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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Sunday, March 9, 2014


This was written for a group of poets I write with regularly but is for anyone who appreciates the vagaries of record-keeping and/or the serendipitous nature of good news.

Good Sunday morning all - oh, I see it's afternoon (even out here on the Canadian prairies, what with daylight savings and all)...I have some good -- some might even call it great -- news, and a bit of a cautionary tale.
Remember awhile back how a number of us were talking about how we kept track of submissions etc.?

Well, I've just discovered yet another reason to keep an accurate account of these things especially regards contest entries...

My great news is that I'm one of 12 finalists for this year's Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest Prize. This is a contest sponsored by the people who gave me my start, Winning Writers*, and it's a very cool deal. First prize is going to be two prizes of $2,000, two second prizes of $500 each (I think because they combined Howard and Reid contests this year - one will be for form, and one for free verse, but I am guessing) and the eight Honourable members each receive $100. All honourees will be published on, a site that now has traffic in the tens of thousands!

(Some of you may remember that this is where I had a poem last year that placed second but that contained a factual error and I ended up withdrawing it from the contest. I re-entered it this year, and another poem as well - this time it was judged by a different person, [Adam Cohen, one of the co-founders of Winning Writers] and it is the newer poem that placed...Since there were over 2,000 entries, I'm feeling pretty chuffed, as they say, about that.)

Now for the cautionary tale bit...Adam Cohen has been trying to reach me since Feb.25th to let me know about being a finalist and what he needed from me so that I could keep being considered a finalist  (acknowledgement that the poem was still available, and another copy; a one or two paragraph bio, and a recent photo -- on the large size if possible).

I didn't get this information until he tried to reach me by phone on Friday - March 7!! All because I am not very prudent about checking both of my email accounts. The cut-off date for the requirements was March 5th. It looked like I was going to miss out on this contest once again. Luckily, I was able to contact Adam and explain about being away attending to the new baby and baby-mama etc., and the somewhat unreliable Internet there (all of which is true but not really the excuse) and he was kind enough to leave me in...Phew.

However, this incident gave me enough pause to make me look at a few other things.

Surprise. I am on the short-list for a Canadian prize - Free Fall's Annual Poetry prize which should be announced later this month. Had I seen the email announcing this bit of good news? Nope. There is nothing to be done as yet about this, but it would have been delightful to be savouring the news. It is one of my fervent wishes to be published in  at least one of Canada's small literary magazines, so even making it this far is huge!

It has been a dizzily gratifying week mainly because a new baby has joined our family. Jude is a delight, a tiny bundle of living, breathing miraculousness...

All the rest is just gravy. Pretty tasty gravy all the same.

[*one of Winning Writer's co- founders, Jendi Reiter, published and critiqued, my first submitted poem "The Trees Stand Tall" on their site, advising me places to send it for further publication, as well as archiving it in perpetuity at WW's.]

1 comment:

  1. Tasty, tasty gravy, indeed, Sharon! All SO well deserved. Delighted for you! Especially about sweet Jude. :) Congratulations!


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