J.M. McDermott announced a poetry contest a couple of weeks back that intrigued me. The prize was an autographed ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) of his upcoming novel, Last Dragon.
Being a little dense sometimes, I thought the contest was to write a poem about his book and seeing as I hadn't read it, I didn't try. But the description of the book at Amazon looked so promising, I eventually decided to make a stab anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. JM was nice enough to let me know I had misunderstood, that the poem was to be on the theme "last dragon", not on the book itself. My rather sorry little limerick had no chance. (You try converting advertising copy into poetry and see if YOU can do it!) So I tried again, even though there were barely 24 hours left before the contest closed.
The theme didn't seem to be too suited to limericks to me, so after considering the permissible forms I settled on a villanelle, a form of poetry that repeats two lines of a refrain at strictly specified intervals throughout. The most famous example is Dylan Thomas's iconic "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night" with its haunting "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." It seemed to me to be ideally suited for a lament. Throw in the fact that it was probably a little easier than a sonnet or a sestina, and my choice was made.
I'm not claiming that my poem is destined to live forever in anthologies (it won't), but I was pleased enough with the result of my efforts to submit it, although another week to mull over the rough spots would have been nice. And J.M. was pleased enough to award it first place, throwing in some editorial comments for free.
I am tickled pink. I get to read the book before everybody else but the reviewers. I will post a review of my own when we get closer to the release date.
Technorati tags: Poetry, Last Dragon, J.M. McDermott
Writing contest? What writing contest? -
59 minutes ago