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ON JUDGING WINNING POEMS - nette onclaud's Blog

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Location: north node of pisces in past lives

Characteristics: moon-angel, summer gypsy

Philosophy: in life and love, don’t settle for less than 100%

Greatest sin: can do nothing for a day and stay in the “ now”

Education: a student of life on earth and outbound

Style: blend of classic and eclectic

Strengths and weaknesses: shadows chasing light; light chasing shadows

Luxuries:  inner spirit dancer, theater actress, educator, painter, poet, interior designer

Addictions: diet coke, rare collections, travels around the world

Unforgettable scene: pathways of Prague in Czechoslovakia around dusk

Claim to fame: the world's worst typist


Blog Posted:4/7/2014 3:33:00 PM

all sponsors have their  unique way of judging winners for a contest.. some specifically define what they need from entrants when a challenge opens.. others simply let us loose with 1 or 2 rules.. a few provide not a clue except the theme.. these are all acceptable since the sponsor has his own style of running a contest…personally, I would set my criteria for judging, like creativity of substance, flow , emotional appeal…

for my ‘take two’ contest,  i included basic parameters for judging entries with rules... though i wanted to give more slots, poets missed the requirements ( adding name,  title of contest, others)… more so, a lot entered wonderful pieces that were not in sync with the dynamics of a poetic form, e.g., an ottava rima or dizain’s pattern was not followed… still, I’d like to say, I received superb works!.. i grade each poem based on my guidelines and assign percentages for winning entries …

the final outcome is finalized after two or three readings… tough but fun!... oh, I also take into consideration if English is the second language of a participant.. most of all, the poem must slay me, move me, even assault my senses!

how do you judge your contests, dear soupers?.. we would love to learn from you!..

as for entrants, what instructions would help you understand better the principles of a contest?…

 share!.. huggs!

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  1. Date: 4/21/2014 5:33:00 AM
    Hey Nette... How is it going, love your few but broad rules... gives some latitude to the poets. Agape, Moses

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  1. Date: 4/12/2014 1:13:00 PM
    Sori, balik nga ako, lutang naman utak ko? Haha. But yes, thanks for sharing with us what goes into your judging process-- it would definitely differ from judge to judge :) Palaspas na mamaya....

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  1. Date: 4/9/2014 12:50:00 AM
    Hi Nette, normally I have a bunch of rules for a particular contest. I don't care about the form (I don't care if you have a certain form down to the last period mark - if your poem doesn't resonate and doesn't follow rules it doesn't place). I like judging blind but I don't penalize people for including their names. However, I believe the work you put up for your contest is the complete work so one should be penalized for not following instructions instead of being allowed to make amends.

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/9/2014 9:00:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    thank you for your your incisive reflections.. i'll keep that in mind, vicky and contemplate on it!.. huggs
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 8:33:00 PM
    Thank you for my placement Nette. Coming from you I consider it to be an honor...

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/9/2014 9:00:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    well-deserved, tim... huggs
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 2:23:00 PM
    I will try to come back here nette, just dropping by to say, ang init!!!

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 3:07:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    nikks!.. glad to see you here.. ang eenit!.. hope you can relax this araw ng kagitingan holiday!.. huggs
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 11:30:00 AM
    Usually, the principles of the contests, the rules, the guidelines ..." the directions" are very clear. Many of them are ... : D no, they're not ... let me rephrase: I find many of rules and guidelines irrelevant. I can't understand why is so important to write the name of the contest or why is necessary to add the author name. I "can't" understand why these technicalities could influence the judging process. I never sponsored a contest, so, I don't have experience ... but if I sponsor one, I would ask for a poem, just a poem.

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 3:06:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    all said in good faith, ruben and chris... i have included poems without names a few times... nonetheless, i simply feel that for now, these requirements are important to me... i hope i can speak for those who request the same, but, but... huggs!:)
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 4/8/2014 1:46:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Stevie Wonder? Four times, different people, in a lapse of 5 years ... told me that I look "just" like Bill Murray!! Im not longer talking to them ... : D Hullo, Chris!! How's everything?
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 4/8/2014 1:34:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    ... I think that the omission of the author name shouldn't be an excuse to eliminate the entry.
    O. Avatar Ruben O. Date: 4/8/2014 1:33:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    First of all, let me tell you that ... I love you! : D (just in case you're already mad at me : D). You've already explained the grammar/misspelling motive, and ... it doesn't convince me. : D I mean: if you ask for names trying to help with an eventual mistake ... why you refuse to place or even judge a poem without its author name ... which may haven't any grammar/misspelling mistakes...
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 4/8/2014 12:34:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    nette, I am going to be rude and barge in here. I like your responses to Ruben, especially the ice-cream analogy. I no longer state for people to not include their names, and it doesn't change the outcome of the placements in my contests; which surprised me a bit at first .... but now it doesn't surprise me at all.
    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 12:00:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    !... part 2:though it's not my fault, this OC part of me needs some ' closure..' i tell ya, good friends of mine enter with their names included; they don't take the ice-cream if the flavor is not good... i'd like to think i judge fair.. just my thoughts!.. hey, you look like the handsome version of stevie wonder with your sunglasses on!.. huggs
    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 11:59:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    yayy.. you talking to me, ruben? lol... i ask for names of contestants because a lot have the potential to win though they miss a tad bit on syl count, rhyme/ meter or any glitch whatsoever... i soupie them for clarification.. they know who they are.. seriously, i tried judging blind and most prospective winners ..lost!
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 4/8/2014 11:41:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Ruben, you can't see how asking for names could possibly skewer the outcomes of contests for some sponsors? Sheesh, and here I thought that you were intelligent(just kidding! How's it going, Ruben-O-vski?
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 9:41:00 AM
    Oh wait, I think my question could have come-off wrongly. Nette, of course the 10-word concept can be original for you. No one can simply take ownership of a 10-word concept. I was simply curious. That's why I asked .... and by possibly asking in the wrong way, I can come-off rudely :P -- The man goes by an online pen-name because he is a highschool teacher: spysgrandson.

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    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 4/8/2014 11:36:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Ok, nette, cool. I just wanted to make sure because there appears to be a lot of sensitivity on the site(especially lately), and I am getting into hot water here and there, when my intentions weren't even to do so. I know when I am purposefully trying to incite(lol). There's a difference.
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 4/8/2014 11:32:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Cyndi, I think the original intent of a blueprint is in the man's head? Seems like an anything goes sort of thing for the crazy kids who took to the fad(I think a lot of the people used it as a way to post something .... post anything for the sake of posting, because they are addicted to posting Ha ha! I think this wasn't the original idea. I believe nette's intention of wanting to see just how far one can go, how much impact can be made with only 10 words, is more along the lines of the original intent(the very first ones I saw years ago were almost like one-line pseudo-haiku, and these branched-out into all sorts of edgy creativity, including "just hanging there", with strong effect).
    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 10:13:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    nohh, i'm okay with that, chris.. i want to see what we can do with 10 words.. this is a cliffhanger for me.. come, join!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 10:06:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Chris, I tried to fine some kind of definition to a 10w... I found poems but no blueprints. Is it just to pen a poem in 10 words? Arrange them, however? Is it meant to evoke a certain response? Is it like micro-fiction, does it need to be complete or can it hang there? Inquiring minds... lol... is there an off switch to curiosity? ;)
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 8:31:00 AM
    Good you posted something on this matter, Nette. I'd like to mention how thankful I am to Roy Jerden who gave me a high place in his Japanese-theme contest though I forgot on or two words that made the line seem incomplete. I must have been too excited or was struck by ADHD that time, hah!Later, he commented that I fill this out , which i did. Mr. Roy was not specific about the mood he wanted; in his next acrostic contest he defined his terms -- to go with the feel of the song" In My Life." I like that!

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 10:17:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    awhh, that is so encouraging on the part of roy, manny... thanks for your valuable input..calling roy jerden!
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 8:09:00 AM
    CYN: very substantive insights.. it's true that a poem has to hit us in a heart-not-head way, along with some refined elements of good poetry.. i used to be a stickler for grammar though i have softened my views on this in lieu of poetry that moves me ...besides,. i have learned that most soupers use English as their second language.. between a flat,well- structured piece and one that may have a slight grammatical flaw but has a good flow and emotional layering, i would score the latter much, much higher...

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 12:19:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I actually read a post on blogs with someone complaining that I had placed poets who didn't write for the contest YET YET YET they agreed the poem was fantastic and deserved to be read. BAH! LOL! I am the odd man out, I'm okay with that :D
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 12:16:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    It has to be ART for me to place a poem that has nothing to do with the contest because I know I will be drawn and quartered by the other judges (see it's here fault! She encourages the riff raff) so... I give a HM and -even then- I can barely look in the mirror.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 12:14:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    (cont) I saw the PERFECTION of the poem, couldn't shake it off. So I needed to give it something. AWK. Give it first place and have 34 other soupers shoot arrows into my back!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 12:14:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Ah. Well, if I were to be honest... I have given an HM to poems that deserved full attention, but had NOTHING to do with my contest.. like, for example, a free verse about war on a sonnet contest about candles (no not really, but close)
    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 10:07:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    wow, that's pretty cool om the part of CV2, sis.. but on soup, you don't get a point for an HM...mmm.. i wish can do that here, at least give a .5 score for HMs?...
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 9:55:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    And one last one, cause you know me, hon, I never shut up... lol... hon'orable men'tion n. a citation conferred on a contestant, exhibit, etc., having exceptional merit though not winning a top honor.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 9:53:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry check it out. I was wrong. LOL.. HM's will get paid publication! Now, if you received THIS kind of HM, would you feel it an afterthought? Thousands of entries, only three HMs... I can almost see you smile and hear your laugh!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 9:50:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I've just signed up for a contest in a highbrow magazine here in Canada, CV2. Only 3 will get paid. Another 3 will get an HM. If I were to get an HM, I'd probably have a coronary, my heart would explode with joy. All perspective, Soul Sis.
    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 8:10:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    part 2: yeowww, i'm allergic to HMs; i find this to be an afterthought ( no offense, hon).. i never gave anyone an HM.. instead, i created a special citation for those who did not place but were almost there!... yup, this is long... more later, soul sis.. huggs!
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 12:07:00 AM
    P.S. -- I read a piece not long ago on the new poems list, and because I was curious, I checked the contest page. Nette, are you familiar with the mini, pseudo-form called: "10W"? I know the man who coined it. He did so in order to help him ground his writing by practicing with succinctness(instead of the usual forms such as haiku, etc).

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 10:21:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    CYN: yup-yup; that's my baby.. it just sprung up and i got all shook up.. what can we say in 10 words, poetically?.. seriously, i tried this myself...whenth contest is done, i'll tell you who were my inspiration.. wanna guess? soupie me!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 10:07:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Is your next contest 10 words, Nette? Will go check.
    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 8:13:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    dear me, chris.. i thought what i did was original, shame on me.. who is ths guy?.. but my purpose is different for the 10 words.. :)
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 7:24:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I'll have to peek. 10W=10Words? Holy cow. I say or think 100 words per minute... 10??? I should try it (I think I'm upto 50 words even in this reply :0! Ha!
  1. Date: 4/8/2014 12:03:00 AM
    The answer is too long for me to add here because I will sometimes evaluate a bit differently according to wot type of contest(if asking for a specific device/form, compared to an "Anything Goes" style contest) I am sponsoring. Hmmmm, if asking for a specific form, I am many times tempted to choose a poem that deviated a bit but grabbed me, compared to a poem that followed all the rules of the form, but is as dry as two day-old toast(it gets so tough to judge under such circumstances sometimes it can drive me more nuts than I already am).

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 8:17:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    i agree that we need to change our criteria based on the contest's thematic approach.. your tanka challenge was well threshed out.. that was a killer migraine, lol!.. huggs
  1. Date: 4/7/2014 7:57:00 PM
    For me, I try to balance the richness of a poem, its bone structure, flow, tone and imagery WITH how the poet interpreted the theme and if she/he showed me something new, fresh and original. It is hard to weigh these completely different aspects of a contest-- Poet A writes a stunning rondeau, for example, but Poet B nailed the subject and crafted something memorable, truth in lines, style that stunned. Because spelling/grammar does not usually sway my judging, I'd say that ESL does not come into play with my judging-- there are people born in countries where English IS their first language who write it with less finesse than those who have only been speaking it for a few years, my opinion. I like devices, and those that use them place higher in my contests, but I need to feel an emotional connection to the poem. If a poet has used every device and is flawless in syntax and form, but does not move me in some way, I will place it, but not as high as someone who, as you say Nette, has surprised me with their lines. I'll admit it, I like it when a poem comes full circle or twists unusually. I place all who have tried to meet the challenge in some way. I have given HM's to those who did not seem to write a poem for my contest, but who wrote a good poem all the same. I rarely give rules. I give guidelines. Recently, I had rules and guess what? I failed to place an artist who had entered a contest inspired by her OWN PAINTING. Cause she didn't follow the rules! Ridiculous! It taught me to always follow my instincts and judge SOLELY ON THE BEAUTY OF THE POEM! A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME.. lol.. And I no longer concern myself with how other judges run their contests. I will run them my way, free wheeling and focused on the power of words and strength of each line. xoxoxox Cyndi

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  1. Date: 4/7/2014 7:31:00 PM
    The fewer rules the better the results usually the topic alone is enough, I hate it when a judge takes away my ability to title my own work! A title is a VERY important thing to a poem and used to its fullest can give information to the reader that will enrich their enjoyment of the verse.

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/8/2014 9:50:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    i get you, debbie.. somehow,the only downside is that new members may not understand the topic alone is enough... they need ( clues?).. i do at times.. and yes, i like the power of titles; they are the headlines of poems.. huggs
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 4/8/2014 7:29:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I do like one aspect... when a judge asks this, other poets can read all the entries to the contest... I find it inspiring and interesting... still, all I need to do is wait for the contest to be judged and get the same thing. An idea for judges is to have the "WORKING TITLE" set and then the final title can be changed once the contest is judged
  1. Date: 4/7/2014 7:04:00 PM
    Yikes! I might have been one of the rule breakers (it's happened before and I really can't use the newbie label anymore). The contest are all in fun and for me it gives me a target to aim at so I love them and grateful to the sponsor cause it's tough!! If I break the rules I shouldn't place and I won't let that bother me. When I don't place and thought I would, and I followed all the rules it hurts every time. But then I read what did win and it motivates me to go back to the craft, work and learn. As far how I judge.. For me I want to still be moving when the ride ends. I want to get lost in it intellectually and emotionally. I Love Clever! And finding hidden gems is over the moon!!!

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    onclaud Avatar nette onclaud Date: 4/13/2014 8:59:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    quite a normal reaction when we don't place, dave... sometimes, i forget the rules too!.. yayy, that's how the cookie crumbles!.. :)

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12/2/2016 GRACED BY HOPE Rhymeblessing,hope,
11/30/2016 GONDOLA Verseboat,journey,romance,
11/29/2016 ONE-SIDED LOVE Dramatic Versefarewell,love,sad love,
11/28/2016 CHRISTMAS IN MY HEART Free versechristmas,joy,
11/27/2016 INTO A DAYDREAM Narrativedream,imagery,
11/26/2016 MISTY REVERIES Rhymelonging,mother,
11/25/2016 LIBERATED Verseidentity,love,self,
11/24/2016 FAULT LINE Rhymefriend,pride,sorry,
11/23/2016 AFTER THE ELECTION Light Poetryjourney,self,
11/22/2016 FROM THEN TO BEYOND Imagismappreciation,nature,time,
11/21/2016 FAREWELL, NOVEMBER TREES Sonnetautumn,goodbye,tree,
11/20/2016 HUES OF PASSION Dramatic Verseart,passion,
11/19/2016 RIVER'S LIFE Versebereavement,memory,water,
11/18/2016 FOR CB--VICTOR BUHAGIAR Free verseinspirational,poets,tribu
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11/15/2016 NECTAR OF COMPASSION Free versecare,conflict,introspecti
11/14/2016 STORY-TELLING WITH THE MOON Light Poetrybooks,moon,myth,
11/13/2016 NAKED HEART Imagismwoman,
11/12/2016 SECRET REALM Blank versejoy,places,
11/11/2016 PRAYERFUL NIGHT Crystallineencouraging,faith,
11/11/2016 SELF ACTUALIZATION Acrosticself,uplifting,
11/9/2016 TARNISHED GATE Verseyouth,
11/7/2016 MAMA'S ROCKER Versemother,
11/7/2016 DAWN IN OCTOBER Rhymebeauty,morning,october,
11/4/2016 THE HUNT Free verseanimal,conflict,men,
11/2/2016 LAST DETOUR Sonnetlife,
10/31/2016 VINTAGE BOOKS Narrativebooks,grandfather,
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10/26/2016 FIVE FABULOUS FUN FOOTLES Footlefood,
10/26/2016 NEEDING A HOME Dramatic Versechildhood,grief,home,
10/26/2016 AUTUMN FIRE Coupletautumn,beauty,
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10/20/2016 DANGER AHEAD Coupletbetrayal,recovery from,
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