The Lazy Chap’s Guide To Poetry Competition Judging

Road o Clevedon Pier AnthologyI’m not sure that I’ve ever felt quite as popular as I did last weekend, what with Submissions for Arfur and the deadline for the Anthology Competition falling – emails every minute or two and all filled with poetry.

It is down to earth this week though, as I suddenly realised that it was ‘over to me’ and that I needed to get on with it.

I’d kind of been keeping an eye on the submissions for Arfur, and so felt it was better to go for the unopened tin that was the ‘Road to Clevedon Pier’ competition first instead, and my god there was a fair old pile of them.

I did think I should probably explain the approach (in the interests of transparency and a vague hope of sympathy,) so this is how it has gone:

  1. All of the entries were printed and coded, and left ‘unnamed’. I feel bad about the printing, but there we are, I hate reading poetry on screen and well, I’m a Luddite, what can I say.
  2. I read all of the poems one at a time, not to sift or sort them or otherwise get myself organised, but just to see if any grabbed me. At this point I deliberately didn’t want to think about it all as a competition, instead just read and enjoy.
  3. From there, I had a day off. I’m quite lazy, really.
  4. I read all of the entries again, this time more critically and ended-up with a pile of ‘possibles’ and another of ‘sadly nots.’
  5. I panicked a little as the ‘possibles’ towered over the ‘sadly nots’.
  6. I thought I’d better read them again. But took the rest of the day off first.
  7. I read them all again and this time ended-up with a smaller ‘possibles’ pile, which I then managed to split into  ‘probably’ and a ‘probably not, though I’m still not 100%’ piles. I felt as though I was getting somewhere now.
  8. I took another day off as this was becoming like hard work and I wasn’t sure I’d signed-up for that.
  9. I read them all again and started binary sorting them (I always knew that Computer Studies CSE would come in handy one day) and then somehow I ended-up with a longlist. These will be the ones that appear in the anthology.
  10. I definitely took the rest of that day off at this point.
  11. From there it was easy and I soon found my three poem shortlist.

And that is where we currently are. I just need to pick a winner, but unfortunately it is from three poems that I have totally fallen in love with.

Decisions, decisions. What to do?

Well, take the weekend off, clearly, and work it out on Monday.

The interesting thing is that I still don’t know who has written the poems as I’m leaving that ‘pull back the curtain’ moment until I pick the overall winner.

Oh, and I can’t seem to lay my hand on the list that matches poet to poem. But it is here, somewhere. I’m sure it is (ahem.)

I would like to thank everybody who entered, you have written some really fine poetry, i just wish it wasn’t such hard work.

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