SCANSION

. . . about the Poets

A total of 712 poems written by 175 poets comprised the entries in the 2009 National Annual Senior Poets Laureate Poetry Competition for American poets age 50 and older. There were 43 Senior Poets Laureate Awards given (42 state and one international), plus 19 Honor Scroll Awards for poems that passed Round One but did not proceed to the finals from which one National Senior Poet Laureate was selected. The total of awards for the SPL and HS honors combined was 62.

Breakdown of total entrants (175) by gender was 131 female poets and 44 male poets, with women leading by 3 to 1 at the entry level. The gender gap narrowed, however, at the conclusion of Round 1 judging. From this round were chosen 30 female and 13 male winners of Senior Poet Laureate awards and 11 female and 8 male winners of Honor Scroll awards. Added together, the total was 41 female and 21 male winners, or approximately 2 to 1.

During the first 17 years of the Senior Poets Laureate competition, the gap has narrowed to nearly a 1 to 1 ratio for male-female National-level Senior Poet Laureate title holders. Since 1993, the contest has named eight males and nine females National Senior Poets Laureate, thus making it an equal-opportunity contest even if the ladies consistently appear to be outnumbering the men at the outset of each contest.

Age Groups of the Poets

Of these still-active, enthusiastic poets, the youngest 2009 SPL winner was 55 and the eldest recently turned 90. Age groups of the 43 Senior Poets Laureate Award winners whose laureate poems competed for the National Awards were:

The eldest winner in the Honor Scroll Award category was 93; as in the SPL category, the youngest winner of the HS Award was 55. Age groups into which the 19 Honor Scroll winners fell were:

Thus, the grand total of ages of the 62 winners in the various groups was:

50-59  1
60-69 16
70-79 17
80-89   8
90+   1
Total SPLs 43
50-59  3
60-69  6
70-79  7
80-89   2
90+   1
Total HSs 19
50-59: 4
60-69 22
70-79 24
80-89 10
90+ 2
2009 Grand Total Winners 62

Occupations of the Poets

Education
(teachers and administrators)
17
Health Care 12
doctors 2
nurses  2
medical researchers  2
caseworkers 2
psychologists  4
Writing/editorial 5
Office workers 3
Arts & Crafts persons  3
Governmental affairs
/public service
 4
Military (retired)  2
Music 2
Businesspersons 2
Ministry 2
Legal 2
Entertainment 2
Farming-ranching 2
Library work 1
Public relations 1
Stone mason 1
Homemaking 1

Birth Signs of the Poets

All signs of the zodiac were represented. They are listed here in order of numbers of winners of SPL and HS awards, from the most to the least: Unknown, 2; Aquarius, 7; Scorpio, 7; Pisces, 6; Gemini, 6; Cancer, 6; Leo, 6; Sagittarius, 6; Capricorn, 5; Virgo, 4; Aries, 3; Taurus, 2; Libra, 2.

To read . . . SCANSION ... editorial by Wanda Sue Parrott click OPENING
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