Blogs by John Howard Reid
Red Pencils at the Ready!
6/10/2009 1:30:32 AM
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Itís time to start sharpening my red pencils in readiness for the close of this yearís Margaret Reid Prize for Traditional Verse. I award each entry a mark out of ten. An entry that scores ten out of ten (or even nine out of ten) immediately goes to the Potential Prizewinner basket.
For 2009, the cash prize money will amount of $5,350. The First Prize is $2,000. Yes, $2,000 for a poem! And all for an entry fee as low as $7!
Mind you, I donít think an entrant who pinned all hope of collecting that $2,000 for a sonnet would stand a great chance. Itís possible, but unlikely. The judges are expecting to see works that are not only creative but substantial. A suite of sonnets would certainly qualify. Itís not just quality that carries off the main prize but sustained quality.
The judges also anticipate the pleasure of reading a large variety of genres. Much as I appreciate rhyming and metrical forms of verse, I find these strictly structured forms difficult to write myself. I prefer free verse and Iím looking forward to reading many pleasing entries in this category.
I know some purists will argue that free verse is not traditional. I donít know where they get this idea from, because Christopher Smart was writing free verse in English way back in 1770.
So free verse definitely qualifies for the Margaret Reid Prize. So do most popular forms, in fact. The only categories I would exclude are prose poems and storoems. In other words, if an entry looks like poetry because it has lines of uneven length, it qualifies.
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