November 22, 2021




Rattle Poetry Prize

Conversation with
James Pennebaker

The Winter 2021 issue features our 11 Rattle Poetry Prize winners, including the 1st prize poem, “Encephalon” by Ann Giard-Chase. The open section features the usual wide-ranging poems with humor and heart. Melissa Balmain leads the issue of with light verse looking at her own brain (literally). Other poems cover love, evolution, Robin Hood, and the DMV.

The conversation section takes an unusual turn, where psychologist James Pennebaker discusses his lifetime of research on the benefits of expressive writing. Decades ago, Pennebaker discovered that writing about traumatic experiences yields strong and measurable health benefits. His more recent research has explores the way our unconscious use of function words can reveal our psychological secrets. Though not a poet, both of these topics are very much related to contemporary poetry.



Open Poetry

Audio Available Melissa Balmain On Looking at an MRI Cross-Section
Roberta Beary Six Haiku
George Bilgere The Call of the Fox
Madeline Cash Sponge Cake
Margarita Cruz Erasur
Alan Fox My Father’s Shoes
Nancy Miller Gomez How Are We Doing?
Tom C. Hunley If You’ve Met One Austic Person …
Jennifer Juneau For the Girl Crying on the Steps
Jasmine Ledesma Cataclysm
Susan L. Lipson Sharing Wounds While Card Shopping
William Logan Private Road
Rachel Mallalieu 19th Nervous Breakdown
Dave Nielsen Come Back
Whitney Olson Jehovah Whitney
Leticia Priebe Rocha I Hate IKEA
Alexis Rotella Another Pandemic Dream
Kerry Rutherford Salad Shrimp
Miracle Thornton In the Kitchen
Chrys Tobey Love Poem
William Trowbridge Robin Fool and His Disconsolate Men
Maryfrances Wagner Brandon Langford Talk Through Detention

Poetry Prize Winner

Ann Giard-Chase Encephalon


Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose After My Teenager Tries to Kill Herself …
Heather Bell This Is How I Make My Money
Susan Browne Do You Have Children?
Rayon Lennon Follow Me
Dayna Hodge Lynch Black Boys as Fireflies
Mary Meadows White Privilege Skydives with Black Guy in Appalachia …
Erin Murphy The Internet of Things
L. Renée Exodus: Gilliam Coal Camp, West Virginia, 1949
Zella Rivas Purgatorio
Richard Westheimer My Father Transformed by Dying


James Pennebaker (web)

Cover Art

Kelly McQuain (web)