Chris Parente (Bad Poetry)
Early risers will recognize Chris as former a morning reporter, talk show host and anchor for WAVE-TV (NBC). He spent nearly nine years creating havoc in the wee hours, and he was thrilled to judge Louisville’s ”best of the worst.” Chris’ work as reporter earned him two regional Emmy Awards, and when he’s not on-air, he’s busy pursuing his other passion: improvisation. He trained at Chicago’s famed Second City, and has performed with troupes across the region. Due to pending legal action, Chris was forced to flee the Derby City in the dark of night. He now resides in Denver, where he once again terrorizes morning audiences as a feature reporter with KWGN-TV (WB).
On Literary LEO: “So bad it’s good:” It’s the bumper sticker on my car. It’s my personal philosophy. And it made judging the poetry an absolute riot. It was a real challenge to single out a winner. I’m amazed at the talent in Louisville. In all honesty, most of the poems were actually quite witty and downright hilarious. Still, somebody has to be bad. And who better than me to decide! Cheers and happy reading.
Paul Griner (Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry)
Paul Griner is the author of “Follow Me” (Stories), and “Collectors” (a novel), both published by Random House. His work has been translated into six languages and has appeared in Playboy, Story, Zoetrope, Bomb and Ploughshares, among other periodicals. He is currently Director of Creative Writing at the University of Louisville.
On Literary LEO: Judging literary contests is never easy; it is, however, occasionally fun. And that was the case this time, with these contests. In all of them I found more than enough good work to award not only first through third places, but also multiple honorable mentions. In fact, I had to work very hard to limit the number of works I singled out. Best of all was the range of work: except for the short shorts, whose form generally circumscribes content (and even there, as you’ll see, that’s not always true), the variety of the entries was both amazing and encouraging. Partly that’s due to numbers — dozens and dozens of entries — but mostly it’s a testament to the writers’ restless searches to find just the right image, just the right word, just the right form, to communicate their sudden apprehensions and profoundest feelings. And nothing’s more pleasurable than when they get it right. I hope you’ll agree that these writers have.
Mitch Eckert (Traditional Photography, Non-Traditional Photography)
Mitch Eckert is an associate professor of art at the University of Louisville, where he teaches courses in black and white photography, color photography, digital imaging and historic and alternative photographic processes. His work is in the permanent collections of the Butler Institute of American Art, The Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville and Kentucky State University. He has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally and has a forthcoming exhibition at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in late April.
On Literary LEO: Being a juror of a photography competition can be exhilarating and challenging. When narrowing the field down to about 10 photographs in both categories, it became very difficult to choose first, second and third place photos. Several photographs immediately stood out as “top five” contenders, proving that there are many serious photographers in the greater Louisville community. I was delighted to find a few examples of traditional photographic process such as Cyanotype and Vandyke prints submitted under the Non-Traditional Photography category. Knowing people are still practicing historic photographic methods brings me great joy. Digital photography found its way into both categories, demonstrating that its presence is equally accepted as both a traditional and non-traditional photographic medium. There was a lot of talent in the photography competition, and it was a pleasure to look at so many wonderful photographs.