Saturday, February 06, 2010


When I first opened the boxes of books for the poetry competition I'm judging, I noticed several COLLECTEDs or SELECTEDs by reputable poets. And I wondered how it would be possible for a one-project (so to speak) poetry book to compete against such tomes. It's like a slice of a poet's life competing against an entire life, isn't it?

Well, I just read a book -- let's call it ABC -- that's not a COLLECTED or SELECTED (by a poet whose name was previously unknown to me) which blew away everything I'd read up to that point. I can easily see how this would compete against a poet's life work. El punto has several implications which I don't have time to write about right now ... but I'll share a couple of thoughts:

-- sometimes, when a poet is so blessed, hir poems are able to sustain for a period of time a certain vibrancy/energy/frisson. I thought that it would be this type of book that would overcome the weight of a COLLECTED or SELECTED. But ABC, while certainly vibrant, is not in this category for the category is too limited to encapsulate its achievement. ABC shows a different path of how to create a stellar poetic achievement. And its path? Something that shows the limits of imagination and that I would categorize as -- for the moment of the poems' creation anyway -- Poetry as a Way of Life where intellect and heart marries to make each other bigger than before.

But it's still early in my reading of all entrants; let's see what future reading will undercover. And this is also a moment for me to say:

I felt conflicted when I decided to judge this poetry competition, but the experience to date is a reminder: it's a blessing to read many poems -- and one blessing is certainly to come across previously unknown poets' works -- and I am grateful to ALL of these poets.