There was only one category. “Poet's Choice” with a 40-line limit per poem in standard format. No shaped poems or poems on illustrated paper were allowed, although a few good ones were received by entrants who apparently didn't read the Rules.
Submissions ranged from three-line haiku and senryu to 14-line sonnets in both traditional and less-traditional forms, including blank verse sonnets with no rhyme schemes at all and double-sonnet sequences.
Very few humorous poems were received, but those we did get were so good we took them seriously; that is, although humor is often considered light verse in terms of contests, and light verse seldom stands a chance of winning against heavier poetry, the entertaining works in our 2010 contest were judged like they were fine works of art--which they were--and some won accordingly, both in traditional and free-verse form.
The free verse submissions outnumbered traditional rhymed and metered works, and a number of poets from all corners of the country entered poems with Native American themes. A few poems about Alzheimer's Disease and loss of loved ones to other conditions were surprisingly fresh in the poets' approaches to the tragic side of seniorhood. Some profound super-short internal rhymed work was received, and several terrific prose poems kept the judges going back to read and reread certain entries that spun magical webs of double-entendre surprises.
A few steamy passionate poems lit up the crimson lights of love, while a few "oh woe is me, I'll drink myself to oblivion" themes splashed grey sludge water over hope, but these opposite extremes were offset by some bedazzling transcendent imagery, like the picture of a golden shimmering man wearing butterflies.
Several poets, unknown one to the other, submitted poems about sacrifice made from the kindness of a human heart which was not appreciated by the poet until decades later. One poet wrote an ode to her father who fed the family toast when she was a child; another forgave her father for killing a white owl which would have slowly succumbed to death from separation after its mate was killed. Yet another character in a poem abstained from plowing his farmland when he realized his crops were being planted on an ancient burial ground.
This year's winners are simply great and we joyfully share these Golden Works in this year's GOLDEN WORDS with our golden wish that transcends time, space and age:
May the muse be with you,