UPDATE: One of my focus areas for 2020 was poetry, and I set a goal not only to publish more poems on my social media accounts but also to enter poetry contests. Imagine my surprise when I landed several 2020 contest awards! As happy as I was to win contests, to have four poems published in two different publications is mind-blowing. Alas, I can’t share all of my winning poems with you (yet), but you can follow links to learn more about specific poem forms I wrote. (You can discover other poems I’ve written in earlier highlight stories and in my creative project portfolio.)
Poetry Society of Tennessee Monthly Poetry Contests
Poetry Society of Tennessee holds members-only monthly poetry contests. Of the few I have participated in, I am pleased to share that I placed in a couple during 2020:
- November Hunter or the Hunted contest, 2nd place for my free verse poem, “Before Me, a Blank Page”
- December blank verse narrative contest, 1st place for my poem, “Good Breeding.”
“Good Breeding” will be published in in the next edition of PST’s anthology, Tennessee Voices.
Poetry Society of Tennessee 64th Annual Fall Festival and Contest
On October 24, PST held their annual festival virtually. Their guest speaker, John C. Mannone, presented an interesting workshop on science and poetry. He also shared some of his amazing work. If you like science or poetry (or both), you’ll appreciate how he marries these two seemingly disparate interests.
I placed in the following contests:
- The Undercover Contest, 1st place for my lilibonelle, ”Breaking Silence”
- Think on It, 2nd place for my free verse poem, “Mommy’s Meditation”
- The Lighter Side, 3rd place for my free verse poem, “Where’s the Beef?”
- Haiku Sequence, 2HM for my haiku sequence about transitions in spring
“Breaking Silence” will be published in the next edition of PST’s anthology, Tennessee Voices.
I’m thrilled for my fellow members who also won awards. The local chapter of which I am a member, PST-Northeast, took home 16 awards in total.
See the full list of winners.
Poetry Society of Indiana 42nd Annual Fall Rendevouz Poetry Contest
In mid-October PSI announced the winners of their contest. I placed in two contests:
- Premiere Poets’ Award, 2nd place for my clerihew, ”Nicolaus Copernicus”
- Life Worth Remembering Award (subject: season of discontent), 2nd place for my free verse poem,“Now Fall”
These poems are now available in the anthology, Ink to Paper, 5th edition.
See the full list of winners.
This is the first time I’ve entered poetry contests. To keep things simple, I focused on contests sponsored by poetry societies in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. I’d like to share a few things I have learned (so far) that others may find helpful.
- Enter quality poems, but don’t overthink it. I almost missed out on my 1st place award because I was not 100% sure it was “ready.” (It may not feel comfortable. I’m still not sure that poem is ready! At least I realize I need to get out of my own way.)
- Give yourself plenty of time to prepare your entry. In a contest in which I did not place, I rushed my entry packet and discovered afterward that I had left the title off a couple of my poems, which meant they were not even judged.
- No matter how hard I try to look at my work with an outsider’s eyes, I can still lose perspective. That’s when my poet friends rescue me. Take advantage of reviews and critique groups that may be available. Several of my winning poems benefited from peer reviews.
- Don’t be afraid to try a new poetry form. I’d never written a clerihew before, and I found I really enjoyed writing them. It’s a clever little poem. I also had not written a blank verse narrative poem before. Getting the meter right can be challenging, but putting in the extra effort for it? Totally worth it.
If you’ve ever thought about writing poetry, now is a great time to start. Poetry has grown in popularity in recent years. It’s a great way to record your thoughts and express your creativity. You can write for yourself, your family and friends or the world. What could be more challenging than searching for words to express the unsayable or more satisfying than writing something that brings such concepts and feelings to life?