A competition I didn’t enter has caused a stir online. The judge’s report quotes lines from poems that didn’t win. You will need to decide for yourself whether this callous or not – but I’ll tell you what I think, if you ask me.
The judge takes time to criticise the use of the following words (in a list of what he thinks were typographical errors): ambuscaded, aurochs, bevore, caldera, caviled, chypre clopin-clopant, congeners, consubstantiality, crewel, rucification, depakote desquamation, diacritics, ellipses, exoticise, fankle, laiden, leminscates, nano-nymphs, necrotic, obeli, psoriatically, samaras, scrimmage, shtick, skyark, spikenard, tormentil, umlauts, unguentaria, unporcelain, unworthyeing, weltered.
Pausing perhaps to remark that some of these are… y’know… actual words, let us move forward ensuring that there is never any invention, or creation, or innovation in the field of poetry henceforth. Let nothing be new. Let everything be the same, over and over again. Perhaps all those that did enter may reflect on whether poetry prizes are either a good use of time, or money… or not; or, indeed, if that particular prize was… or not. I wonder how the prize winners feel, right now. Perhaps it might be better to buy poetry books than enter the countless competitions that there are out there. I’m reading Polly Aitken’s book. It’s good. Buy it, from Seren. I’ve also ordered Mark Goodwin’s new chapbook by Red Ceiling Press. Mike Barlow’s pamphlet Some Kind of Ghost is brilliant. You could probably buy all of those for the same price as entering a competition.
I can’t help but feel that poetry (and the world in general) would be better if there were more aurochs in it. Not less. Real, great gallumphing aurochs. And plenty of metaphorical ones, too.