After eight weeks since beginning my two-year journey in writing on Jan 1st this year (2021), I have finally found a poetry contest I am willing to enter… not that I have been searching hard for it. I’ve been relying mostly on my local writers’ federation newsletter to introduce me to writing contests to enter, which I work on like writing assignments in a course, and this was the first one for which I qualified and was interested in. By qualification, I mean from not having self-published poetry in the past. By interest, I mean with a very low entry fee because I have no fucking clue what counts for good poetry these days.
When it comes to good poetry, I am of the very old-fashioned mind to love the classical forms of poetry past. Poetry that actually rhymes, has some cadence like with song lyrics, uses good metaphors, along with moving me emotionally. It is old-fashioned, but so what? Not everything newer is better. With regards to poetry present, a lot of this rap and woke performance stuff, I just pass off as grammatically poor bitching, that only move me emotionally to want to yell at them to shut the fuck up! And I could win most debates about that, too!
I don’t consider all modern poetry to be like that, though. I do love some modern poetry I hear, like that amazing young poetess, Amanda Gorman, at Joe Biden’s Inauguration and in her TEDTalk.
However, that is far and few in between all the stuff being called poetry that I hear these days. And the pressure that woman must face, to have the expectations of such moving words with every one she utters! I can’t imagine, but she wows me again and again. Too bad the ridiculously vast majority of other poets in recent times don’t.
So I have one example I like of good poetry these days. There are a few more I can’t recall at this time, but they are along the same lines, and not all that different from the old poetry I love with many of the same elements, just a little less structure. However, I am not comfortable with writing in this way. I don’t have it in me. What I do have is a lot of that old fashioned poetry way, modernized to write in shorter, eastern forms these days, like haiku and tanka, breaking a few rules along the way like using similes and metaphors to be like tweets rather than proper haiku and tanka. I write a lot of bad and mediocre poems, like on my poetry blog, but I write them to express some thoughts and feelings, not trying to make great poetry. As with many things in life, you produce enough and every now and then, you’ll get something good or great if you didn’t have the propensity to do so on a regular basis. I know people aren’t generally fans of them, though, and far less poetry contest judges would be.
So should I even bother to write some poetry and enter this mostly local contest with a measly $5 entry fee? It is only $5, after all. However, as one who lives on very little from working hard to get good value for my money, I don’t just pass off $5 on any old whim. No, it has to be worth it. In this case, I guess I’ll have to see if the “experience” to write a poem, or set of poems, for this will yield something I feel good enough about regarding whatever modern poetry is to spend the money and enter. I’ll have to look at it to try and find some merit that I understand, and hope the modern poetry judges can see and appreciate. What? I’m not sure. Maybe a psychedelic sounding haiku set of haiku verses, about something equally flippant. I don’t know, but that doesn’t actually sound like a bad idea lol. Or maybe I’ll write a set about the moon, with psychedelic symbolism and some concrete feature to it with the typography. Or anything psychedelic cause I feel like it’s got to be crazy in some sort of way to compete with all the crazy things called poetry these days. But then again, maybe I can take solace that my province is still pretty traditional, that even with modern poetry, it’s not going to be that crazy. Maybe all those crazy poets will enter bigger and more prestigious contests.
We’ll see what I end up doing. For now, I just need to keep the March 31 deadline, and 50 words max, in mind. Yes, only 50 words max. Micro-writing, they call it, as I first heard of the word from Stuart Danker’s blog a week ago. I’ll take down ideas and see what I can do with them, especially after March 8th because I am planning to hand in a 60,000+ word manuscript for consideration of mentorship. As a result, the next week and a half should be very interesting in terms of writing for me to give it one more polish, but not too much of one. I not only don’t have the time, having taken about 20 hours for 2000 words in a short story competition entry lately, but the idea of mentorship is to have someone help me make it better. I just need to make it good enough to be better than what I think my competitors will enter.