Not so egregiously slack

October 30, 2014

I really have been absent from my blog for about two weeks now, which is virtually unprecedented. ‘Virtually unprecedented’ is a pretentious way of saying I am usually not lazy like that. But I have been busy, judging other people’s poetry. bigstock_Pen_4267530 That image is very dignified, whereas the process is somewhat more fraught. ‘Fraught’ is a slightly pretentious way of saying difficult. The whole issue of judging poetry throws one back to basics: Why me? What makes a poem good? It is easy to spot the bad poems in a Big Pile. They may use obvious rhyme to the extent that a rhyme seems to be the only point of each line. (A bit like that sentence, but even rhymier.) They may dwell too obviously on the poet him or herself (all the poems to be judged are anonymous, of course, so one does not know the gender of the entrant). I actually like some poems in which the process of writing itself is dealt with, if they are amusing or surprising; not if they are turgid or caught up in an unreflective notion of genius. A good poem should surprise and take risks. It should not use the occasional ‘poetic’ word as seasoning for a balefully plain meal. Somewhere between pinch, stroke and slap we find the Good Poem, strutting herself like a green flamingo, all swerve and flap and tingle. flamingo There you have it; a Good Poem describes an unusually feathered tall bird that tastes like sherbet. Having cleared that up, and finished judging a contest in which there were just too many lovely flamingos, I can move on to something different.

A very interesting anthology is currently being prepared for publication in 2015. Here are the details: Abhay K., Indian poet and diplomat, is editing a collection of poems on capital cities. One for each capital city, I think. I just found out that my poem has been accepted for Canberra. This will be the most international publication that I have been lucky enough to be part of, with poets from Tehran to Jakarta to Paris to Lima included, with 196 or so more. Very exciting indeed!


I am struggling to find the time to work on assembling a new manuscript of poems. So please, dear reader, forgive the absence of an actual poem here this time. I will remedy that in the near future. Which is a pretentious way of saying keep reading.

7 Responses to “Not so egregiously slack”

  1. Oh and I love the word egregious, thanks for peppering my midday with it, and for that wonderful news about the anthology. Sarah.

  2. Congrats on the anthology inclusion

  3. pscottier said

    Thanks Sean!

    Good to leave parochialism behind, occasionally. 🙂

  4. Excellent news on your appointment as the Poetry Ambassador for Canberra! It sounds eminently well-deserved.

  5. pscottier said

    Thank you Simon. Just looking at the life stories of some if the other contributors brings home how Canberra is such an easy place in which to live and write.

    I can’t wait to see the book.

    Wellington is represented by another Tuesday Poet, Jennifer Compton.

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