Jul 21 Written by 

What Finally Drove Me to Enter a Poetry Contest

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28 January 2009

I'll admit up front that I want two things from contests. One is money. My car skidded and is in the shop. (On me, not a scratch. God protects writers.) But when the repairs totaled $4000 I asked myself, where else does a poet have a chance of getting money? So I'm a-going for the green. Knowing very well the odds are long: estimate is between 800 and 1200 to 1. BUT NOWADAYS THAT'S ABOUT THE SAME AS THE ODDS OF GETTING A JOB. (P.S.I already have a second job.)

Next, I want honorable mentions, something nice to put on apps for writers' colonies, grants and the like. We all know good work is not enough. Publication is not enough. Someone from the outside has to declare you special. A fiction writer I knew turned "second place" and "finalist for the Umpteenth Named-After-Famous Writer Award" into a resume so awesome people in a neighboring state were talking about her in hushed tones two years later. Of course it takes a fiction writer to do that.

Collateral benefit: getting the work revised, updated, and in order. Somebody stop me, please, if I try this again.
Catherine Rankovic

Writer, with 30+ years' writing and publishing experience, 20+ years' teaching experience. Last book read: Mrs. Lincoln by Catherine Clinton.