Friday, March 5, 2010
Extra: Overdue Poetry News
For some time now, I’ve been a “regular” on Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog on the Writer’s Digest website. It’s one of the best poetry blogs out there, and he has kept me going with his weekly writing prompts. Twice a year, in April and November, he does a “Poem-a-Day Challenge”, and I have participated daily in each one for the last couple of years. Last April he had a special challenge where he announced that the best poems of that month would be picked by a team of guest judges and compiled into an “eBook” of the winners. He had no idea what kind of response he would get. More than 1000 poets submitted over 25,000 poems, so the task of winnowing through them was a daunting one indeed. (I was one of the participants who volunteered to slog through a “slush pile” of entries and pick the best 50 out of about 800 - just for one day!) This workload, combined with other personal and professional priorities, prevented him from accomplishing the ultimate goal of picking one daily winner and publishing the eBook. However, yesterday he finally announced the five finalists for each daily prompt. It’s an honor just to make this list, considering the volume of entries – as Robert said, the odds of making the list at all were about 0.6%. That said, I was more than happy that not one, but two of my poems made the final list: “The Demoiselle Cranes”, which I consider the best poem I wrote last April; and “Those Summer Fridays”, a parody of “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden. A few of my real-life poet friends also made the list, like Tammy Paolino, Joseph Harker, and Donna Vorreyer (who also made the list twice). I’m glad Robert finally gave this contest a sense of closure, since it was hanging over his head for so long. I’m grateful that his prompts have helped spur me to write some good stuff over the past two or three years. Oh yeah, and another poem I wrote during the April challenge, “Never Say”, was recently accepted for publication by Edison Literary Review.