Thursday, 31 July 2008

Poetry Competitions

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.


Susan Richardson said...

You've brought up lots of interesting points here and have addressed some of the questions I just raised over at my blog in response to your earlier comment! The whole issue of whether there's a winning formula is fascinating. And I firmly believe the judge(s) need to be taken into account, having tried to do exactly done with my entry for the Frogmore Prize - it somehow felt like less of a lottery to approach it from that angle, though I'm not sure if it will ever work again!

Coastcard said...

I have just added my pennyworth on Susan's blog ... (It may not be visible just yet).

I think you have started something here!

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