© Sol Magazine 2000

POET LAUREATE SPONSORS:  Mary Margaret Carlisle, Lois Lay Castiglioni, Jim Lay, Leo F. Waltz.

We had eight finalists in our Poet Laureate 2000 Contest, all of whom had to pass through a series of tough eliminations to reach the final contest.  Our best congratulations to all of them!

POET LAUREATE JUDGES:  Michael Cooper, Warner Conarton, Jackie Jordan, Stephen Kennedy, Janet Parker.  Look for biographies, poems, essays and photos of our excellent judges at our web site:

You may also view photos and biographies of each finalist and our winner at our web site.


"Sol Magazine is a tremendous gift, not only to the poets among us and potential poets, but also to all of humanity whose overwhelming need for the poet's voice and view is evident, requisites both, and powerful tools for maintaining and sustaining humanity's humanity." 

Warner Conarton,
Sol Magazine Poet and Poet Laureate 2000 Contest Judge.

Thanks you for sharing your thoughts with us, Warner.  We appreciate your enthusiasm, and your support.  Our purpose for the last three years has been to foster the reading and writing of short poetry, and to help educate poets.  We hope we will continue to live up to your high standards in the years to come.

We are proud to present the poetry of the best of our best poets.  The comments below each poem are from our judges and editors.  Our winners, in reverse order:

This excellent poet should need no introduction to Texas readers, her work having appeared in countless Texas Journals and Anthologies.   We are proud to present her work in our Magazine.


Conservation Activist

Emulate a reverence
For nature, beauty and waterways
Preserve the habitat for water fowl
In marshlands for their nesting days.
Waterfalls ease weary souls
Keep nature's playground clear
Skyscrapers must not invade
Scenes we hold so dear.
That our lakes will be well-stocked
Fish hatcheries guarantee
Providing fishing pleasure
For enthusiasts like me.
Limit mining excavation
Don't permit land piracy
Natural resources face depletion
We must protect them legally.
State and National forests
Are a part of our great nation
Do what we can to nurture them
For a future generation.
Write to lawmakers to support
Measures you want to see
Save the wilderness, shelter wildlife
And make this land pollution-free.

Lena S. Norman, Saginaw, Texas

COMMENTS:  Good rhyming.  Comprehensive in scope and on target.  Good use of rhythm and rhyme.  This poem reminds the reader not only of the beauty of wilderness and the impact society has had upon deciding the fate of nature, but also that we can make a difference in saving our wilderness.  A great set of rules, unfortunately not shared by business folks.  Rhymes worked well, adding to, not intruding on the flow of the poem. Certainly would bring agreement from any lover of wilderness.  Interesting juxtaposition of the ideal and the real with directions for action as well.  Very attention grabbing title.  The poet is dedicated to keeping the land free of pollution and offers good advice to the reader to make it happen.  Many good, strong lines.  Would read well in an EPA pamphlet or  environmental newsletter.  It puts the battle in plain words and makes it easy to understand just what must be done to preserve our beautiful world.

Another well-known Texas poet, this excellent writer's work is vivid, thoughtful and direct, based on a passionate understanding of and connection to the land.  We are proud to present her work in Sol Magazine.


No One Cares

Spring is bustling here
where grazing Herefords munched
and flowers splashed their colors.
These hills have been forgotten.

Emerald tents of cedar
stunt the grass, erase
old cattle trails.  Rough weeds
fill remaining space.
This wilderness shelters dens
of snakes and spider webs.
No mockingbird is heard
or hum of working bees.
People dare not enter.
The keeper cares no more.
He rocks in nursing home.
His sons are dwelling far
in urban concrete maze.
Their sons are soaring high
in mysteries of space.

One day someone will claim
these hills and tame this wild,
unloved, neglected land.

Roberta Pipes Bowman, Fort Worth, TX

COMMENTS:  Good visual images. Strong feelings expressed. Good description of wilderness.  Easy for the reader to visualize. Vivid panorama.  Nice rhythm and sense of beauty, alive and florid. Here wilderness needs the human touch. The poet quickly tells a story of a special place that needs special attention. The poems builds a story through striking images of a place someone used to care for.  A resigned poem, almost cynical, but in its cynicism lies loveliness.  The word pictures add to the ethereal air of a memory persistently held on to.  Descriptive closing lines in the images of the sons betraying the land, the keeper no longer able to fight.  This poem has a good beat.  "Their sons are soaring high in mysteries of space" is an elegant line that leaves much to the readers' interpretation. Ties up nicely with a thought of hope.  No One Cares makes the reader care very much.

This poet may be new to Sol Magazine, but has already won many awards with her writing.  Her descriptions allow us to not only see our fine Earth, but want to preserve it as well.  We are proud to present her work here.


A Solitary Quest

The lavender blooms of the lilac bush
Harbor cardinals and blue jays in their boughs.
The fertile earth churned by plows gentle push
With golden wheat and butter corn endows.
The maples long after copper leaves fall
Drip sweet sugary syrup from their taps.
The overgrown brambles skirt the stone wall
Amongst their prickers hide luscious black caps.
The rushing water of the spring-fed pond
Cleanses the spirit, purifies the mind.
Nature encapsulates me in its bond
To preserving its beauty I'm resigned.
One entity can make a difference.
I hold this wilderness in reverence.

Kathy Kehrli, Factoryville, PA

COMMENTS: Lovely images.  Makes the point that one person, one entity can make a difference. The word "resigned" seemed almost an apology. The rhyme scheme worked well and added to the work significantly.  This poem paints a clear picture for the reader and brings out the joy in preserving nature. Rhyming seemed quite natural. Reader is skillfully brought along to share the poet's feeling as the poem ended.  A powerful sentiment infused with gentle rhyming movement.  One senses the poet's contentment with having achieved his/her solitary quest for the wilderness...recognizes it and holds it in reverence.  Gives the reader something to think about concerning the disappearance of so much of our wilderness.  Subtle rhyming keeps the poem moving with rhythm through a series of vivid connections which reinforce the message found in its final lines.  Lyrical song rejoicing in all things we may not take time to notice.  Wonderful tribute to the beauty of the world around us.  The uplifting ending, "One entity can make a difference," is quite apropos.

A long time Sol Magazine poet, this writer's work in narrative prose poetry is excellent.  We are proud to present her poetry here.


A Visit Near Extinction

Sea birds rise, then dip, in a scalloped path above us, leading us out into the cold Atlantic.  The boat suddenly seems too small as it slips farther from land.  We huddle for warmth and for conversation, hot drinks warming our hands, eyes darting the horizon.  Dolphins ride the bow for a while, then go on ahead.  The scientists ready their cameras; a record must be kept.  We hear there have been whales sighted just beyond the Cape.  Wind whips the tips of waves to froth, as the last point of land recedes.  Do we shiver more with anticipation than from the cold October air?  I cannot say.

At last, a water spout!  Someone shouts, "Thar she blows!"  The humpbacks break the surface, emerging from the rolling green wilderness, a shield from extinction that still keeps their secrets safe.  A young one, rocked by the waves, swims beside it's mother.  Cumulus clouds lumber over, as ponderous as the whales below.  Just beyond the pod, a narwhal is spotted, sunfish, jellyfish dot the expanse.  The whales approach, watching us watch them and we admire their grace and beautiful black and white flukes.  We are awestruck as the largest breaches slapping the brackish water hard as it falls.  We savor the time with them, some of us watching through tears.  Abruptly, all dive, each unique tail pattern visible, to depths most of us will never know, into the wildness of the sea.

Patricia A Tabella, Providence, RI

COMMENTS:  A vivid description of whale watching and the impact it has on people. Fortunately Humpbacks are making a comeback.  Excellent poem that generates an emotional response from the reader and encourages one to participate in helping to preserve our wilderness.  Captured that great wilderness, the sea, and made it more precious.  Brings the reader along for the ride. The moral is self-evident, if unspoken, that such scenes must not be blemished, that its residents must prevail.  An excellent descriptive poem.  The reader becomes one of the participants in that small boat as the poet describes the scene with exceptional skill.  Excellent descriptive prose poem of whale watching at its best. A reminder of the natural treasures of the deep.  The attempt of man to record what he sees, to somehow become a part of that wild for a moment, is a very powerful picture.  The use of "abruptly" in the last sentence is particularly compelling.

The following award winning poet was a point away from being tied for third place.  Her excellent writing speaks for itself.  Her work has appeared in several local anthologies.  Our congratulations to this fine poet.

FIRST HONORABLE MENTION winner of a $10 Book Gift Certificate

No Retreat

Bands of wild horses stand planted
Like waxworks on the grassland
Caught in the shadows of sunset until
A silent signal from the lead mare
And once more the wilderness
Echoes with thundering hooves
Plumes of mist from flared nostrils
Rise like frantic smoke signals
While helicopters hover in icy air
Vultures plotting to snatch their prey
Unless we fold our minds around the notion
Of protection, these noble beasts
Live in constant jeopardy
Stampeding toward destruction

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX

COMMENTS:  Great visual imagery and auditory too. Super use of language.  "Fold our minds around the notion of protection" is a superb phrase. Easy to visualize.  This poem makes possibilities unfold in one's mind.  This one is a mover.  The motion in it leans over the reader, engulfing with the power and gusto of true wildness, until the threat, which freezes frame.  A plea for the wild horses. Strong and clear images.  Unique..."unless we fold our minds around the notion of protection," is a lovely line.  This poet makes the reader want to do just that.  Although many of us have not had the opportunity to observe bands of wild horses, it brings to mind the importance of protecting the wilderness.  This poem begins with a picture of Wild America at her best, and then suddenly introduces intrusive helicopters and makes it clear that this is really a charade, a play put on by humanity to get  control of the wildness.  What better to illustrate wilderness than the freedom of wild horses?  Good picture of the battle between humans and Nature.

The following poet was within a few points of being our second place winner.  Her award winning work has appeared in several Texas publications.  She is a fine poet, new to Sol Magazine, and we hope to see much more of her wonderful work in the coming year.  Our congratulations to this excellent writer.

THIRD PLACE Winner of a Subscription to Lucidity Poetry Journal.


Old Bone Woman remembers stories
Told under a cold black desert sky
Sequined in summer stars,
When the children of Awitelin Tsita
Still lay deep in her red-ochre belly
And the golden grains of her hair
Sprawled across the wilderness
And the evergreen tips of her fingers
Reached up to tickle the puffy white
Soft underbellies of the Ancient Ones,
Whose laughter swirled between
Her rustling skirts like children
Running through the fields of corn.
Old Bone Woman tells me stories
And hopes I will remember
For I live in a time when
Wildernesses are protected,
Enclosed by manmade fences
Like weary creatures in a zoo
Visited by families on the weekend.
And the children of Awitelin Tsita
Forget their Mother's face
Under a cold black desert sky
Blanketed in summer smog
And the Ancient Ones laugh no longer.

Martha Kirby Capo, Houston, TX

COMMENTS:  Great imagery.   The reader may not be familiar with Old Bone Woman or the Awitelin Tsita, but this work will make them want to be.  Puts the reader right into nature, and makes one long to preserve what is left.  Easy to visualize.  Shamanism has to do with each thing's spirit, and the reader can almost hear the gentle drumbeat accompanying this ancient as she speaks old words.  Sadly, the poet announces the ancient speaks no more. Very moving. The poet leaves the reader with a touch of wistfulness about times when nature was allowed to be herself and not contained behind "manmade fences".  It makes one stop and think.  Excellent descriptive lines.  Clearly written with power packed images, this poem awakes within us that lost wilderness so that we hear ourselves speaking.  Good visual appeal.  The images of ochre belly, the grain hair tie Old Bone Woman to the earth, and provide a concrete conceptualization of "Mother Nature" speaking of preservation.  The vividness is compelling.  Emotion is well modulated and carried throughout.  Full of authentic images and feelings.

The following poet was very close to being our newest Poet Laureate.  Hampered by the fact that she was in New Zealand, and had to send her last few entries on the run, she begged computer access where ever she could to get her last few poems to us. Our congratulations to this superb poet.  Her work is outstanding!

SECOND PLACE - Winner of a $25 U.S. Savings Bond, a copy of the 1999 Poet's Market, plus a subscription to Lucidity Poetry Journal.

The Green Somewhere

Somewhere exists a virgin rain forest--
great green trees stretching to pure skies
trunks and branches dripping with epiphytes,
stubby lichen, hanging mosses, sturdy vines,
and adorned with birds--toucans perhaps
iridescent hummingbirds or scarlet macaws,
their song interlaced with the sound of
moisture--clouds condensing and dewfall--
slowly trickling downward to mingle
with braided streams ambling towards the sea.
Monkeys call and clamber through the canopy
above a sloth suspended from an angled branch
breathing a purer air than I will ever know.
If humans have traversed this wildness,
their passage has left no mark--no campfire
scars, no rusted cans, no Styrofoam
no soap scum to sully the landscape.
This forest by me may be unvisited
forever only a green somewhere
but my soul--harassed by officialdom,
assaulted by industrial roar, and
sickened by posturing politicians--
needs to know such wilderness exists.

SuzAnne C. Cole, Houston, TX

COMMENTS:  Makes the reader want to go there, to feel it, to see it ,to smell it and then not want to go in order to preserve and not spoil it.  Great Counterpoint that makes a strong point and uses great imagery.  This poem generates a reality check for our society, and  transitions from pure nature to one that has been contaminated by mankind.  Easy to visualize.  We share another's dreamplace retreat, and wish these places forever continue in realty. Paints a picture of a jungle wilderness.  Excellent descriptive prose poem.  Beautifully expressed, image of what we would all like to believe exists somewhere out there.  The ending has an interesting twist.  Catchy title.  Well written, described in such detail we are drawn into the rain forest's existence and the need to know that.  This poem's progression through the senses, including the mind, is effective.  It portrays wilderness not so much as something that needs to be saved for itself, but also something that needs to be saved for those of us who have beheld the pristine landscape.  The ending evokes memories of Wordsworth's "Inward eye / which is the bliss of solitude..."

Our newest Poet Laureate 2000, is also our current Poet Laureate 1999. His exceptional writing has appeared in several local Poetry Journals and most recently in a Galveston anthology.  As one judge said, when you read this poet's work, you may say, "This is a poem!"


Winner's Plaque, $50 U.S. Savings Bond, copy of the 2000 Poet's Market, subscription to Lucidity Poetry Journal.

Take a child for a walk in the wild.
Walk softly
where walk the bear and cougar.
Walk past
the wild orchid's purple pedestal
as it sips
morning mist from its own silken slipper. 
no stone,
no moss,
disturb only
the pond's smooth surface as
you cup the woody water and
drink from its fountain of truth.
Sit silent,
sensitized, until that child sees,
segregates cypress' knobby knees
from gators' snubby snouts.
Show a child
the Way
of water and wood -
that Gift to
The Wilderness.

John E. Rice, Houston, Texas

COMMENTS:  This work captures the theme very well, with great imagery. It does it without preaching and makes you want to do what it suggests. In addition, it has nice rhythm, uses alliteration effectively. This very original poem paints a clear picture for the reader.  A reverent poem with sensitive  words that engage the guardian in the reader. A beautiful, accessible poem.  Simple and direct style.  Well written with spots of alliteration that do not scream out to be noticed.  It makes the reader want to show a small child "the way of water and wood" and, of course, this is where it should begin...with the child.  Splendid collection of images and verbs.  The diction of this poem is so persistently progressive, yet so gently didactic that the reader barely realizes the powerful lesson impressed upon his mind until the closing line.  Beautiful!  Interesting, and makes the reader want to read it again and again. Memorable.  This is a poem!


Great thanks to all those who sponsored this contest, and to everyone who entered.  We hope to see your fine work again during the year.
© Sol Magazine 2000
Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
Craig Tigerman, Assistant Editor
Paula White,  Assistant Editor


This exceptional poetry group meets on the second Tuesday of every month in the drawing studio of Galveston College under the direction of Professor John Gorman, University of Houston - Clear Lake.

Meet at 7:20 pm on the third floor of the Fine Arts Wing, directly over the Hermes Gymnasium at Galveston College on 41 and R.

Free parking available.  Bring 10 - 14 copies of a one-page poem, with your name, phone number, and e-mail address on each.

Share your work with other poets.  Receive well-educated comments, praise, and encouragement for your work.  Everyone is welcome to come, read, or just sit and listen.  Lots of fun!

Come to the Archway Gallery Poetry Readings this month. This is a read-by-invitation-only venue, with poets usually booked ahead by several months, but open to the public and free.  Second Thursday of every month, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  Space intimate, setting electric!  Great art, great poetry, great audience.

Archway Gallery
2013 West Gray Street
West Gray/Shepherd area near River Oaks Theatre
Houston, Texas

Open to the public. Small, but select venue, light refreshments.
Featuring (among others) this month:  Lisa Grable, Houston,
Carlyn Reding, Austin, Glynn Irby, Clute, Mary Margaret Carlisle, Webster

There will be a book signing of Tidelands II, February 19th, 6:30pm, Eibands Gallery

Many local area writers have stories and/or poetry in this publication. Come to ArtWalk and stop by Eiband's to buy a book and have it signed by many of the writers included in the book!

Sharon Goodwin, Galveston Poets Roundtable

Houston International Poetry Festival 2000 - Poetry to the Populace

HIP is a collaborative effort to bring poetry to the community.  On the 5th of April (National Poetry Month) several cafes and bars in central Houston will participate in an evening of free poetry readings.  Our featured poets will be from as far away as Australia and as near as your own fence.  Some venues will feature an open-mike reading following the featured performers.  We are looking for participants from all local and non-local writing groups, individual poets, slam poets, academic poets, minority poets.

If you would like to sponsor one of our international poets, or live in the Houston area and would like to host one in your home that evening, we want to hear from you.

For more information, contact one of the following:
Lisa Grable:
Caroline Strickland:
Tina Cardona:

Have a comment?  Want to be added to our list?  Want to be taken off our list?

Write to us at:

Sol Magazine
P.O. Box 580037, Houston, TX  77258-0037
Phone number:  (281)316-2255 - weekdays 8-5.

Sol Magazine's Website:
All poetry remains the property of the poet, except Sol Magazine reserves the right to publish all poems (once) at a future date, and/or to post them to a web page.  NONE may be reproduced without permission of Sol Magazine.  Electronic forwarding is permitted as long as no portion of this magazine is changed and all credits are given.
See our contest web site or last contest for current guidelines.  We do not accept entries that make use of graphic language, touch on partisan politics, or support particular religious views.  Yes, we allow poems about God and mythological gods or goddesses.  No, we do not allow mention of figures out of any holy book.  Please do not expect us to publish something that might upset a younger reader.  We'd prefer that everyone be comfortable here.
19th Century words, such as "Tis," "Til," "Thine," and "Thou," belong in another venue.  Poems using these words will probably not appear in Sol Magazine except in articles or essays.
We correct grammar and spelling errors and sometimes change punctuation without asking for permission or forgiveness.
Sponsors in 2000:  Lois Lay Castiglioni, James Lay.
Angels in 2000:  Leo F. Waltz.
New sponsors and angels always welcomed.  Thanks for your support.

Sol Magazine's Web Site:
Sol Magazine © 2000