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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Etter

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 great job of running the Words & Ears reading series in Bradford on Avon. I lived in BoA from 2005 until 2011--I think that's the longest I've lived in a single town since growing up in Normal, Illinois. The Festival's theme this year is 'flights of fancy,' so that's the competition's theme, too. Entries of poems up to 20 lines (whether in prose or poetry) are accepted through July, and all the winners will be notified by the end of August. Full details are available here: Come one, come all!

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