Pen 2 Paper: The Ones that Got Away July

Every year, Pen 2 Paper receives so many entries that we love, but that never make it to the finalist round. This year, we wanted to recognize some of those from 2017, so we present a monthly web feature: The Ones that Got Away. From January through October, P2P co-coordinators Susie and Laura will each post one of our favorite non-finalists from the 2017 contest. Enjoy!

All entries posted with permission, authors retain all rights.

July 30, 2018

Susie's Pick: The Ward Konstantin Nicholas Rega

Getting older is a natural part of living, but the things that happen to our mind and/ or bodies can often be confusing and frustrating. Rega’s poem, The Ward, describes this struggle for one woman. He artistically conveys her feelings and the challenges she faces using different CASES, spacing of words and c-h-a-r-a-c-t-e-r-s, italics, and punctuation. If you enjoy The Ward, you can read Rega’s most recent 3 poems at Also, keep an eye out for his short story, All Must Die, coming soon in Coffin Bell.

Laura's Pick: Psych ER Edie Bakker

Bakker has been submitting work to Pen 2 Paper since our first year (and has been an eloquent supporter of the contest, too; thanks, Edie!). Drawing on sometimes nightmare-ish life experiences, she doesn’t hold back about how difficult or scary life with a mental illness can be. In Psych ER, the first-person narrator matter-of-factly recounts a late night in the county psychiatric hospital. The people there, including doctors, have no room in their own minds for her experience. She is disbelieved, questioned, and talked down to, until finally, her doctor sends her home, having done nothing. Bakker’s short story is a condemnation of both societal attitudes toward mental illness and serious shortcomings in our healthcare system to help people going through a crisis. For a less fictionalized version of Psych ER, check out Bakker’s multi-disciplinary memoir, Crocodile Set Free.

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