Contest Loser

I only post one poem today, but it sets us up for a very long post tomorrow.

Contest Loser
© W. Scott Grant
May 24, 1999 8:25 pm

It lost the contest for a reason
Save it for another season
One judge thought it worse
Than someone else’s verse

So why must you inflict it
It’s just another statistic
Throw it out or file it away
But please don’t share it today.

I already heard the good ones
First, second, third, honorable mentions
Take it back to your workshop, poet.
And for this reading, please stow it!

~~ I judged a contest and read probably a hundred poems, and selected the top four. At the convention, after the awards were announced, attendees had the opportunity to stand up and read their own poems. Inevitably, many of the poems read in the open session were the ones that didn’t place in the contest. I was judge in a specific category (humorous rhyming poetry) for three years. I remember one poem that was submitted to the same category twice, and was rejected twice. What’s worse, the poem was a poorly rendered version of a rather bad joke about senility. It’s been twenty years, and I still remember this. Sometimes my brain needs a bit of cleansing. ~~

5 thoughts on “Contest Loser

  1. I get what you’re saying, but some of the other 96 must have been worth reading at the open mike. Maybe not that particular one, but how was the author supposed to know that? One thing I dislike about rejections is that judges and editors don’t give feedback, just a nice, canned statement that tells you basically nothing. Your piece might have been one point from making the cut, or it might have been complete drivel. It would be nice to know which. I know, I know… judges don’t have time to write 96 mini-critiques. But that said, they should probably zip it and not criticize the guy for getting up there and reading it. It takes guts, especially when you’re flying blind. We’ve all been there. 🙂


    1. You’re absolutely right. In this particular contest, as judge, I only got the poem with a number written on the page. I didn’t know who the poet was (nor was I supposed to.) There were many poems that I would have liked to offer constructive criticism.

      Remember, though, “Contest Loser” was written a long time ago and through the lens age and maturity, my own perspective has changed. You’ll see this in tomorrow’s long post, where I wrote poems with the intent of reading the ones that didn’t win in the open sessions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know that it has an official form – 3 stanzas, aabb rhyme scheme. If anything, I’d call it “Snarky.” Its a blending of sarcasm, caustic wit, and frustration, blended with social commentary and me just being me. Most people read these kinds of poems in the spirit they were intended. Some, however, would be insulted and I’d be tantamount to the devil incarnate. I think on Monday I’ll post a couple more like this. (In fact, due to the ability to schedule in advance, I’ll set it up right now while I’m thinking about it.)


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