Wednesday, 3 January 2007

The Plough Prize

Just before Christmas, I judged the short poem section of the 2006 Plough Prize. It was a lot of fun, but very difficult to choose between the last half-dozen poems, because even though there was a limit of ten lines, the writers had managed to pack an awful lot in there, creating and maintaining tension and suggesting all sorts of back stories. You can read the top three, plus the top three in the open section of the competition, by clicking on the link above,
It struck me as I was doing the judging that my own poems almost invariably seem to clock in at between 12 and 24 lines these days. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, and I won't be trying to write more or less just for the sake of it, but I will be seeing whether sometimes I should let things flow a bit more, or on other occasions if a poem can be pared right down. There's something very satisfying about writing a really short poem (well, as long as you feel like you've done it well), feeling that you've made every word more than pull its weight.
I'll be posting reminders later in the year, but make a note of the Plough Prize site. It's an excellent competition, not least because of the critiques of individual poems offered at a small extra charge. I know from experience how valuable (and how thorough) they are, so they're well worth every penny.


Kirk Wisebeard said...

I agree totally... sometimes a poems needs epic proportions, sometimes paring to the core is better... remember my Christmas Haiku???

Matt Merritt said...

How could I forget?