November 1st, 2005

Egrets Reading

Poetry Contests

Three or four times a year I go on a “poetry contest” submission kick. This usually coincides around the end of a quarter which is when most of the state poetry society deadlines are. Generally, I win something in at least one of them, winning enough to recoup my entry fees for all of them. Many poets have a general aversion to paying fees for entering contests or feel it isn’t professional, and I respect that, but I generally only enter contests for organizations that I feel I want to support anyway. Supporting state poetry societies seems like a way of supporting non-academic poetry for the average Joe, something I feel is important.

The average Joe just doesn’t read enough poetry, IMO. Al Young, the new California State Poet Laureate blames it on Pound and the modernists. Others blame it on the academic institutions and MFA programs. For whatever reason, a state poetry society is an organization which can welcome the beginning poet and encourage them to write and read more poetry.

Unfortunately, I rather bombed out of this round of state poetry contest entries, although I still haven’t heard back from the Arizona State Poetry Society annual contest, so there’s a little hope there, but I’m not counting on it.

A cinquain, “Mating Song”, did win a First Honorable Mention in the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs annual contest, which netted me a certificate.

Another cinquain, “Vivaldi’s Seasons”, won 7th place in the Shadow Poetry Little Bitty Contest, which again means that there is no prize money or publication, but another certificate. However, the Little Bitty contest is nice in the fact that I can enter previously published work in it and “Vivaldi’s Seasons” was published by Mindfire Renew last summer:

I support the Shadow Poetry contests because Marie Summers, the owner of the site, supports the cinquain poetry form and has started a special cinquain section in her SP Quill journal which will appear once a year.

I had total strikes out in the Oregon State Poetry contests and the California State Poetry Society monthly contest. I missed the deadline on the Florida State Poetry Contest with the special cinquain sequence contest I won last year.

I also bombed out in the Haiku Society of America haiku and senryu contests.

In other poetry publication news, I have a cinquain, “Cloud Break”, online at Autumn Leaves in the special “Katrina” section:

I also had some genre poems declined at the Magazine of Speculative Poetry and Mythic Delirium.