2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Winner

Heidi Shuler, photo by Miri Stebivka

Heidi Shuler
Portland, OR
Trials of a Teenage Transvestite’s Single Mother

A good poem doesn’t need to impress us with sophisticated language or fresh and unexpected metaphors. It doesn’t need to rhyme or not rhyme, or explore the until-now unexplored. But a good poem does have to take us somewhere and make us feel something. With a momentum and a sense of emotional suspense that made us hold our breath, Heidi Shuler perfectly captures the intersection of a mother’s loving fear and a teenage son’s innocence about the world. “Trials of a Teenage Transvestite’s Single Mother” grips us from the beginning and won’t let go. We’re still there in the convenience store, hearts pounding, desperate to save what must be saved, afraid to release what must be released. Pulsing with heart and free of contrived emotion or easy answers, this is a poem that makes us remember why we fell in love with poetry. We’re proud to announce “Trials of a Teenage Transvestite’s Single Mother” as winner of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize.



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