Entries sent by regular post must bear a postmark or date of July 1 or earlier and must reach us by July 21. Entries received after this date will be kept for the NEXT contest opening November 1, 2010.
Again, let me make it clear that we are seeking entries in ALL categories, except prose poems. What is a prose poem? A prose poem is a poem that has the same format as this Newsletter. If the lines are indented, if the poem LOOKS like poetry, it will be accepted. True, the full title of the Contest is The Margaret Reid Prize for Traditional Verse. So what is traditional verse? Most contests for "traditional verse" exclude "free verse". Why? They often reply they restrict themselves to "poetic forms current in the 19th century."
Fair enough. So I then ask, "Why then do you accept poetic forms that were NOT regarded as legitimate in the 19th century, such as villanelles, sestinas, roundels, etc."
They never reply to this question.
It's certainly true that free verse also was not regarded as a legitimate form in the 19th century. But like villanelles, sestinas, roundels, etc., it was acceptable in the 18th century. For instance, the famous poet, Christopher Smart (1722-1771), wrote free verse:
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffrey,
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the First glance of the glory of God in the east he worships in his way.
Maybe I'm wrong, but Smart's poetry not only looks like free verse but reads like free verse to me. Therefore free verse certainly qualifies as "Traditional Poetry"!
Here are some quick last-minute suggestions: 1. Revise your MS carefully for spelling and grammatical errors. Use Spellcheck or some similar program. 2. Present your work attractively. True, we don't have any formatting guidelines for our contests. We rely upon you to make the judges' work a pleasure rather than a task. If you are unsure what size font to use, make it too big, rather than too small. 3. Don't use wps, or doc.x formats if you can use alternatives. True, we will accept wps and doc.x, but such entries have to be uploaded to Zamzar for conversion.
This year, as you know, the prize pool for our poetry contests has been increased to $5,550 (including a First Prize of $3,000). Entry fees have not been raised. The entry fee remains at $7 for each 25 lines (or part thereof). There are ten cash prizes in all, but the judges do reserve the right to award extra cash prizes if they so desire.
To enter your poems in our current poetry contests, you will find full information at http://margaretreid.exactpages.com OR http://poetrycontests.exactpages.com
From a statistical point of view, cash prizes for the Margaret Reid Contest are much less difficult to win, as we usually receive only a third the number of entries the Tom Howard Contest attracts. One reason for this, of course, is that the Tom Howard Contest is open for a longer period of time.
Unlike almost all other poetry contests, we impose no limits on the number of lines or number of poems you may submit. I repeat, there is NO MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM wordage and also NO RESTRICTION ON THE NUMBER OF ENTRIES you may submit.
For full details, you can also visit the home page of http://www.winningwriters.com and click on the contests at the top of the screen.
The latest Margaret Reid poetry anthology is Love & City Dreaming: Poems by Margaret Havill Reid. Margaret's range and versatility in this book provide an excellent guide to the verse we are seeking for the Margaret Reid Prize.
You'll also find plenty of rousing titles and attention-getting poems in our previous anthologies of winning entries such as SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME: Award-Winning Poems in which 108 award-winning and commended poems are gathered together in a large-format, 196-page book! (Don't take any notice of the Amazon sub-title, "Fifty" poems! There are actually 108 poems in the book Amazon is selling).
Finally, I'd recommend my own Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, NEW EXPANDED EDITION If you've been wasting your time and money sending out great stories and magnificent poems to Contests that immediately place them in the reject basket, here's an essential book to help you select the RIGHT CONTESTS. For example, there are a number of prestigious Poetry Contests that NEVER award prizes to traditional 19th century verse, even though they imply in their rules that such forms are acceptable. And there are very few prose or poetry contests that will award prizes to humorous entries, even though this restriction is not so much as hinted at in their rules.
Both the Margaret Reid and Tom Howard contests will accept humorous poems. We have awarded cash prizes for humorous and comic poems in the past. To date for the current contest, however, we have received very few entries in this category.
So how to separate a suitable contest for your work from one in which you'll just waste your time and money? One of the key recommendations in Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS is that you take a look at some of the entries that have won prizes in previous years. If you usually print the personal pronoun, "I" as "i", for example (as in "Yes, i love to go swimming, but i really prefer baseball"), you are ruining your chances in the Margaret Reid Contest. You will find no such usage among previous prizewinners.
Wishing you every success!