Wishing all our readers a Happy Women ‘s Day!
After months and days of reading, sifting and shuffling through the 150 odd submissions that we received for the Sakhi Awards this year, we are now ready to announce our three winners and two special mentions.
The decision has by no means been easy. We received poems from poets based all over the globe, from all walks of life and from a wide age group. Believe it or not, one of our poets was almost eighty. It was heartwarming to note her passion for the cause of women ‘s solidarity. We were pleased to receive poems from male poets as well.
Every poem made a strong case for women’s courage and fortitude. And that made our task of narrowing the choices to a short list of ten and then choosing just three winners from that already fine list, even more difficult. But it had to be done and done it is!
First Prize: Matilda Berke for Green Thumb
Second Prize: Lisa Zou for Bowls
Third Prize: Thadra Sheridan for They Come For The Old Women
Special Mentions: Preeti Vangani for Keep Me Burning and Kanupriya Dhingra for Things That A Bra Contains
Matilda ‘s poem Green Thumb probes into the roots of the struggles of womanhood. Replete with stirring aphorisms (to be a woman is to be born with thorns), her verse unearths the existential stiffness of life and waters it with hope and positivity. The poem is realistic yet inspiring, bitter yet sweet and above all, individualistic yet universal.
Her words truly represent what the editors at TheWomaninc were looking for – courage and fortitude in the face of adversities. Green Thumbs is our clear winner for the Sakhi Awards 2018.
“We’ve learned the fact of living as resistance.
We are sunspots springing up in sidewalk cracks”
Congratulations Matilda Berke!
Matilda Berke has been recognized by YoungArts, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the L.A. Tomorrow Prize, the Molotov Cocktail’s Shadow Award, & the L.A. Youth Poet Laureate competition, among others. She will be double majoring in English & Economics at Wellesley College; in her free time, she hopes to take up sailing & read as many books as possible. Find more of her writing at Pedestal Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, & http://matildaberke.weebly.com/.
Lisa Zou’s poem, Bowls, is an aching reflection on the lessons a woman must learn before realising that hope is eternal and that there is salvation in poetry. Bowls tackles issues such as caste, gender, poverty and meditates on marriage throughout. It uses wry sarcasm when the poet says “In Pokhara, an old woman cures a village and has no degree/ like the English doctor who traveled a hemisphere to be here.” Zou is making important points in this poem about girls and education yet her voice rings true when she says “There are too many lessons this world/ has taught but not the right ones.”
Congratulations, Lisa Zou, you made us ache with Bowls!
Lisa Zou has been recognized by The Poetry Society of UK, National YoungArts Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, and the Poetry Society of Virginia, among others. Her work recently was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and won The Lindenwood Review Lyric Essay Contest. Previously, she has been mentored by poet Nancy Reddy and currently mentors high school students in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction Writing. Lisa writes most often about feminism and cultural histories. A native of Arizona, Lisa currently studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
The ruthlessness of youth over experience, or as we call it – old age, is at the center of this magnificent poem “They Come for the Old Women” by Thadra Sheridan. Aging or senility are never easy to write about without succumbing to the banal but Sheridan, in her dexterous handling, brings about the helplessness of the old women with her strong narrative – citing two cases, within the speaker’s own family. The title of the poem – ominous in itself, does not bode well for the women. Akin to how war transforms the landscape and defines the strong from the weak, so does the poem show very clearly the inability of these women to defend themselves.
Congratulations Thadra Sheridan for bringing out this side of womanhood so deftly, highlighting the plight of those women who generally outlive their men.
Thadra Sheridan is a writer, performer and humorist from Minneapolis, MN. Her work has appeared in Rattle, The Legendary, Sugared Water, Specter, The Pine Hills Review, on Upworthy, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and button Poetry. She is the recipient of the Jerome Foundation’s Verve Grant for Spoken Word and a past weekly columnist for Opine Season. She is currently working on a memoir.
We the Editors, Vinita Agarwal, Anu Mahadev and Jhilmil Breckenridge would like to congratulate the winners for their awesome poems! We will be carrying the poems individually on the website subsequent to the prize announcements.
We would also like to sincerely thank each and every poet who believed in us and trusted us with their work. We assure you that every poem was read with careful consideration.
Let’s celebrate womanhood today by liberating ourselves from our miseries and biases whatever they may be. Sometimes the battle is bigger than just fighting patriarchy…sometimes one has to fight oneself. Wishing you all a fabulous Women’ Day. Stay connected to the Womaninc.