The Best Poems of 2021: Winners of the 10th Annual International SCP Poetry Competition

Joseph S. Salemi
James Sale
Evan Mantyk

Past First Place Winners 
Susan Jarvis Bryant (2020)
Joseph Charles MacKenzie (2019)
Adam Sedia (2018)
C.B. Anderson (2017)
James Sale (2016)
Ron L. Hodges (2015)
Reid McGrath (2014)
Bruce Dale Wise (2013)
Alan Nordstrom (2012)

Based on the poems, all written in 2021, submitted by living poets employing the finest, classical traditions of English poetry, below are the best poems of the past year and their ranking:


First Place ($2,000)

James A. Tweedie, Washington State
“Contemplating Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer” “Honest to God”




Second Place

Sally Cook, New York
“House Sale”

Cheryl Corey
“The Three Fates”

Andrew Benson Brown, Missouri




Third Place

Lionel Willis, Canada
“Bach in Heidelberg”

Joe Tessitore, New York

David Watt, Australia
“The Magpie’s Chorus”

Brian Yapko, New Mexico
“The Secret Garden” “From a Classified Location in England”

Cynthia Erlandson, Michigan
“This Present Madness” “Perplexity” “Irony”




Fourth Place

Mark F. Stone, Ohio
“The High Cost of Low Prices”

Adam Wasem, Illinois
“The Lost”

K. Irene Rieger, Virginia

Anna J. Arredondo, Colorado

Peter Hartley, England
“An Incident on the Cornish Cliffs”




Honorable Mentions

“St. Joseph’s Admonition” by Gregory Ross

“Tel Shikmona” by Judy Koren

“Sir Percival” by Alan Grant

“The Artist” by Shari Jo Lekane 

“Cascading Nation” by Jon Parsons

“Death of a Pigeoneer from World War II” by Royal Rhodes

“Pier” by Leland James




CODEC Stories:

16 Responses

  1. Peter Hartley

    James – Well done!!! And the contest couldn’t have been won by a more talented poet.

  2. James Sale

    Congratulations to all the winners – there was a very high standard of entry and it was difficult to decide. But James A Tweedie is a worthy winner with two fantastic poems!

  3. Daniel Moreschi

    Congratulations to you, James, and very well done to everyone else who has been acclaimed, too.

  4. James A. Tweedie

    I was delighted when I awoke to discover my poetry was judged worthy to receive this high honor. I agree with James Sale that the the quality of SCP poetry has been high this year—a fact which makes my selection all the sweeter. I was tickled to receive Second Place in the the past two competitions (and Third Place the year before that) so I also congratulate each and all of you who have been recognized for the excellence of your work. And, of course, I would also like to thank each of the three judges for their contribution of time, knowledge, and wisdom to this endeavor.

    • Cheryl Corey

      Congratulations, Pastor Tweedie. Your earlier endeavors have led you to this wonderful achievement. The Bible continues to be an endless source of inspiration for poets. I had hoped for an honorable mention and was stunned, frankly, to see my name among second place winners. It’s an honor to be second to you – an honor to place at all- period!

  5. Patricia Redfern

    James Sale. A most heartfelt congratulations. You make the poetry magic! Thank you for hosting the poetry readings with such respect and compassion. You are my Star, here! Affectionately,Patricia~

    • James Sale

      Well, Patricia, the Star today is that other James – A Tweedie one, but I am chuffed to be your star, so thank you very much. It’s always good to be appreciated!

  6. David Watt

    Congratulations James! Your win is very well deserved. Congratulations also to all the winners.

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Huge CONGRATULATIONS to all the wonderful poets on this page, and especially to you, James, for the admirable win. Well done!! It’s an absolute privilege to be a member of this entertaining, educative, and inspirational site. I’m thoroughly enjoying reading and re-reading all of these top-notch poems.

  8. Mike Bryant

    What a fantastic, prestigious competition that has gone from strength to strength. The three outstanding judges had a difficult task choosing from so many worthy poems… congratulations James!

  9. Mark F. Stone

    Congratulations to Mr. James Tweedie and all the other honorees, and my thanks to the judges for their hard work! Mark

  10. Andrew Benson Brown

    Congrats, James.
    It’s funny, I was talking with T. Rodriguez (now T. Werba) a few months back, and she predicted you would win this year. I agreed with her that she was probably right—not that anyone will ever believe that! This victory was well deserved, and a long time coming. You have “officially” joined the ranks of the (earthly) immortals!

    • James A. Tweedie

      Andrew, Perhaps, instead of a Byronic turban, I should assume the affectations of an immortal Greek by donning a tunic and wearing a laurel wreath in imitation of Apollo. Yet even at my best I would clearly be a deceit while in your case, you were the real deal–and the memory of it still makes me smile!

      Thanks for your kind words. I am most fortunate in being able to metaphorically embrace Theresa in mutual friend- and fanship, and I am glad that the two of you found something on which you could agree!


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