Skip to content

Barbara Campbell’s Poems Selected for Both 1st place and Honorable Mention in the James Applewhite Poetry Prize Contest

  • News
Barbara Campbell

Final Judge LeAnne Howe selected poems by Barbara Campbell of Charlotte for both the James Applewhite Poetry Prize and Honorable Mention in the contest. Campbell’s poem “Half an Avocado and a Dollop of Hollandaise” wins the prize, and her “Dinner at Friede’s Tavern” Honorable Mention. The poet will receive $350 for the combined honors, and her poems will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review’s 2023 print issue.

A native New Yorker, Barbara Campbell has lived in Charlotte, NC, since the 1960s. She was Associate Editor of the Red Clay Books, founded by Charleen Swansea, and also worked for East Woods Press and Planned Parenthood. She has had poems published in Rattle, Poet Lore, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Kakalak, Pinesong, The Charlotte Writers’ Club Anthology,and North Carolina Literary Review. She is currently working on her first collection of poems.

This year, just over 400 poems were submitted by 115 poets. Howe selected Campbell’s poems from eleven finalists whose poems were selected for publication in 2023 by Poetry Editor Jeffrey Franklin. Howe said of the winning poem, “The language in the poem is economical, yet it reveals the loneliness and disillusionment of a mother that drinks too much, and a father that believes he can show her how to consume just one-old fashioned at lunch. Wonderful.” Howe notes that Campbell’s “Dinner at Friede’s Tavern” “is another ‘Mom and Dad drink too much’ poem, . . . a memory worth revisiting. Like an Ethan Canin story set in the 1970 Midwest (or pick any era in the Midwest), the poem contains all the magic and horror of family dining in restaurants. It’s tone: staccato.”

Howe also selected “Deep Woods” by Nancy Swanson of Pisgah Forest, NC, for second place in the contest. She says “the poem is haunting, and terrifying, and moves forward into nowhere. Leaves us shivering.” Swanson taught in Florida, South Carolina, Washington State, and Hawaii before retiring in western North Carolina. She has published her poetry in Broad River Review, Chattahoochee Review, English Journal, Kakalak, and Pinesong, among others. Swanson will receive $150 and, publication in NCLR 2023. The other finalists will receive $50 and publication in NCLR Online Winter 2023.

LeAnne Howe is Eidson Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Georgia and an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She writes fiction, poetry, screenplays, creative nonfiction, plays, and scholarship, primarily about American Indian and Native American experiences. She wrote and narrated the documentary film, Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire, spotlighting the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Literary Review has been produced at East Carolina University since 1992 and receives additional funding, which covers the Applewhite Prize honoraria, from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. For subscription information, go to


Nancy Swanson
Other Finalists (poetry forthcoming in NCLR Online Winter 2023:

J.S. Absher
Janis Harrington (2 poems)  JoAnn Hoffman
Debra Kaufman
Jamal Michel
Anne Myles
Maureen Sherbondy

2022 Competition Statistics:

15% of poems submitted went to a second round (60 semifinalists; all read/commented on by Poetry Editor).
6% of total poems submitted, 20% of poets were accepted for publication (25 poems by 23 poets).

Click here for information about the James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition. 
The annual deadline for submission is April 30.