SCANSION . . .
. . . about the 2009 Facts
There was only one category, “Poet's Choice” with a 1-page limit per poem. Submissions ranged from three-line haiku and senryu to 14-line sonnets and many more odes to life, light and love than we have seen for a few years. Do they reflect a lightening up of the somber national mood now that a new administration is in office? Or has the last 7-year cycle just come to a natural end? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still going on, yet far fewer poems about 9/11, military or political topics arrived this year than has been the case since 2002.
Also missing was the usual category of poems older poets write which make fun of the fact dieting is not too easy and will be done tomorrow, after eating irresistible chocolate today. There was not one single poem that smacked of yummies for the tummy. Poems of reminiscence are always plentiful in the SPL contest, and that was true this year; however, many of this year's entries were done in free or blank verse, as opposed to traditional rhyme and meter in which most sentimental poetry or light verse falls. The usual most-used couplet in the English language appeared in countless poems, but it always does: love/above. Is it trite because of overuse? We let the judges make their own decisions.
Last year saw an increase in prose poems, but the prose poem form all but vanished in 2009. So did the shaped poems that are so hard to set in html language for display in GOLDEN WORDS, largely because our rules asked poets to please abstain from submitting such clever-but-difficult pieces of art. We did not ask poets to abstain from submitting ACROSTICS, but not a single one came in, which was also a relief to people like Wanda Sue Parrott who have an intense dislike for this form because it is too contrived. A few excellent prose poems did come, but they looked like, well, traditional poetic format... no huge square blocks of unbroken text... broken or at least raggedy uneven lines, like the coastal shore along beaches everywhere ...
There was no side-splitting humor, and what humor did come was often so metaphorically morphed it was hard to figure out. Some metaphors were so abstract their meanings aroused squabbling between usually cool judges whose feathers, like those of hot roosters crowing in a henhouse, got ruffled. Nobel Peace Prize winner Richard P. Feynman once told Wanda her poetry must really be good because he didn't understand it; she now passes on the physicists's witty words to the SPL poets of 2009.
Elegant elements of compassion and romance were so abundant that some poems actually sparkled in starbursts reminiscent of red, white, blue and gold fireworks on the Fourth of July or ready-to-pick juicy muscadine grapes dangling on the vine. Many metaphors were mixed, and similes were served like slices of super-sweet genetically engineered seedless watermelon at a seed-spitting contest. In other words, this was a very challenging contest, and the judges really worked! Out of it came several unexpected candidates for literary awards that appear in this book, but which were not planned at the outset of the competition.
This proved to be the biggest contest since Wanda Sue Parrott inherited the Senior Poet Laureate Contest from Vera-Jane Goodin Schultz back in 2003, at which time the National Senior Poet Laureate's maximum award was $60. Wanda raised the entry fee from $1 per poem to $3 and made other changes about which more details appear in the HISTORY section link. This was the first SPL event promoted and produced solely through online electronic media and other sources. This is the second GOLDEN WORDS book to be solely displayed online, free of charge, for all interested poets to read at any hours of day or night. It is the first SPL contest that gave the National Senior Poet Laureate Award winner $500. Income from contest fees and donations supported the 2009 SPL event. We might do it again next year.
News about forthcoming Senior Poets Laureate events will be published in the December edition of our newsletter, The Diploemat, that will be posted on this website. You can also check our website's CONTEST--Senior Poets Laureate listing on the home page around 1/01/10...