This time last year I kicked off this website with a post about the Wyndham Campbell prize. The announcement has just been made again and this is the first time poets have been included among recipients of the Windham-Campbell prizes. This is a BIG deal!
As The Guardian newspaper notes in its books section, “Unemployed Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckermann wins $215,000 literary prize.” For those keeping a mental track of potential future poetry earnings, those are Australian dollars, or $165,000 in US Dollars and £134,000 in Great British post-Brexit pounds sterling at current Google calculations.
The poet named in The Guardian's headline, Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann, is joined by American poet Carolyn Forché. The full list of Wyndham Campbell prize winners is as follows:
- André Alexis (Canada/ Trinidad and Tobago) — Fiction
- Erna Brodber (Jamaica) — Fiction
- Marina Carr (Ireland) — Drama
- Carolyn Forché (United States) — Poetry
- Ali Cobby Eckermann (Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal Australian) — Poetry
- Ike Holter (United States) — Drama
- Maya Jasanoff (United States) — Nonfiction
- Ashleigh Young (New Zealand) — Nonfiction
As I pointed out last year, you can't do anything to apply for such an award, just keep an eye on your email inbox and pay attention to your spam folders because that's how they will let you know. It will plop through your electronic letterbox with no more fanfare than any other email thanking you for submitting your poems to this or that magazine or inviting you to sign a petition to end that or this abhorrent practice. If in 2018 you receive an email notifying you that you've won a very large amount of do$h and all you need to do is wire them $10,000 to allow them to unlock the prize and transfer the money into your bank account, I think I'd recommend leaving that email in the spam folder and carrying on with your regular poetic activities :)
Happy Anniversary to Me
I like the idea that my first blog post coincided with an announcement of writers being surprised by a large amount of money. I love knowing that each year my website birthday also celebrates in some very joyful news for other writers too.
The First Year of Posts
When I look back over my first year of posts I can see that I've talked a lot about blindness and how that has featured in my poetry life. I anticipate this will be a continuing element of these posts, looking at how accessible the poetry world is to a blind reader or writer, and what role I can play in encouraging more blind people to try putting finger to keyboard or refreshable Braille display to try their hand at writing some poems of their own.
I've talked about the competitions and magazine submissions that I've entered, the highlights of which are undoubtedly my pamphlet Dressing Up being a winner in the 2016 Cinnamon Pres Pamphlet Competition, which I announced on 15 May 2016 and making the shortlist for the Live Canon International Poetry Competition which I asked you to keep your fingers crossed for my poem Pooh Sticks in my post, The Wanderer Returns on 20 November 2016. If you're thinking about entering the 2017 competition you can find the details using the Live Canon link and you can also buy the 2016 competition anthology which contains all the shortlisted poems, mine included.
I will continue mentioning the successes and the failures alike. I never think of anything in such black and white terms as ‘success’ and ‘failure’. My Excel submission tracker spreadsheet records results under a few different designations, including ‘accepted’ and ‘declined’; I reject the term ‘rejected’ finding it too judgmental. Just because a poem is not a good fit with what an editor wants for a particular issue does not mean that it is a bad poem and would not be a good fit with the next editor who looks at it. Editors are always thinking about the overall balance of each issue and their decision to decline a piece I've sent for their consideration may reflect the balance of other poems selected for the issue.
This week I had two poems declined, both of which are already in my Dressing Up pamphlet (both magazines were willing to look at previously published works). I expect this next website year will feature just as many declined poems as last year but if I can match my 2016 acceptance rate I'll be a happy bunny :)
Thanks to everybody who has read this blog regularly. Every Monday morning I look at my website statistics email and smile when the number of visitors has increased from the usual level. Email statistics aren't as poetic as T. S. Eliot's coffee spoons but they give a credible approximation :)
#Blindness #Poetry #Prizes #WyndhamCampbellPrize #CinnamonPress #LiveCanon
‘Declined’ is a MUCH better word than rejected!
Several people who’ve seen my spreadsheet have agreed too 🙂
Maybe just not this time would sound better.