Picking up a mention from Susan Richardson's blog - poetry competitions and their value.
From the winners' point of view it must be a confidence boost, a publicity tool and a useful addition to their CVs.
But what about those who don't make the winning list? Disheartened? Motivated to try harder?
Well, we can learn a lot by scrutinising the winners and the judges comments are often enlightening. And usually the financial profits have gone towards furthering literature or some charitable cause.
Is there a formula for a winning poem? Having been a competition judge, I've learnt that some elements are important. Firstly a poem has to stand out from the crowd, be memorable in some way. I think that's why accessible poems tend to be more successful. And secondly (I think there is a priority) there has to be some technical merit to justify the selection. And then there are the judges. Would Caroline Duffy favour a humorous poem over a poignant one? Of course there's always going to be an element of luck - some poems are excellent but it depends on what other poems they're up against.
Maybe I should try.
Feel free to post a comment on your thoughts about poetry competitions.