Extinction Dreams

I am happy to share that my poem “Extinction Dreams After Beachie Creek Fire” was selected by Judge Kelli Russell Agodon as the third place winner in the Oregon Poetry Association’s 2023 Spring Contest. I have admired Kelli’s poetry for some time and to be chosen by her in a blind reading is an honor. Here is what she has to say.

“Extinction Dreams After Beachie Creek Fire” is a smart and witty poem that lured me in with a dream of Brad Pitt as a “smoky kisser” only to surprise when I realized I was in a poem about the climate crisis. This is [a] long-armed poem that brings in dead fathers and pet beagles all while still addressing a larger issue—the speaker unsure whether they can open their windows due to smoke—this poem was a reminder of how we are living our lives as normal as we can through environmental collapse but entirely through imagery and even gratitude that “this morning your/barn still stands.” I was impressed with the poet’s ability to use pop culture and whimsy as a doorway to deeper and important discussions about the environment.   

You can read my poem and the other winners of this contest here.

Yours in poetry,


4 thoughts on “Extinction Dreams

  1. Dear Carey,

    Congratulations again on this. Either I had a migraine the day we saw this poem or it was a day missed. I recalled only one line, and that perhaps inaccurately.

    It’s a beautiful poem, beautifully felt and crafted. It held me all the way through with the music of almost a lullaby. That served perfectly for the harsh reality you were referencing, a reality in which we are all feeling bruised and vulnerable. No one needs more harshness. This was incredibly effective — you brought the reality into our hearts, without hurting us more, by connecting us with the universal-personal of daily human experience.

    I liked reading Kelli’s remarks. You now have the attention of Kelli Russel Agodon, which is no small thing. You are making it, my dear! May this be an even bigger year for your poetic success!

    And may we meet in person this year! Stephanie

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