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Roy Jerden's Blog

About Roy Jerden
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I starting writing poetry again in 2012 after a 50 year hiatus.

Born and raised in West Texas, I lived all over the area as a child until my mother remarried, as my father was in the oil drilling business, which required constant moving. I grew up in San Angelo, home of Fort Concho and the Buffalo Soldiers, but spent quite a few summers working on my grandpa's farm in the Texas Hill Country.

I met my wife Toni while I was stationed at Aviano AFB, Italy. I learned to speak Italian fluently and we still speak it at home interchangeably with English. My three sons, all born in Italy after I got out of the USAF, also speak Italian.

We moved back to the USA in 1972 and settled in Missouri, where I went back to school.

We moved to Atlanta in 1988, when Toni relocated here with AT&T. I got a job with McKesson (then HBOC) working with medical information systems, which started my career in this field. I had a natural talent for application design and parlayed this talent into a great R&D management position with an internet startup.

We are now retired. We spend time traveling the world and visiting our grandchildren in CA and NC. We also spend some time in Italy almost every year visiting and traveling with friends in Europe as we have a small apartment there in Sacile near Aviano, not far from Venice.

My other passions are mushroom hunting (the edible kind), gourmet cooking and bread baking.


Requirements, Requirements, Requirements


Blog Posted:2/6/2014 6:35:00 PM
Requirements, Requirements, Requirements

Well, I got into trouble again and it's my fault because I didn't sufficiently specify the requirements for my last contest . I should know better, because quite a few years of my career in IT were about requirements, or specifications as they are known in the engineering world, or learning objectives as they are known in education, which was another career.

Now, those of us who host contests (a masochistic group for sure), are all aware that even if you have the rules specified perfectly with examples and diagrams and flashing arrows, a surprising percentage of entries will not have followed them, and you have to decide how to manage that.

Still, despite this, you should write good requirements, particularly about how you are going to judge the merits of the poems submitted. What might be obvious to you, might not be to some others, so you risk stepping in the “assume” manure pile.

My last contest was a “Word Acrostic”, a different form than most acrostics, which normally use the first letters of one or more words, the most famous (and trite) example being M-O-T-H-E-R, and starting out - "M" is for the million things she gave me - and so on until MOTHER is spelled out. Now you might think that it's obvious that an acrostic poem contest which specifies using M-O-T-H-E-R would expect that the poems entered would follow a Mother theme (and hopefully not use that -“M” is for – format as well). But you would be wrong, and if you didn't specify it in the contest rules, you can probably expect to get poems about motorcycles, murders, and minuets. Not that there's anything wrong with these themes,(OK, maybe murder) but it does present a judging problem when you get an otherwise great poem.

I have often included some very good poems that stretched, or in some cases stepped outside the contest rules, but to me an Acrostic is a bit different. If it doesn't follow the theme of the Acrostic itself, it's a bit like putting up a big “Hamburgers” sign and selling only Hot Dogs. Might even be a bit funny if approached in a humorous way, (sort of like the Monty Python “Cheese Shop” skit), but hard to credit with a top placement.

So what's my point?

If you are hosting a contest:

Above and beyond the standard stuff, specify what your expectations are in terms of a theme, the mood, how it should make the reader feel after they have read it, etc. If it's a loosey-goosey free-for-all, say it.

Perhaps as importantly, also specify subject matter or themes to stay away from. If you are looking for inspirational themes for example, satire or humor might not be appropriate.
If you prefer rhyme and regular meter, say so. The opposite applies as well.

If you plan to enter a contest:

Read the rules carefully and stick to them to the letter.

Not sure what the host is looking for? Use Soup Mail and ask the contest host. It will save you time and possible disappointment.

Conclusions?

None of these suggestions should keep you from writing a poem or even entering it into a contest. It's about the pleasure of writing and the inspiration a contest can give anyway, isn't it, regardless?

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My Past Blog Posts

 
How to do a scansion of your poem to verify the meter
Date Posted: 8/19/2014 6:03:00 PM
Too Subtle?
Date Posted: 8/15/2014 1:39:00 PM
New Feature -Poet's Notes About the Poem
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 12:31:00 PM
Free Verse: Start here or finish here
Date Posted: 7/21/2014 7:04:00 PM
Bogus Entries in Contests
Date Posted: 7/19/2014 6:46:00 AM
Punctuation and Capitalization in Poetry
Date Posted: 7/18/2014 6:35:00 PM
About Poem/Poem Notes/Inspiration, etc.
Date Posted: 7/18/2014 8:17:00 AM
Bawdy Limericks II Judged
Date Posted: 7/6/2014 2:48:00 PM
To Footnote or Not to Footnote?
Date Posted: 7/3/2014 8:47:00 PM
User trying to set a password
Date Posted: 6/24/2014 10:01:00 PM
Centering, Bolding, and Italicizing in a Poem
Date Posted: 6/9/2014 9:51:00 PM
Bawdy Limerick Contest Complete
Date Posted: 6/7/2014 4:38:00 PM
Limerick Contest Update - Last chance
Date Posted: 5/27/2014 5:31:00 PM
Bonnie Parker's Poetry
Date Posted: 5/24/2014 2:48:00 PM
Limerick Contest Update
Date Posted: 5/22/2014 2:48:00 PM
Kudos on the Miltonic Sonnet Contest
Date Posted: 5/13/2014 4:06:00 PM
Limerick Contest
Date Posted: 5/4/2014 7:56:00 PM
Roy's Ramblings - The Final Invention
Date Posted: 5/4/2014 9:42:00 AM
Contest Enhancements I'd Like to See
Date Posted: 4/24/2014 10:12:00 AM
Age Test
Date Posted: 3/23/2014 8:44:00 PM
A couple of not so burning questions
Date Posted: 3/23/2014 12:23:00 PM
Some Contest Ideas - Feedback Requested
Date Posted: 3/15/2014 7:05:00 PM
Images for my Spring sonnet
Date Posted: 3/10/2014 7:56:00 PM
Bridge Over Troubled Water Contest Results
Date Posted: 3/9/2014 5:24:00 PM
And that's when the fight started...
Date Posted: 2/21/2014 9:34:00 AM

My Poems

123
Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
8/31/2014Bad GoldilocksAbecedarianhumorous,
8/25/2014Russian PussyChastushkahumor,
8/23/2014Matryoshkan MultiverseHaibunhumor,
8/18/2014A Roll of Duct Tape - FootleFootlehumor,
8/10/2014The New OneBlank versedark,
8/5/2014Picket Tupp and Poteeta WheyQuatrainchild,children,
7/22/2014A Brush of WingsVersebird,
7/16/2014Great A'Tuin - the Giant Star TurtleHaibundeath,journey,stars,
7/13/2014Blood on the SaddleLimerickfunny,vacation,
7/8/2014Willow: A FableRhymechildren,death,dream,fant
6/30/2014Ragnarok: The StormEpyllionweather,
6/28/2014Dante's PathQuatrainspiritual,
6/11/2014Bill's DrillLimerickhumorous,
5/26/2014Albert EinsteinClerihewhumorous,science,
5/22/2014John Cougar MellencampClerihewbio,humorous,
5/19/2014SoupQuatrainpoetry,satire,
5/14/2014Into the SunlightHaikunature,
5/12/2014RainierHaikunature,
5/9/2014JanuariesHaikunature,
5/7/2014Jonah Falcon He's NotLimerickfunny,
5/6/2014The Well Traveled LinguistLimerickhumorous,
5/5/2014Raise the MastLimerickhumorous,
5/4/2014Are you glad to see me or is that just a wrinkleLimerickage,funny,
5/2/2014The Devil Can Cite Scripture For His PurposeRhymehate,religion,slam,
5/1/2014On Conspiracy TheoriesSonnetphilosophy,
123

My Photos


Fav Poems

Poem TitleFormCategories
AmazementFree verseplaces,voice,life,voice,
Pearl DivingQuatrainlove,
Slow Movin TightsBalladme,red,women,
That Night We KissedRondeauromanceheart,night,heart,
A Voice In The WindRhymeimagination,nature,
StaySonnetlife,self,self,
Within a StormSonnetinspirational,
Sailing the Seas In A Pecan TreeRhymeadventure,old,
Soul of the PoetQuatrainfarewell,poems,poetess,
GenerationsEpicbirth,death,hope,life,
MuseFree versewords,writing,
Falling upwardRhymeanger,angst,bereavement,b
WordsRhymelove,words,song,song,
No Longer Mourn for Me When I Am DeadLyricdeath,faith,religious,

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