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Jeff Kyser is a retired software developer who lives with his wife Frances right ‘round the bend in rural Lacey’s Spring, Alabama. A late comer to the world of poetry, he has been writing contemplative and whimsical pieces on family, on redemption, and on faith for the last several years. His eight grandchildren are the source for much of his inspiration, fueling a desire to spur their imagination and to share his life’s journey with them.

How Well Do You Know Your Fellow Soupers?

Blog Posted:11/21/2022 6:59:00 AM

I've been musing about something - we all have a certain style, and we bring specific experiences to our work...

When I get to judge a contest, I try really hard to do so blind, by avoiding reading the poems that were submitted in the context of the new poems feed. Sometimes, it is unavoidable, and I end up seeing an entry and who wrote it (like through the "Poems of Poets I Follow" link), but I'm usually pretty successful.

Then, after I've judged, I'm always surprised by some of the entries - I thought I had an idea of who had written a particular piece, and it turns out to be a totally different person. Others are pretty easy to spot. That's by no means bad - we all have a style!

So I was trying to think of a way to make this into a contest - how well do you know your fellow soupers?

Has anyone done anything like that before? Would it be of interest? Relatively new here, having joined less than 10 months ago...

Here's one way that might work, or you might have some alternate ideas...

I'd have everyone who was interested soup-mail me 2 quatrains, stand-alone. The first would be just your normal style on any subject you wanted, maybe a very lesser known thing about yourself. The second would contain some piece of information about you that you might have revealed to others through your poems. Once I'd gotten the desired number of entries, I would post a contest containing 1. A list of the names of the people who had entered. 2. A randomized list of the "style" quatrains. 3. A randomized list of the "personal info" quatrains. 

Your contest "entry" would be to match the contestant names with the titles from their style quatrain and their personal info quatrain. I'd rank the matches - the most matches gets first, etc. 

Anyway, if that sounds like fun, or if you have alternate ideas, sound off here, and letslet's see what can be put together. 

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Date: 11/22/2022 2:59:00 PM
I don't really follow what you are saying, but if you go through with it, I wish you the best. the only way I've ever found not to know someone's poem is to ask everyone to use the exact same title, so as not to open and read their poem by mistake when it's in my contest. My memory is so bad, however, that even if I notice someone wrote a poem in my contest by seeing the poetry form on their poetry page, the title of it goes right out of my mind by the time I finally judge! I rarely see any of my contestants' poems until the time I decide to judge, which is after the contest is filled. I notice some people start judging early and once they read your poem, you cannot withdraw (in case you messed up!) I kind of wish people did not judge that way because there have been times I made mistakes but then it was too late to remove the poem or even edit it if the sponsor had decided to eliminate it in round 1. As for people's styles, yes, maybe a handful of people have a very easily identifiable style but sometimes they can surprise you, or you can mistake THEIR style for someone else's. Anyway, everyone wins in my contests, so it's no big deal. I just focus on a point system which entails grammar and punctuation along with message and imagery. Unless a poem is totally off topic, I hate to eliminate it.
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Jeff Kyser
Date: 11/29/2022 10:00:00 AM
Actually, what I would think is that I would open up for having people send me the poems for a period of time. You could re-send at any point up until the contest started - the start would consist of publishing all the poems anonymously, with a list of all the people who had submitted. Your actual contest entry would be the mapping from poems to authors. We'd allow people who had not submitted anonymous poems to enter - first come, first serve, until the 30 or so slots were full. Then we'd reveal/judge how well everyone knew each other's work or info...
Dietrich Avatar
Andrea Dietrich
Date: 11/23/2022 9:10:00 PM
Ok I just read what you said again. Once the poem is read, you can't withdraw. I do not like that feature.
Dietrich Avatar
Andrea Dietrich
Date: 11/23/2022 9:08:00 PM
Yes you can edit, Craig, but maybe the sponsor won't take notice of that. I remember a few times trying to withdraw from a contest when it said it was already read and I could swear it would not allow me to. .Are you able to do that?
cornish Avatar
craig cornish
Date: 11/23/2022 7:14:00 PM
Why can't you withdraw the poem, edit it and then reenter it? Yes, it is too late after it's been read but that's why I always say to withdraw it and reenter it.
Date: 11/22/2022 5:34:00 AM
the teeeennnnnyyyyy algorithmic thingy in my brain just fled the premises...scccrrrreeeaaammming
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Jeff Kyser
Date: 11/22/2022 6:22:00 AM
lol, don't be scared, John
Date: 11/21/2022 9:58:00 PM
I did something like this about 10 years ago. Poets sent me new, unpublished poems and I would select a group of about 10 at a time for the PS members to guess. It was a hoot!!!! I ran it as an ongoing blog at the time.
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Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 11/22/2022 7:43:00 AM
Go for it :))
Kyser Avatar
Jeff Kyser
Date: 11/22/2022 6:21:00 AM
Fun! There's nothing new under the sun, as Ecclesiastes says! I may try to work something up after my tryptophan OD... :-)
Date: 11/21/2022 9:06:00 AM
Sounds interesting and a lot of fun, Jeff. I'm not sure I understand the instructions completely, so, for folks like me, you might have to simplify. Anyway, I'm in.
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Jeff Kyser
Date: 11/21/2022 3:14:00 PM
Agreed - no instructions yet - just tossing out ideas - I would try to make something very simple to follow if I did this. Thanks for being interested!
Date: 11/21/2022 7:44:00 AM
Jeff, I have been told I have a style of writing that identifies me. I like my style that developed over years and will never change it and if it costs me contest wins, so be it. I think all the great poets had that certain something that stood out and that makes me happy if I have that too. It seems in my case, I can make almost any poem sad. I do write funny poems but they are out of my comfort zone and people will then not identify the poem as mine. In my own contest, I can identify some poets not so much by their words but by the way they present their work Your idea sounds like it could be a lot of fun.
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Jeff Kyser
Date: 11/21/2022 3:13:00 PM
Hi Constance, thanks for the thoughts! No, i would never ever want anyone to change their style - not what I meant to convey. I had to laugh at your "make any poem sad" comment - my wife says all my poems are about death! dead birds, dead buildings, dead trees, lol.
Date: 11/21/2022 7:40:00 AM
You have just answered part of your question. Jeff. Harry
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Date: 11/21/2022 7:37:00 AM
Yes, I do recognise many poets by their style but I do not consider it to be an impediment in judging. How does it matter? Or perhaps in my case I just look at the line of inquiry, that’s my focus.
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Jeff Kyser
Date: 11/21/2022 3:10:00 PM
Please don't misunderstand - I don't find it an impediment. I observed that sometimes I am surprised by who wrote an entry, and other entries, it is easy to tell - that just got me to thinking it might be fun to explore!
Date: 11/21/2022 7:16:00 AM
Jeff, you may have only joined 10 months ago, but you've certainly brought a new dimension to the site. I'd be interested, but it sounds like a lot of work for you. Those who have been here forever may have a slight advantage, but if enough newer poets enter, it would balance the scales a bit more. Nothing ventured... Many poets have a certain style of writing, or layout for their posts, so even judging blindly, their entries are easily detected. Not to be helped. Also, if an entry is from someone the sponsor follows, it will be seen, perhaps not read, but the title and author are apparent. There's no foolproof way of preventing that.
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Jeff Kyser
Date: 11/21/2022 3:11:00 PM
Agreed - all of this was just to say it might be fun to try to guess each other based on style or lesser known facts or themes people write about. Just thinking out loud for now :-)
Date: 11/21/2022 7:01:00 AM
This is just for ideas for now! Don't start sending quatrains yet :-)
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