The Arizona State Poetry Society contest will be accepting submissions until Sept. 28 for several poem categories. The prizes range up to $100, and selected winners will be published in the Sandcutters literary journal.
First-, second- and third-prize winners will be invited to read at the Annual Fall Conference of the Arizona State Poetry Society.
ASPS President Christy White said the annual contest is open to any poet who submits writing.
“We have a diverse range of poets,” she said. “I’ve heard some amazing young poets recently start understanding poetry as being a part of their lives.”
There are categories for many types of poems, including one for a piece of writing that has previously been published as a Facebook post. For the first time in 2012, the ASPS contest also had a category for Twitter poems of 140 characters or less.
“That’s the thing about poetry,” White said. “It’s not a long or short story. You can spend 30 seconds with a poem and get the essence of the poem.”
Sandcutters Editor Artiste-Te Teteak said the publication has been around since the 1960s.
“We’ve got our chops out there,” he said.
Teteak said the contest judges will do blind reads of submitted works.
“Each category has a different judge, and we normally get from 50 to 300 copies per category,” he said.
Teteak said the most entries go toward the categories that are worth more money, or that contain humor.
There is room for nearly every subject matter of poetry, Teteak said.
“I don’t know what would happen if we had a poem win that could make some people get squeamish,” he said. “Maybe we ought to have that category one year.”
White said the society has laid out certain goals, including the importance of having an active voice within the community.
“Poetry allows a voice to people who don’t think they have one,” she said. “It’s an important expressive medium.”
White said her idea is to represent each one of the various aspects of poetry, from academic to slam, in the ASPS.
“I think that there is poetry everywhere within the various poetry communities,” she said.
ASU English professor Cornelia Wells said it is important for poetry to be accessible to the people reading it.
“Around the Industrial Revolution, poets got esoteric in reaction to the increased emphasis on science over art,” she said. “Poets now are realizing this and returning to being a voice for the people.”
Some poetry should be immediately accessible, White said.
“Young people are realizing there are places for all kinds of poetry,” she said.
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