April 1, 2021

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Ken Ebert Poetry Prize. Our thanks and appreciation go out to the final judge, Joseph Ross, and to every poet who submitted to the contest. It is thrilling to know there are so many fine poets in our home county, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

1st Place

Annie Ginder


























2nd Place

Dana Kinsey






















3rd Place

Louise Imm-Cooper






























January 31, 2021

The Ken Ebert Poetry Prize

Iris G. Press is pleased to announce the Ken Ebert Poetry Prize contest in honor of Lancaster County philanthropist and humanitarian, Ken Ebert. For many years, Ken has enthusiastically supported and promoted poets from all of the county. Naming this contest in his honor is our tiny gesture of thanks and appreciation. The final judge is the acclaimed, award-winning Washington, D.C. poet Joseph Ross.

* Entrants must be current Lancaster County, Pennsylvania residents, 18 or older.

* Please send only one original poem, on any theme and in any form, for consideration.


*Your entry must be unpublished, either in print or online, including personal blogs, Facebook                                    
      or Twitter. It cannot be currently under review for possible publication.


*Your entry must not exceed 52 lines.


*Submit your typed entry as a Microsoft Word attachment by email to irisGpress@gmail.com


*All entries must be received by March 7, 2021.


*Please submit your name, address, phone number, the title of your poem, and a brief biography       
     on a separate page. 


*Please do not put your name, address, phone number, or biography on the entry itself. Our 
     judges will see only the poem.


*Confirmation of receipt and comments on your entry will not be provided, nor will your entry 
     be returned to you. All decisions made by the judges and administrators are final.

The writer of the winning poem will receive $100 and publication of the poem in Fledgling Rag

#21. Second place will receive $50 and third place will receive $25. The results will be announced

on April 15 at www.irisGpress.org and on the Iris G. Press Facebook page. 

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There are days when

being in this world

feels more like

not being in this world


where deep inside

our collective body

is an itinerary of agony

weeping the recent loss of lineages


beneath the stretched skin

each vein

quietly mapping

the mountain of damage

that this year has been


not one of us

is a cartographer

who knows how to chart

the isolation we’ve felt

riding these backroads


what prayers to pray

to invoke traveling mercies

for what is in the fork ahead


if we need to exit

this viral highway to hell

to grab a bite 

of this grief

for which we have no appetite


when do we tell

the bright-eyed ones

who are just planning their journeys

that this world is not theirs


and the elders


when do we tell them

that it never was

Annie Ginder is a poet who lives in the southern end of Lancaster County with her husband, son, daughter and Rottweiler. She currently works on the front lines of the opioid epidemic connecting those who are seeking help to the services that are most appropriate for them.

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“The world’s most famous skin-lightening cream is called “Fair & Lovely.”


                          ~Shelina Janmohamed, Love in a Headscarf





That melanin has been cursed  

            so those who peddle glamour

swirl bleach into dainty glass jars 

6,000 tons of whitening potion.


They slather cream on thirsty skin

mercury-laced liniment. 

Mirrors return charred bodies 

that risked burns for approval. 


Who decides who’s fairest

of them all in a world white

to its moonstone bones

spinning in endless inertia? 


Funny how indisputably golden 

sun rays deepen skin tone

enrich it with radiance

fair(y) godmother it to lovely.   

Dana Kinsey is a writer, actor, and teacher with poetry published by Writers Resist, One Art, Broadkill Review, For Women Who Roar’s 2020 Anthology, Spillwords, Fledgling Rag, and Silver Needle Press.  Her prose appears in Teaching Theatre and Tweetspeak.  Dana's play, WaterRise, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theatre in Greenwich Village for the Radioactive Women’s Festival.  Visit www.wordsbyDK.com.

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In the still dark hours of the night, when the moonlight is faintly visible,

             I reach out for you

      the sheet is smooth, unwrinkled, untouched


There’s no back to caress, no chest to nestle my head on, no long, muscular legs 

       wrapped around my short fleshier ones


             Just empty space


When your arms encircled my body, it relaxed, knowing that nothing could hurt me as long as you were here.


Now I wake in the murky darkness your strong gentle hands and the warmth

        of your skin touching mine are gone.


Turning in the bed, I hug myself, knowing you are forever a part of me

         but still yearning for you


Overwhelmed by grief, I weep. 

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Writing, both poetry and short stories, are adventures of the moment for Louise Imm-Cooper.  The poems she writes, sometimes in rhyme and often in free verse, are inspired by people, experiences and feelings of joy, sorrow, and deeply held beliefs in her life that compel her to put pen to paper.

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Judge's Comment


The journey of this poem is timely, alive, and heartbreaking. We get an “itinerary of agony,” we end up “riding these backroads,” and then we wonder about our place in a world we cannot control. The two questions that close this poem confront us all. How do we tell the young that “this world is not theirs” and how do we tell elders “it never was.” This is the present moment turned into beauty.

Judge's Comment

One of the dangers of white supremacy is clear in this poem. That people would harm themselves to look like someone else. “Who decides…” is the right question.

Judge's Comment

The sensual details of this poem grab the reader, even though they describe the one who is no longer there. Absence and presence both breathe in this poem.

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Joseph Ross is the author of four books of poetry: Raising King (2020), Ache (2017), Gospel of Dust (2013) and Meeting Bone Man (2012). His poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, many anthologies and journals. He teaches at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.

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About Us

* Since 2004, we have published 16.5 books of poetry and 20 issues of our poetry journal, Fledgling Rag. Our focus is on poetry, and we spend more time than most people reading and listening to it. We pay attention to nearly everything poetry.

* Iris G. Press is the publisher of the poetry of Marty Esworthy, Rebecca Gonzalez, Le Hinton, and Jeff Rath.


* Through its I. Giraffe Press imprint, we publish the work of Daina Savage, poet laureate emerita of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


* Iris G. Press publishes a yearly poetry journal, Fledgling Rag. Poets are solicited by the editors of the journal.

Iris G. Press exists to help give exposure to local, regional, and national poets, and in doing so, raise money for various charities, individual poets, and non-profits (the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic in Lancaster, Pennsylvania https://www.cleftclinic.org/give-online/ ) through readings and sales of Fledgling Rag.
We love the written word. We love the kindness of strangers. We love poetry that is comfortable. We love poetry that is unsettling. We love kindness and humility, generosity and courage, the grand world and the tiny heart.
And we love how poetry can transform the world, yours, mine, and ours.