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Judging poetry competitions

I think the reason I enjoy judging poetry competitions and reviewing contemporary poetry collections is the same: to celebrate quality that might otherwise not be appreciated. I avoid reviewing the already well established poets and pitch to review those I think under-recognised or under-appreciated. When I judge a competition for individual poems, generally the poets who submit are either emerging and/or less established, and the recognition the winners receive from their success in the competition gives them a sense of validation and recommitment to their craft. The next competition I'm judging is for the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival, thanks to the invitation of Dawn Gorman, who does a g

Mothers' Days, UK and US

One of the unexpected trials of living in the UK has been that it presents me with an extra mothers' day to endure: they have one in March, in addition to the US Mothers' Day in May. So each year I've felt the pangs of being a birthmother more strongly both those days, in addition to on my son's birthday. This past Sunday was different. I found my son last summer. He seems happy, healthy, successful as a translator in Japan, not long married to a beautiful and intelligent young woman. I thought of my own mother, whom I wish he'd met. She was, as the expression goes, generous to a fault, especially when it came to two of my sisters' drug addictions. The warmth she had...and she, who held him

National Poetry Month and NaPoWriMo

As spring break falls entirely within April this year, I thought I would try writing a poem a day for National Poetry Month (in the US, anyway) and gathering others to do it with me. It's entirely an honour system, and I recommend tailoring the challenge to one's own needs: if you prefer to write two poems one day and none the next, or to write a section of a long poem you're working on, etc., that's just as worthy. I'll post on my progress at various points and welcome your responses, news of your own progress, etc. So here's my gang, resident in the UK unless otherwise noted: 1. Lucy Maxwell Scott, Devizes 2. Isabel Palmer, Swindon 3. Elinor Brooks, Swindon 4. Rachael Clyne, Glastonbury 5.

What Can Political Poetry Do?

After years of attending AWP (the Associated Writing Programs' annual conference--Brits, imagine 11,000 writers in one U.S. city for three days) and thereby obtaining my American lit and food fix, I decided to take a break this year. It proved to be fortuitous, as I was suffering from a flu for the first time in years, and a bad one at that. It was only when I spoke to Lesley Wheeler that I began to feel sorry I'd missed it. She told me people were talking about hexes, spells, incantations--what poetry can do in this terrifying new era, signified in the U.S. by Trump's presidency. What is the power of language when it seems people make important political decisions while discounting the fac

R. A. Villanueva's Reliquaria (U. Nebraska, 2014)

Some favourite passages from this lush first collection: I kneel beside priests burning camphor upon the ghats, brace this eldest son for what he must break with his hands and the sight of his father's soul freed from the fabric of his skull. end of 'Sacrum' ...and the birds with nowhere to alight, all falling from the sky with little sound, their hearts damp fireworks going off in their chests. * His father's voice a black ship sealed with pitch. from 'Telemachy' If we let them, soon all we'll have left are anthems, this looping montage of eagles and bugles and smoke. Remembering-- I need you to know--takes names, faces ghosts. from 'Aftermaths' But what can we offer save for harvests of ru

Copyright 2016 by Carrie Etter

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