Thursday, June 04, 2009


I just helped out on the judging of a poetry contest. Yech and blech. There's been a lot of stuff said about poetry contests. Here's another reason against them: reading through all the submissions is the worst way to experience poetry. You're reading stacks and stacks of manuscripts and the point is to narrow it down to one "winner"? Well, then you read for failure. You read by proactively looking for flaws: cliches, weak diction, randomness around those line breaks or caesuras, stultifying ego...and when you find those problems, you are glad as it means you can more rapidly go on to the next manuscript on stack -- this was my initial screening experience and those that passed muster on this round, I then tried to read from a more pleasurable point of view.

But from that initial screening of, sigh, so many manuscripts, the mouth's suffering from the lingering bad taste....not to mention I feel like I want to punch somebody. What an experience....for which:

Life's too effin' short. I was reluctant to do this contest which traffics in much higher volume than the modest ones I sponsor for moi kababayans, but I owed. Still, next time, both my elbows will have to be twisted before I replicate this experience...that I can sum up in one word: IDIOCY.