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have you ever won a poetry prize?

June 1, 2013

Good morning poets.

Last night I wrote a poem. As usual a metaphor (or more) was involved. Something about a train on a prairie. This morning I read a poem, “The Beginning of Poetry” by Edward Hirsch…and was struck by the synchronicity of the imagery as it involved, you guess it… “a train crossing the prairie in the dark”. Of course the poem I wrote was a wordle poem and now I’m wondering where Brenda got the words, “train” and “prairie”.

But all that is pretty much an aside to the real throbbing question: Have you ever won a poetry prize? Yes? No?

If not, would a USD10000 prize send hope soaring? It did mine, this morning. But then the next thought was crushing: what sort of poem would win? And I haven’t the foggiest idea. Wouldn’t it have to be full of verbal dexterity, perhaps be reflective of some important historical moment, laden with appropriate metaphors, also multi-layered, humorous (scratch that), lead the reader into a quiet stir of complex emotions and the finale would leave the reader imprinted, stunned, changed forever? As I said I haven’t the foggiest, and decided none of the numerous poems I wrote would qualify. So I’m offering this up to you. Mind you, it’s just one grand prize. And a trip to Singapore in December. Submissions close on 30 September 2013.

So now it’s your turn. What sort of poem would be a winner, won’t let stinking hope sink like the Titanic?

Submit here.

  1. June 2, 2013 5:53 am

    Thanks for the info Irene ~

  2. June 2, 2013 8:09 am

    As intriguing as it is …I don’t pay to enter contests. I completely understand the money has to come from somewhere. But I’ve been bitten by vanity publishers in the past – not saying that this place or contest is or that they will take advantage of anyone.

    I just refuse to pay entry or editing fees. I have been published in chap books, collections, and even once a news paper editorial. Though I’m still not a pro. Never been paid. I did get an honoralbe mention somewhere for something. Haven’t won any money…yet. What is really distressing is that when you enter something and get a rejection letter, but what is far worse is no response at all….

  3. June 2, 2013 8:56 am

    Prizes are the lest of it. I have found something I set as a goal in the futrue, by the time I get there, I’m over it. Prizes just are not the golden ring….

  4. June 2, 2013 9:35 am

    There once was a poet named Lois,
    She wrote many poems and won lots of dough.
    Thou her shoes didn’t show it she had a big hole in her soul.

    Just a small gogril comment about writing poetry for prize money.
    Did I win? 😉

    • June 2, 2013 5:37 pm

      The only Lois I know is Superman’s girlfriend. So you win, Carol. 🙂 Jules & Annell, please direct any comments to Lois.

  5. June 3, 2013 12:10 am

    There are competitions I would give me eye teeth to win: The Plough Prize, the Bridport, The Troubadour, the Torriani. One of those on your CV might persuade a publisher to look twice at your submissions. (I have been long-listed once for the Plough and shortlisted for a (free) chapbook competition). The prizes are big bucks, so a small fee is necessary to pay for administration costs.

    But those that ask for a £5 fee for a £100 prize are simply cash generating machines: beware!

    When reading the winning poems from previous years’ competitions, sometimes I think “I could never have written that, it is soooooooooooo good.” Other times and I think the judges must be bonkers! Tip: find out who the judges are and READ THEIR POETRY!

    • June 3, 2013 3:29 am

      I think poetry and business are strange bedfellows. Very interesting sharing, Viv.

  6. June 4, 2013 10:39 am

    Many, many years ago, I had a poem published in “Seventeen” magazine. I received a check for $10.00. I usually enter chapbook contest, but so far have won zero. I like it when they send you a list of the winners. I would like it even better if my name was on one of those lists.

    • June 4, 2013 5:44 pm

      “Seventeen”, wow. I had a teen poem published once in the local press. No money changed hands I believe.

      • June 4, 2013 5:51 pm

        Strange but now I don’t trust my own memory, like “did I make that up?” *grin*

  7. June 4, 2013 6:52 pm

    I have won both contests and money. The two most substantial amounts didn’t have a reading fee for entry. I did get paid for a column I wrote for a local magazine and it was all about writing. I did that for several years. I got paid a small amount for a series of book reviews I did while managing the bookstore, but only because I told my boss I wouldn’t do it for free. As far as reading fees go, I steer clear of the ones that want what I consider too much, unless I feel that I might actually have a chance. My finances are pretty meager so reading fees do play an important part in my decision making process. It’s still pretty much a crap shoot, as far as I’m concerned. Even judges have bad days, months, and maybe even years.


    • June 5, 2013 6:46 am

      I agree with you Elizabeth. I was once a judge for a children’s thinking compitiion. Operative word here once. Judging is so very subjective. And while I like what I write I think judges can be influenced even by what they ate for breakfast. I just don’t think I’d have a change of having that great an outcome when having to be compared to 50 or 100 much less 1000 entrants add in competitors from all over the world. Just not worth the aggrivation – at least not for me.

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