Rita Dozlaw of Kamloops, and Dana Ramstedt of Pritchard received the 2019 Dr. Robert and Elma Schemenauer Writing Awards at the Interior Authors Group summer social held July 6, 2019.
Rita Dozlaw won in the category Writing Showing an Appreciation of Nature. Her poem “Lady Thompson” depicts the South Thompson River as a mysterious and beautiful lady. Particularly effective phrases in her poem include “scalloped hems of shore, ducks on parade, overhanging silver-grey Russian Olives.”
One judge said “I find that there is great depth (pardon the pun) in Dozlaw’s description of a river. Expressive moods, of the liquid energy of the stream, are melded with flora and fauna to blend into one inter-related nature scene.”
This is Dozlaw’s second Dr. Robert and Elma Schemenauer Writing Award. In 2017 she won in the Nature category for her story “Rambunctious Tranquility.”
Dana Ramstedt won in the category Writing with a Kamloops and Area Theme. Her memoir “Wondrous Ways” tells of reluctantly moving from Langley to the Kamloops area, and then discovering she had breast cancer. Ramstedt came through these experiences with a deep appreciation for the people of Kamloops, the area’s natural beauty, and God’s working in her life.
One judge said Ramstedt’s memoir “shows very clearly the courage of a woman facing I would say extreme challenges. Even tho’ I’ve not experienced what she went through, I still felt I was accompanying her on her journey. And like the author I too grew to love the beauty here that is not always transparent at first glance.”
Here is Dozlaw’s winning piece.
By Rita Dozlaw
Our lady, the South Thompson River, rolls unpretentiously past
Scalloped hems of shore – her shallows darkening dramatically
Beneath overhanging silver-grey Russian Olives in the lustre
Of summer. Writhing by, she stretches her flawless legs and torso
As a lithe yoga instructor. Taking no effort to push against
Strong winds, her own strengths are, of course, oblivious; for, they
Are well hidden in her underwater currents—as any woman’s.
Our beautiful local river fills one’s mind with intrigue; one’s senses
With supernatural perception. What is beneath her whirlpools?
Where is she going in such a hurry? Where are her wings attached?
She appears to fly over unseen currents – that chameleon
Reflecting feathered faces of herons, bald eagles and gulls as they
Dodge sky-high jet-vapor trails, choppers and free-flying gliders
And carve their peculiar personalities on the firmament.
One very obvious charm: born to sing; never to be silenced;
Our Lady Thompson warbles rhythmically from her
Glazed stage as a soprano with glossy laughing eyes, and she
Cries with temperamental rain-clouds rushing to conjoin at the
Horizon. Spiraling gulls call the river’s name. They dive for morsels
A-float on her white-knuckled fingers and white-cap shoulders.
This gracious hostess welcomes all nature and water lovers.
Ducks on parade linger with their young upon her wide lap.
Their webbed feet tease and tickle her underbelly causing her
To wantonly rear her crowning glory and allow her rippled hair
Its freedom to flow behind as she dodges rocks and reefs. What
An exotic dancer she is! En pointe, staging a boiling rage, she
Commands, in mesmerizing ballerina-encores, a punctuation
And penetrates deep dimples into whirlpool cheeks.
Entrapment and power, in one body, captures the human spirit
And steadily, supremely flows away away away with it.
A Swooshing voice echoes between foothills. O, such compulsion of
Worshippers following her songs, blind to the tempest, to embrace
Her natural world; spiral in a dream state pillowed by the buoyant
Depths of her pulsing universe of seduction to vanish, in one’sMind, into the watery secrecy of Lady Thompson’s rolfing bosom.
Dana Ramstedt’s winning entry can be read at: https://elmams.wixsite.com/awards/2019-winners .
Both the Kamloops Theme and Nature Theme Awards consist of a cash prize and certificate to the winner. Accompanying each Award is a cash donation to the Interior Authors Group (IAG) to support its growth and educational activities. The yearly deadline for submissions is March 21.
The Awards are privately sponsored by Dr. Robert and Elma Schemenauer. Membership in the IAG is required to enter the annual contest. This is the fourth year they have been given to help support and recognize writers in Kamloops and area.
For more about the Awards, see http://elmams.wix.com/Awards .
For more about the IAG, see https://interiorauthorsgroup.wordpress.com/ .