. . . about the Poets

A total of 1053 poems written by 251 poets from 45 states and three foreign countries comprised the entries in the 2010 National Annual Senior Poets Laureate Poetry Competition for American poets age 50 and older. All but one of the entries entered into the competition; the non-competitive poem was by a non-citizen. It was selected for its symbolic diplomatic representation of Poetry as an ambassadorial tool of international good will.

There were 46 Senior Poets Laureate Awards given (45 states and one international), plus 19 Honor Scroll Awards for poems that passed Round One but did not proceed to the finals from which one National Senior Poet Laureate and one Runner Up were selected. The total for Senior Poets Laureate awards and Honor Scroll awards was 67.

Additional awards included one International Diploet Award, and six Golden Pen Awards, chosen by the co-sponsors, for a grand total of 74 awards given in 2010.

Breakdown of entrants (251) by gender was 172 female poets and 79 male poets, with women leading by slightly more than 2 to 1 at the entry level. The gender gap narrowed, however, at the conclusion of Round 1 judging. From this round were chosen 28 female and 18 male winners of Senior Poet Laureate awards.


During its first 18 years of the race for the National Senior Poet Laureate Award, the pattern of women hitting the ground running and the men catching up later has been a consistent pattern. And the closer the contestants come to the final round, the male poets consistently sprint ahead, almost but not quite catching up with the female poets.

Thus far, the poetic gender gap has narrowed to nearly a 1 to 1 ratio for male-female National-level Senior Poet Laureate title holders. Since 1993, the contest has named eight males and nine females National Senior Poets Laureate, thus making it an equal-opportunity contest even if the ladies consistently appear to be outnumbering the men at the outset of each contest.


Of these still-active, enthusiastic poets, the youngest 2010 SPL entrant was 50 and the eldest recently turned 97. Age groups of the 46 Senior Poets Laureate Award winners whose laureate poems competed for the National Awards were:

The eldest winner in the Honor Scroll Award category was 95; the youngest winner of the HS Award was 52. Age groups into which the 19 Honor Scroll winners fell were:

Thus, the grand total of ages of the 66 winners in the two categories was:

50-59: 4
60-69 22
70-79 10
80-89 10
90+ 0
total SPLs 46
50-59: 1
60-69 5
70-79 7
80-89 5
90+ 1
Total HSs 19
50-59: 5
60-69 28
70-79 17
80-89 15
90+ 1
2010 Grand Total Winners 66


Unlike professions of past centuries, which included mostly male poets who were often venerated as being divinely endowed, or at least were regarded with great respect for ntheir mental acumen and spiritual vision, today's job market does not even include the word “Poet” in help wanted classified ads. Only one entrant in the 2010 contest listed principal occupation as Poet, although all 251 entrants write poetry.

A cross-section of work performed by this year's entrants is represented in the occupations of the poets who won this year's top awards. More members of the educational field entered than representatives of any other field of endeavor. In the past, librarians were high on the list, but they have been upstaged gradually by people from all walks of healthcare, from surgeons to scientific researchers, nurses, psychologists and case workers. The past contests drew few entries from members of the legal profession, but that statistic has changed with the addition of two gifted attorneys joining the SPL circle as winners in 2010.

Here are the 2010 Senior Poets Laureate and Honor Scroll winners' principal and secondary occupations in order of prominence among this year's winners.

Education: (Teachers, professors, administrators), 26
Arts: (Actors, artists, crafts and jewelry makers, filmmakers,
musicians, stage technicians, singers),
Editorial: (Writing, illustrating and editing, poetry), 6
Health Care: (Psychologists, medical geneticist, pharmacist), 6
Government: Governmental affairs/public service: 4
Office workers: (Tax accountant, bookkeeper, administrative assistant, clerks), 6
Business: (Executives, sales manager), 4
  Homemakers: 3
  Lawyers: 2
  Engineers: 1
  Military: 1
  Public relations: 1


All signs of the zodiac were represented. They are listed here in order of numbers of winners of SPL and HS awards combined, from the most to the least:

Capricorn: 9
Aries: 8
Taurus: 8
Aquarius: 7
Scorpio: 7
Cancer: 5
Gemini: 5
Leo: 4
Pisces: 4
Libra: 3
Virgo: 3
Sagittarius: 1


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