Thursday, July 10, 2008

juggling judging

Last year I declared my intention not to judge a particular regional poetry award, which in previous years, it had been a great privilege to judge. I had decided that it was probably time for others to step up...alas...none did, or none were asked to take it on, and I find myself (as of yesterday) with around two hundred open entries, considerably fewer regional entries and less than two weeks to complete the selections for awards.

I'm not adverse to doing it, mostly I welcome it, but I had so hoped someone else would have been keen to take it on this year. So, I've done my first round of selections, spent most of yesterday with them, feel that I have only just got rid of the rubbish, and found that I have two very large piles of possibles for the open and two smaller piles of possibles for the regional.

I thought I'd blog about the process as I was inside it this year. After having successfully edited edition #5 foam:e throughout last year, and getting it to publishing stage for March launch online, I feel that I've got a lot more of a take on what poetry catches, what poetry makes itself heard, what poetry insinuates itself into my reader brain.

But first, a little about the rubbish.

Some poets are not reading poetry, some might only have read the odd one or two from 19th century or the work on greeting cards, but most of the really bad rubbish, is just the emotional mind talking to itself, some need to talk on paper, perhaps it is comforting, but it is not poetry worth sending into an open award.

Also, some still send in hand written narratives, which could be letters to friends, or shopping lists, (if you could read them) - still others are fond of tricked up fonts and title headings the size of hot air balloons and in colours that are so bright you need sunglasses to read them.

Yes, yes, they are entitled to send entries, yes they pay the fee - but do they really (i mean it do they) think they can win?

Here's a little bit of spleen for the kind of person, who so devalues poetry, who so scorns it, that they think they can send any silly rubbish to an award, without ever reading anything current, or without ever finding a passion for poetry which could instruct them better than any workshop ever could, so here is my big bit of wisdom spleen for the kind of poet that will always end up in the rubbish pile when I'm judging...why bother why bother why bother why bother why bother why bother why bother...

PS I'm not even sure if I want to tackle the mind numbing humming of the endless caress of the kind that in mind needs everything to rhyme (I wouldn't object to work of originality and flair, but the rain, pain, love, dove, head, dead stuff, no, never, not ever).


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