Open Poetry Contest Judged (harshly!) - Charlotte Jade Puddifoot's Blog

About Charlotte Jade Puddifoot
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I've been writing since forever, and have had poems published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. My passion is contemporary free verse, and I read a lot, because I do believe that the more you read, the more it enhances your own work. Aside from writing and literature, my other main interests are music and singing, theatre, and ballet. I sing all genres from classical through to jazz. I also have an interest in vintage fashion.


Open Poetry Contest Judged (harshly!)


Blog Posted:3/12/2017 3:14:00 PM

I have to be honest, the overall standard in this contest was disappointing. This happens from time to time, not sure why, blame it on the planetary alignments. Nevertheless, I found five winners, so congratulations to those five, and thank you to everybody who participated.

I'll be hosting Open Poetry Contest #2 in due course, so let's see if we can ramp up the standard; I'd like to be able to fill all ten winning slots next time.

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Date: 3/18/2017 1:54:00 PM
$.02: Open forum on Poetry Contests? The PS ruled generally make sense. Sometimes the poet-sponsors seem unclear on precisely the rules for their specific contest require. Confusion reigns. Why have multiple winners (beyond 3-4 placings)? It's almost like getting participants awards in youth sports. Shouldn't contests bring the best possible work to the front? Being honest in poetry constructive critiscm doesn't mean a poet is being "attacked". How else do talent-developing-earnest-poesy-seekers grow? I am a firm advocate of PS's core values but sometimes feel the "building of poetic self-esteem " is not serving anyones ultimate best interest. Lovefest or sincere poet nuture site...?
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/18/2017 2:39:00 PM
Wayne, right on - the contest requirements should be clear, easy to understand, and hopefully simple. My only disagreement would be with the numbers of placings - let's say there are only 3 and my poem is the 4th or 10th or 35th best. I value knowing where my entry is in the grand scheme of things, versus just "off the podium." However - without any illuminating comments from the sponsor (which admittedly would take a substantial amount of time and energy on their part) - the situation will likely be quite hazy anyway, so perhaps I don't disagree after all.
Date: 3/18/2017 10:46:00 AM
Arrange a way so that all of my poems are automatically entered into your contest as I write them. I would gladly give you my permission. jthorn5656atgmail.com That is my email address you can use but had to write it in such a way so it doesn't confuse Poetry Soup.
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JAN ALLISON
Date: 3/28/2017 2:25:00 PM
Jim you are breaking soup rules by putting in your email address - you need to remove it for your own safety.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/18/2017 2:10:00 PM
James, I trust you are not holding your breath, waiting for satisfaction here.
Date: 3/18/2017 10:45:00 AM
Arrange a way so that all of my poems are automatically entered into your contest as I write them. I would gladly give you my permission. jthorn5656atgmail.com That is my email address you can use but had to write it in such a way so it doesn't confuse Poetry Soup.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/18/2017 2:23:00 PM
James, thinking back to when I was 14 years old, I am literally twice the man I was.
Date: 3/18/2017 12:35:00 AM
Charlotte, I was just wondering how you summoned up the energy required for hosting a contest, while being so ill with all those health issues. I don't know, if the responses you got made you feel better or worse. Anyway, tell me in advance when you host the next one. I will have no complaints if i get rejected bc i know the high calibre you possess as a poet and judge which only a handful in PS would be able to measure up to.
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Date: 3/17/2017 11:42:00 PM
regarding re post of poems in contest. , esp. ones that won a contest in the past. what purpose does it serve to the poet? what challenge does it serve? than to placate their ego, rack up leaderboard points. in brian's last contest i saw an entrant do such. it doesnt make sense. the rules didnt state any guidelines. but still. it didnt state give me your best poem of the past. but still. its that important to her, im guessing. c's contest and most others state current poems which to me fits the most logic.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/18/2017 2:13:00 PM
Connie, I love the reference to "double big berthas" - good stuff indeed! And as for your avatar - I tink I luff her.
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Brian Strand
Date: 3/18/2017 12:04:00 PM
Well Connie as I say, it remains a level playing field in my contest as I did not go to the 'concert' to hear the strad played three years ago! You needed to be here then to realise about contests then.
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connie pachecho
Date: 3/18/2017 11:34:00 AM
if her poem plays like a Stradivarius 3 yrs. ago you think it's going to change in your contest Brian? so yes it changes the playing field to repost. 100%. plus im taken aback as to why she would have to do this considering her talent.
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Brian Strand
Date: 3/18/2017 11:10:00 AM
Connie I would not say it is vanity.PS contests had many problems before the change ,hence the reason for the now more stringent requirements of Premiers.I never know whether they have won an earlier contest anyway so it is always a level playing field in my contests
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connie pachecho
Date: 3/18/2017 9:49:00 AM
if they need to use their double big berthas to gain an edge they why not. forget the level playing field because theyre chasing vanity, avatar distinction. it doesnt make sense.
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Brian Strand
Date: 3/18/2017 9:10:00 AM
Connie my contests only state a max no of lines.I am always happy for poets to submit from their back catalogue.One reason poets might submit a poem that had won previously is because that win could have been before PS introduced the Premier format with the 'avator link distinction' to Standard contests.
Date: 3/17/2017 10:04:00 AM
Charlotte ! What is bad grammar ? I make words look different by adding a different end like " Velour'd " ...now I love how this word both sounds and looks...but know it's incorrect...would you bomb me or take the word in context and say " yeah, that works" ...this is my only fear that the precision of the judges cloth doesn't suit...x ( see what I did there ?)
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Wayne Kingston
Date: 4/6/2017 6:56:00 PM
AM, i agree that creative application of your imaginative writing should be appropriate in any venue/genre. aren't these "contests" "judged" by peer-sponsors? no experts here. we're a community of poetic communicators. no more, no less. seeing our work in print and read by "aficionados" is our selfish reward. sometimes we actually move someone to a bit of enlightenment. best for which we can hope. it is enough.
MARK Avatar
ANTHONY MARK
Date: 3/18/2017 7:59:00 AM
Only because that is our job...rather than reinventing the clever metaphore we should be creating a poetic language akin to archaic speech, but relevant and authentic ...otherwise we may as well just yawn through a delegate od limericks and Prosies ( plural)
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Charlotte Jade Puddifoot
Date: 3/17/2017 7:22:00 PM
you're one on your own you are! you bend, twist, manipulate and invent words lol
Date: 3/16/2017 3:29:00 PM
so mediocrity is caused by a poetry contest on a web site and not the lack of skill by the poet who creates bad poetry..and if a judge deemed their work worthy of being mentioned it now lifts itself into the realm of being good..at some point the complaint is exposed by the poetry not the arguments to defend it ....let final judgement be by those that judge there own contests not by those who want them to conform to those posting in the contest or they may take their poems and go home..
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 10:01:00 PM
And some of that mail was sent by people who are now described as being easy-going about the contests lol.
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 9:58:00 PM
Yeah, I am most likely projecting the past into misinformation for the now. It used to be bad. When I finalized a contest, soupmail filled with *waa-waa* would start arriving.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/16/2017 9:30:00 PM
Chris, I don't see that peer pressure on sponsors - not that it never exists, I just don't see it. On the different types of judging, quite a few sponsors address that in the contest description - surely a very good thing.
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 5:32:00 PM
*contests
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 5:31:00 PM
Valid points, Frederic (if I gleaned them properly, that is). One of my angles is that certain online culture can foster mediocrity that obviously pre-exists before any contest were held. Yes, ultimately, a creation rests in the hands of the creator. And, I agree that contest sponsors should be able to run their contests as they want to without (wot sometimes seems to be a near-constant innuendo between the lines) conforming to the peer pressure of entrants. When championing for one type of judging, entrants might need to be careful not to rail too strongly against another type of judging, because all possibilities of the spectrum are part of free will.
Date: 3/16/2017 1:56:00 PM
Charlotte...I regret having missed entering your contest and will look for the next one. I appreciate constructive criticism. I feel it helps the writer grow and improve. I am glad to read that I can expect this from you. I look forward to hearing from you with helpful comments towards improvement, should the instance arise. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and compassion for the genre. Big Hugggs deb
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/18/2017 2:21:00 PM
Would love, then, to see an alternate forum where Charlotte posts brief comments by a list of all entries ranked from top to bottom. Bet there would be some hilarious ones down there.
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ANTHONY MARK
Date: 3/17/2017 9:49:00 AM
Should the instance arise....it will, Charlotte takes prisoners and contravenes the laws of the Geneva convention...basically if it's crap you will know ....suggest you dine on her back catalogue so as not to need too many tissues....but I will check it for ya lol
Date: 3/16/2017 1:24:00 PM
The whole thing has been blown out of proportion, as you indicated below, Charlotte. If one views the remaining posts on my list, one can see where I came from, and some of the crutches are horrendous lol. With writing, the best thing that happened to me was having some of the hot air released from my ego while my 'bubble' burst. A scholar wanted to "help desensitize me to editors". I was all, pfffffft, oh come on, I am open-minded, I can take it. Well, when the verdicts came in, I surprised myself by going into an immature rage; white lightning crackled in my temples. After, when I could see and think again (lol), I realized that the suggestions were sound; the crutches in my writing glared at me. I took the advice, and it's held true and is priceless. No matter how much I change, there's always so much more change to go. It's an on-going process that will never be done. Had my bubble not been burst, I might still be using the crutches that are so wonderfully (lol) displayed here on PS in my list of postings. The "everyone passes" culture breeds mediocrity, illusions of grandeur, and a contentment to exist in stasis. I often wonder if that is a reflection of one's real life. We cannot change the constants of reality without breaking; we can change aspects of reality by bending to it, and flowing with it. And all the other blahblah :P
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 5:37:00 PM
Ah, but the way you changed it into "contentment crisis", was more thrifty and precise (hehe).
Date: 3/16/2017 7:15:00 AM
Charlotte, beware the Ides of March. Some in the Soup senate are getting restless! But don't worry, the sane and rational among us have your back!
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 1:46:00 PM
Back again. lol@senate.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/16/2017 1:40:00 PM
Keith, the Ides of March are behind us - no more bewarement until 2018, baby. ; P
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/16/2017 1:26:00 PM
Charlotte - indeed, and I was over-thinking it. If I have any defense, I pray the court consider that we don't see body language or hear voice inflection when reading the screen. Also think that most such contests should be judged without mercy (so to speak).
Date: 3/15/2017 10:15:00 PM
I think "harshly" sounds too unpleasant, rather than just "in a strict, even-handed manner," or the like. This effect may be magnified by the difference between judging a contest and PoetrySoup's policy on comments - which seems to be tilted well to the "encouraging" side of things versus being critical. It only makes sense for the contest judge(s) to be coolly serious about things, even "brutal" if need be. I agree with Chris Aechtner on Brian Strand's blog - our biases definitely come into play. Then there are the things Charlotte mentions - bad grammar, etc. Either way, contest judging isn't about bending over backwards to avoid disappointing people.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/17/2017 3:35:00 AM
There must be some real wackos out there, then. : p
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 10:00:00 PM
Interesting. I was just wondering (something about your tone/syntax).
Vinson Avatar
Doug Vinson
Date: 3/16/2017 9:22:00 PM
Not unless the same is true for me knowing you, Chris. ; ) Pretty sure that is not the case.
Aechtner Avatar
Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 5:41:00 PM
Doug, I wonder if I know you by another name?
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/16/2017 1:51:00 PM
Ruben, what I felt is that "harshly" seems to have a negative connotation. Or is that just me? Indeed - contest judges in no way have to be "encouraging," per se, and - IMO - should always be strict. For normal comments on poems, I wish more people would go deeper with criticism or at least give more in-depth analysis or reaction, though I grant that the circumstances of the poet matter.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/16/2017 1:34:00 PM
Charlotte - indeed, and I was over-thinking it. If I have any defense, I pray the court consider that we don't see body language or hear voice inflection when reading the screen. Also think that most such contests should be judged without mercy (so to speak).
Puddifoot Avatar
Charlotte Jade Puddifoot
Date: 3/16/2017 6:23:00 AM
doug, the bracketed 'harshly!' was tongue-in-cheek, not intended to be taken deadly seriously...the whole thing has been blown out of proportion
Date: 3/15/2017 7:42:00 PM
I respect Charlotte's work enough, and know her as an amazing poet, that I personally would always trust her judgment and expectations to be higher than most. Of course personal taste is a factor in every contest. If one reads her work, or past winners in her other contests, perhaps one will get a better idea of what she is looking for, and strive for it. Or decide this contest is not for you. I would be honored to have her judge and cut me out if I didn't meet the mark. It might mean there is more for me to learn :)
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Doug Vinson
Date: 3/18/2017 2:18:00 PM
Agreed, Anthony. Hey, discarding all aspects of "encouragement" and the taking-into-account of what may be the writer's circumstance, I positively cringe at some of the misspellings, improper use of possessives, etc., we see.
MARK Avatar
ANTHONY MARK
Date: 3/17/2017 9:57:00 AM
Nailed it Carrie....I missed this one because I'm in another pond...but I love Charlotte's judging technique....and I once didn't place because I made one error...a word I made up met the syllable count in my eye, but she saw through it and bombed me out...felt good to be found out by a class writer...be interesting to see what effect this has on her next contest.....
Date: 3/15/2017 2:41:00 AM
Oh dear,dear,dear...perhaps next time Charlotte you limit the winners to just 3 as in any podium, ..I didn't see this contest but will certainly take a look at your next one, too many hark the dove in flight to be disappointed she doesn't land in their garden...better seeds garden lovers, better seeds indeed...you will either love or hate my gothic palette , but you will not be disappointed....xdrifter
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Date: 3/13/2017 4:34:00 PM
people know when they enter my contests that i am a tough, exacting judge; i read each entry with an editor's eye, asking myself "would this poem stand up out in the wider world of publishing, under an editor's scrutiny?"...in this particular contest the overall standard was unusually poor, and i can't pretend otherwise; poems contained predictable cliched lines, archaisms, bad grammar, and there were very few original ideas, or ideas expressed in an original, refreshing way
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 1:49:00 PM
LIKE
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/16/2017 1:47:00 PM
Thanks Ruben, I am using your suggestion.
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Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/15/2017 5:12:00 PM
If this were FB, I would "like" this comment.
Wings Avatar
Broken Wings
Date: 3/14/2017 2:29:00 AM
Ouch!
Date: 3/13/2017 11:46:00 AM
Judging contests that one sponsors on PS is indeed very subjective, and what appeals to one does not to another.I used the fixed 1-10 place format,open subject to a line max For my part I felt that if 30 + folk troubled to enter then the least I could do was to place 10 of them.In most contests my problem was who to leave out.
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 3/14/2017 3:39:00 PM
If this were FB, I would LIKE this comment!!
Date: 3/13/2017 8:16:00 AM
All judgements in amateur contests are subject to the bias of the sponsor. "Harsh" suggests there was something wrong with 30 poets' work, which there wasn't.
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craig cornish
Date: 3/15/2017 3:12:00 PM
Bravo Chris, what "Harsh" suggests is that sometimes a judge actually judges instead of making everyone winners, personally, I think that sometimes 5 winners is too many.
Date: 3/13/2017 8:05:00 AM
"One of the better entries" you said to Broken Wings. There was nothing wrong with my "Annoying Annette" Triolet, either in form or in interesting content. I have since removed the date so as to not earmark it out as being for a contest, but it was there when the contest was in play.
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Date: 3/13/2017 2:54:00 AM
Did you come across a poem called Images?
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Charlotte Jade Puddifoot
Date: 3/13/2017 3:57:00 AM
yes i did
Date: 3/13/2017 12:01:00 AM
Constance - she may have felt the sadness, the disappointment had to do with other issues. Study her winner's list and see those in contrast to the usual fare. It is more than just difference in style, there are many layers there. She is a tough judge, but it is good. I am glad she is being honest.
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Julia Ward
Date: 3/13/2017 8:23:00 AM
meant 35.
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Julia Ward
Date: 3/13/2017 8:08:00 AM
In an Open contest, more than five out of 30 would have been good. It's not as if there were particular stipulations for us to follow.
Date: 3/12/2017 4:10:00 PM
Congrats to all the winners - will try harder for the next contest:-) hugs Jan xxx
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JAN ALLISON
Date: 3/14/2017 12:33:00 PM
You hit the nail on the head Marti:-( hugs jan xx
Aechtner Avatar
Chris D. Aechtner
Date: 3/13/2017 2:56:00 PM
Julia, how do you truly know that everyone "tried hard this time"? Are you privvy to everyone's inner thoughts and intentions? If there's even a minuscule possibility that one of the entrants didn't try hard (what does that even mean in a more philosophical setting?), then "all" might not have tried hard. Yes, there's the possibility that everyone tried their hardest, and if so, I am curious as to how you acquired omniscience.
Ward Avatar
Julia Ward
Date: 3/13/2017 8:09:00 AM
We all tried hard this time, Jan.
Date: 3/12/2017 3:24:00 PM
Charlotte, thanks for the inspiration and congrats to your winners ~
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craig cornish
Date: 3/15/2017 4:03:00 PM
There is nothing disrespectful about telling adults indirectly about something they should already know, as a matter of fact, it is being respectful not to directly remind them. If they need to be coddled like children it is very sad. I see nothing wrong with the way Charlotte worded her blog, honesty is refreshing in this PC world, she could have said "everyone sucked, except the five that are posted"--thanks so much for wasting my time.
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craig cornish
Date: 3/15/2017 3:26:00 PM
Constance has always been one of the most graceful entrants in any contest and I respect her for that and in saying so, she would be extra excited to place in any of Charlotte's contests because she knows she earned it. AND Marti, it is very refreshing to see Charlotte maintaining her high standards, because unfortunately there are very few on the soup who have any standards at all.
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Charlotte Jade Puddifoot
Date: 3/13/2017 3:55:00 AM
constance, i recall the poem and it was actually one of the better entries, so a tough call on that poem; i definitely felt the sadness, in many ways it reminded me of myself when i was a little girl, but i couldn't place on sentiment alone
Wings Avatar
Broken Wings
Date: 3/12/2017 10:01:00 PM
but . . .just because you found my poem disappointing, I loved it because it came from my heart and soul, sorry you could not feel the sadness of that little girl that was me . . .

My Past Blog Posts

 
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Date Posted: 4/17/2017 4:40:00 AM
Open Poetry Contest Judged (harshly!)
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Date Posted: 8/31/2014 6:50:00 AM
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9/16/2017 After the Abortion Free verseabortion,
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5/11/2017 Night Mares Sonnetmyth,night,sky,universe,
3/24/2017 Cornered Free verseabuse,mental illness,
3/15/2017 Illness Is Free verselife,sick,
4/21/2016 Rape Free verseabuse,
11/14/2015 In the Bleak Midwinter Haibunsuicide,winter,
2/7/2014 Confessions of a Baby Snatcher Free versebaby,dark,drug,
11/3/2013 Recalling Her Free versegrandmother,memory,
10/23/2011 Moonlight on the Ward Chokahealth,life,
8/27/2011 Living With It Free versecancer,health,life,

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