DEAR AWARDS GIVER,
Here's the beginning of a letter I just sent out:
Thank you very much for your interest. I very much appreciate your interest in my work and the extra effort you've taken to contact me.
I don't submit my poetry books for awards or contests because I don't believe that poetry is a contest. I believe poetry competitions are sometimes a necessary evil in terms of fundraising or promotion or both in a culture that is not particularly receptive to the art of poetry. I am fortunate enough not to depend on either recognition or its awards, monetary or otherwise, even as I do not judge others for participating in this structure since, for some poets, it affects their ability to earn a livelihood. As my good friend Philip Lamantia (bless his heart) once said, and with which I very much agree, "I don't judge how poets earn their money."
I paused in the writing there and sat on moi ass for a while, snorting chuckles at air. Then Philip poked his head through the clouds down at me and called me silly. Well, silly me...and cocktail hour hasn't even started!