THOUGHTS ABOUT JUDGING POETRY (#11)
Self-publishing has an honored history in poetry -- it's not something to disdain automatically. But is it a paradox for a self-published collection to be entering itself into a poetry prize competition?
As I was saying, self-publishing has an honored history in poetry -- it's not something to disdain automatically. What can undercut a self-published collection's effectiveness, though, is an authorial introduction explaining why the collection is self-published. I've yet to see such a prose exercise avoid coming off as (unnecessarily...and, at times, bathetically) defensive.
There's obviously a logic to a COLLECTED (and some lengthy SELECTED) POEMS inevitably including poems that acknowledge (whether with humor but often more with resignation or bitterness et al) the world's indifference to the poet's avocation.
But I just read a COLLECTED where this type of poem doesn't get any play. Worth nota bene-ing as this resulted, moithinks, from this poet's incredible discipline. Over several decades, this poet consistently adhered to hir position that the poem is not about authorial autobiography (not to say there's anything wrong with that, but this poet chose a different poetics and was able to manifest it completely...and with much intelligence and luminosity). As my son would say,
"Good for you: CONGRATULATIONS!"