Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Poetry Competition Anthologies

I've just been reading my copy of What the Peacock Replied, the anthology of the winners and shortlisted poems from the Single Poem category of the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize 2019, with poems by Dawn Gorman (winner of the Pamphlet Category); Fiona Cartwright (1st Prize); Terry Jones; (2nd Prize); Steven Jackson (3rd Prize) and over 40 other poets.

This competition is an annual event organized by the wonderful Dempsey and Windle team, publishers, poets, event and competition organizers, based in Guilford, UK.

There is an introduction by the judge, Anna Saunders in this case, with general comments and comments on the prizewinning works.

It's most interesting to see the range and variety of the poems chosen. There is no suggestion here that the judge favoured a single style or form of poetry. Poems rhyme or not, are formal or free even experimental, long and short - the shortest a great four line poem by John Bevan. Poems reference popular culture or classical works and authors - Facebook, Barbie, Penelope, Edward Hopper. Some poems even have explanatory subtitles.

My shortlisted poem included in the anthology is The Friary Bell one of those based on the Blackfriary archaeology dig in Trim. Inclusion in the anthology and a free copy was one of the attractions of the competition.

It is important for competition organizers to state clearly in the rules if winning and shortlisted poems are to be published. If they are it rules them out of other competitions and publications. In our Bailieborough Poetry Competition the rules clearly state "The shortlisted poems may be published on the Bailieborough Poetry Festival website" and they usually are.

In the Trim Festival Competition earlier this year we didn't include any such note so when we decided to include the shortlisted poems in the forthcoming Boyne Berries journal we had to ask permission of the authors. I think most agreed. Boyne Berries 26 will be launched on Thursday 3 October.

Next year we intend to state from the start that shortlisted poems will be published in Boyne Berries.

I see the Cathal Bui competition in Belcoo have also published a small anthology of shortlisted poems for their competition, 2019 CATHALBUI POETRY COMPETITION COLLECTION. In this case this wasn't made clear at the beginning so some shortlisted poets aren't included. I had no problem allowing my shortlisted Vertigo at Killadoon to be included.

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