F*ck This! I Quit…Kind Of: On Poetry, Contests, and Opportunity Cost by Les Kay

Concerned about poetry contests and their costs and other things, then read this article by Les Kay.

Then go here to find presses with open readings for full-length poetry manuscripts: http://bit.ly/OpenReadings

The Sundress Blog

Last December, I received an urgent text from my father: CALL ME. My father, like most fathers, normally reserves the use of brief text messages in ALL CAPS for important news or emergencies. Since he’s retired now, well into his 70s, and his wife has been diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer—a cancer that should have been caught much earlier and should have been curable with simple resection—I assumed the worse, something health-related and horrific.

When I phoned, my father told me about an advertisement he’d seen for a poetry contest, a Christian poetry contest with a small fee and cash prizes. Instead of counting my inevitable winnings, I imagine my brow furrowed as if I’d just heard the compensation package for an adjunct teaching position. I thought immediately of Poetry.com and similar scams, suspecting that if I were to enter such a contest, the only plausible response would be solicitation…

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2 Responses to “F*ck This! I Quit…Kind Of: On Poetry, Contests, and Opportunity Cost by Les Kay”

  1. October 28, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    It is a lamentable process by which emerging artists must slug their way through a labyrinth to get even one piece of poetry, one short story, one painting, one book or magazine article to have the honor of sitting on an editor/juror’s desk where it may languish for weeks. Instead of nurturing our youngsters in any medium we force them to try to outlast the tired old tires on their cars, the unpaid light bill or an empty pantry. They simply cannot create and work three jobs as well as to try to just exist. We may never see another Milton because our young artists give up. Who can support a family and afford the numerous fees and loopholes they must jump through so they can get published because to get a better job or any kind of credibility they have to be published first? It’s a terrible system and what’s sadder than losing out on a new artistic expression is that the young artist might be forced to take a job that he hates but will bring in the kind of money he needs to have even a modest lifestyle. And perhaps his creativity dies a slow death and might not ever be revived again. That is the worst part to me – losing a creative light in a world that sorely needs it. Excellent blog, Tom. Thanks for sharing it.

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