted on "The Brainpan" are the original work of the blog's main author, Randy Ford, and may not be reproduced, in any form, without the author's permission. You may reach the author at email@example.com.