Sunday, 6 October 2013

Even without a great blow

This is a new poem -- written for a Poem Pigeon competition on the theme of autumn.


"Dark November nights!" I said,
too eagerly too often,
as I anticipated
in the year I was seven
nights as they'd been, November
of the year before,
the first when year was number,
month name. I remembered fire,
headlights, clouds, coke stove, sparklers.
Written recall of childhood
memories, having less loss
than mine in the writer's head,
and set forth with greater skill,
makes old autumns evergreen.
Nostalgia I first felt at school.
It's something I've since outgrown.

Entry in Poem Pigeon competitions is by posting on the Poem Pigeon site.  In other words, a poem entered there is automatically a published poem.  Most poetry competitions, meanwhile, continue to favour a set of rules in which entry is anonymous and published work is ineligible.  But the 'entry by web publication' model is one I've encountered increasingly often -- in the 2012 English National Opera Mini-Operas contest, for example -- and it'll be interesting to see how these two systems co-exist.  

And what effect will the growth of the web-entry model have on my output and on this blog?  Much of my poetry is unashamedly written for competitions, and my rule is to blog only poems that have achieved publication.  The web-entry model will let me blog poems much closer to the time of writing than I have often done.  

The anon-unpublished-entry model, on the other hand, has some effect of quality control.  For this blog, that effect is limited.  Some of the poems I've accounted as published (and therefore bloggable) have been self-published, or published in outlets where I was a member of the editorial team.  I'm not a member of any editorial teams at the moment; will Poem Pigeon take their place?

I have no quarrel with the winning poem in the Autumn competition, 'Autumnal wish' by Deborah Kellogg.  It's a good 'un.  What do you think?

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