Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership




Roy Jerden's Blog

About Roy Jerden
(Show Details...)
Bloggers Photo
You say you want a revolution?
  • Well you know, we all want to change the world

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?

Please Login



A comment has not been posted for this blog. Be the first to comment.


My Past Blog Posts

 
Judging Everybody Poops Contest - I'll Get 'Er Done
Date Posted: 8/25/2015 12:43:00 PM
Everyone Poops Contest - Cleaning it up
Date Posted: 8/9/2015 9:07:00 AM
Everyone Poops - Contest open
Date Posted: 7/25/2015 8:12:00 PM
This bud's for you, Skat
Date Posted: 6/11/2015 7:13:00 PM
Thanks for your support
Date Posted: 6/3/2015 6:42:00 AM
Hosting multiple open contests.
Date Posted: 5/12/2015 8:23:00 PM
A Sonnet for Pansy
Date Posted: 5/5/2015 8:50:00 AM
My story was published this month
Date Posted: 5/2/2015 9:09:00 PM
Pi Day 2015
Date Posted: 3/13/2015 3:05:00 PM
Foodies - Part 2
Date Posted: 1/7/2015 11:30:00 AM
East Jesus Contest Judged
Date Posted: 1/2/2015 9:21:00 AM
Happy New Year to the World of Poets
Date Posted: 12/31/2014 6:23:00 PM
Merry Christmas to the World of Poets
Date Posted: 12/25/2014 5:54:00 AM
Foodies - Part 1
Date Posted: 12/20/2014 2:01:00 PM
How kids perceive their grandparents
Date Posted: 12/19/2014 5:55:00 AM
Got Writer's Block?
Date Posted: 12/6/2014 8:10:00 AM
Clean and Clever Limerick Contest Update
Date Posted: 11/17/2014 7:51:00 AM
My First Short Story - Accepted for publication
Date Posted: 11/2/2014 6:46:00 PM
Happy Halloween
Date Posted: 10/31/2014 7:18:00 AM
Non-Christian Poetry Contest Update
Date Posted: 10/19/2014 9:05:00 AM
New Contest - Religious Poetry: Non-Christian
Date Posted: 10/5/2014 6:40:00 AM
"AT SEVENTEEN"
Date Posted: 9/30/2014 10:57:00 AM
The Pedicure Virgin
Date Posted: 9/11/2014 8:19:00 PM
How to make an image out of a long poem
Date Posted: 9/3/2014 12:58:00 PM
How to do a scansion of your poem to verify the meter
Date Posted: 8/19/2014 6:03:00 PM

My Recent Poems

Date PostedPoemTitleFormCategories
8/23/2015 Outhouse Blues Rhymehumor,parody,
7/21/2015 First World Food Problems Limerickfood,satire,
7/6/2015 The Waning of Dreams Coupletdepression,sad,wine,
5/26/2015 Poetic Essentials Sonnetart,poems,poetry,
5/4/2015 Pansy Rhymehistory,
4/25/2015 The Full Monty Python Limerickhumor,
4/17/2015 English Lit Rhymehumor,
4/10/2015 Scratch Rhymechildhood,humor,nostalgia
2/22/2015 Steamed Buns Limerickhumor,
1/12/2015 Punxsutawney Phil Speaks Limerickhumor,
12/24/2014 Santa's Little Helper Limerickchristmas,humorous,
12/18/2014 How to Make Money with Poetry Limerickhumor,poems,poetry,
12/4/2014 Saint Nicholas Clerihewchristmas,humor,
11/29/2014 But I Must Stay Villanellesad,
11/29/2014 The Pedicure Virgin Prosehumor,
11/14/2014 One Tolkien Over the Line Rhymetribute,
11/5/2014 Message of the Moth Quatrainangst,longing,
10/30/2014 Just Another Routine Day Monorhymedeath,
10/25/2014 Pi Day Rhymehumor,
10/25/2014 Go For It Carpe Dieminspirational,
10/15/2014 Halloween on the Dark Side of Town Rhymeholiday,satire,
9/22/2014 Andrea Dietrich Clerihewtribute,
9/15/2014 The Empty Quarter Alliterationearth,nature,stars,
8/31/2014 Bad Goldilocks Abecedarianhumorous,
8/23/2014 Matryoshkan Multiverse Haibunhumor,
8/10/2014 The New One Blank versedark,
8/5/2014 Pickett Up and Poteeta Whey Quatrainchild,children,
7/22/2014 A Brush of Wings Versebird,
7/16/2014 Great A'Tuin Haibundeath,journey,stars,
7/13/2014 Blood on the Saddle Limerickfunny,vacation,
7/8/2014 Willow: A Fable Rhymechildren,death,dream,fant
6/30/2014 Ragnarok: The Storm Epyllionweather,
6/28/2014 Dante's Path Quatrainspiritual,
6/11/2014 Bill's Drill Limerickhumorous,
5/26/2014 Albert Einstein Clerihewhumorous,science,
5/22/2014 John Cougar Mellencamp Clerihewbio,humorous,
5/19/2014 Same Old Soup Quatrainpoetry,satire,
5/14/2014 Into the Sunlight Haikunature,
5/9/2014 Januaries Haikunature,
5/7/2014 Jonah Falcon He's Not Limerickfunny,
5/6/2014 The Well Traveled Linguist Limerickhumorous,
5/5/2014 Raise the Mast Limerickhumorous,
5/4/2014 Are you glad to see me or is that just a wrinkle Limerickage,funny,
5/2/2014 The Devil Can Cite Scripture For His Purpose Rhymehate,religion,slam,
5/1/2014 On Conspiracy Theories Sonnetphilosophy,
4/28/2014 Tongue Oil Limerickfunny,
4/28/2014 Red Moon Limerickfunny,
4/28/2014 Faux News Rhymeslam,
4/24/2014 Concerning Human Understanding Blank versephilosophy,
4/1/2014 The Thunderous Wonderous Electric Toy Train Rhymechristmas,nostalgia,
3/18/2014 Ignominious Exit Rhymehumorous,
3/11/2014 Premature Exoneration Limerickholiday,humor,
2/28/2014 Going Gigging Rhymefishing,
2/10/2014 A Series of Unfortunate Darwin Awards Limerickdeath,humorous,silly,
2/7/2014 What Can I Do Sonnetabsence,death,fear,
1/29/2014 The Earth Abides Quatrainnatural disasters,nature,
1/23/2014 Ancient Dance Sonnetlove,
1/21/2014 Happy Hour Iambic Pentameterdrink,relationship,satire
1/7/2014 San Saba Springtime Sonnetnature,spring,
12/28/2013 The Whittlers Cowboygrowing up,nostalgia,
12/19/2013 Redneck Santa Rhymechristmas,
12/17/2013 The Tale of the China Poblana Epichistory,
6/13/2013 Ode on a Japanese Commode Rhymehumorous,
5/24/2013 The Fruits of their Labors Free versepolitical,
5/23/2013 Damaged Goods Quatrainabuse,
5/21/2013 White Trash Nostalgia Quatraingrowing up,
5/15/2013 The Conceit of Poetry Coupletphilosophy,
4/26/2013 Empyreal Ecstasy Quatrainnature,night,stars,
4/24/2013 Bordeaux Rouge Limerickhumorous,
4/18/2013 head typist Quatrainhumorous,writing,
4/14/2013 The Roughneck Song Rhymeday,drink,red,song,work,
3/23/2013 Tiger's Wood Limericksports,
3/20/2013 A Couple for the Ages Sonnethumorous,
3/17/2013 Bambino, Bambina Limerickbaby,
3/11/2013 The Treachery of Images ekphrasisart,image,me,
3/8/2013 Pearl of La Paz Sonnetdeath,grief,
2/17/2013 All Hat and No Cattle Cowboycowboy,humorous,old,time,
2/10/2013 Dark Temptress Sonnetfood,humorous,passion,
2/10/2013 Three Pills Didacticlife,me,philosophy,truth,
1/30/2013 Icebox Days Rhymechildhood,growing up,humo
1/26/2013 The Angel Inside Rhymeallegory,angel,art,beauti
1/22/2013 Call Me Tex Cowboycowboy,home,humorous,me,n
1/10/2013 Bobcat Moon Rhymeautumn,friendship,loss,mo
12/9/2012 Six Man Dance Rhymeautumn,football,nostalgia
11/18/2012 La Bejarena Rhymeangel,beauty,death,histor
8/27/2012 Kiss of the Eagle Rhymeadventure,space,travel,
8/23/2012 Delicacy of Leaves Rhymehappiness,nature,time,
8/10/2012 Keep It Turnin' to the Right Rhymeday,earth,funny,life,love
8/10/2012 Cruisin' the Drag Rhymecar,funny,growing up,high

My Photos


Fav Poems

PoemTitleFormCategories
Amazement--- My Spirit Free verselife,places,voice,
Pearl Diving Quatrainlove,
Slow Movin Tights Balladme,red,women,
That Night We Kissed Rondeauromanceheart,night,heart,
A Voice In The Wind Rhymeimagination,nature,
Sailing the Seas In A Pecan Tree Rhymeadventure,old,
Soul of the Poet Quatrainfarewell,poems,poetess,
Generations Epicbirth,death,hope,life,
Muse Free versewords,writing,
Falling upward Rhymeanger,angst,bereavement,b
No Longer Mourn for Me When I Am Dead Lyricdeath,faith,religious,
Ashen Snow Villanellesad,september,

Fav Poets

PoetCountry 
Mark Peterson United States Flag United States Read