There was only one category. “Poet's Choice” with a 50-line limit per poem in standard format. No shaped poems or poems on illustrated paper were allowed.
Submissions ranged from three-line haiku and senryu to 14-line sonnets in both traditional and less-traditional forms, but a rough estimate places free verse, versus traditional forms of poetry, at about 97 percent in 2011
This reflects the trend-reversal noted elsewhere in Scansion: as the contest expanded away from regional Ozarks rural areas to urban and suburban academic communities, the trend toward free verse multiplied along with the number of educators who began participating in the contest.
Only a handful of humorous poems came, 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 2011 contest were judged like they were fine works of art--which they were. Themes especially evident were in exploratory and humorous poems challenging the Adam and Eve story and other religious stories. Several poems were titled “Reflections” and the nature of God was explored from all angles, including upside down and backward.
Not only were there some pretty-heavy themes this year, the judges selected two powerful-but-short finalists. The National Runner-Up was about rape of a child by a school bus driver. The National Winner was about the up side of the famine that killed untold numbers of Irish people during the Potato Famine, but did not extinguish the human spirit.
Poetry contests attract poems with similar titles or words in them, and this year the recurrent theme was the color red, although poets who wrote such works lived far from each other and probably were unacquainted with one another. This is known as poetic synchronicity, a spiritual aspect that creates an egregore of poets around the world.
A “first” this year was quite an increase in number of poems submitted by people handicapped by stroke, illness or other conditions who lived in elder-care facilities, proof that poetry is more than just good therapy—it can produce winners despite personal handicaps, for the body might be weak but the human spirit sparkles like Golden Words of the soul. This is why we close our messages with this salutation:
To read . . . Scansion continued. . . about the Contest click
To read . . . Scansion continued. . . about the Poets click POETS
To read . . .Scansion continued . . . about SPL's History click HISTORY
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