Sunday, November 30, 2008

American Idol for Poetry?

Poet Susan Rich's poem, "Different Places to Pray," has been selected out of 3000 poems and short listed with 11 other poems for the final round of the Poetry Competition being held by The Times Literary Supplement. I was delighted to learn about this as Susan and I met when we both read in the 2007 Burlington Book Festival. She came all the way from Seattle.

The winning poem will be decided by a voting system and the votes will come solely from online readers. If you click the link below you will be taken to the website where you may vote for Susan's poem, which is choice E.

The site requires a "sign up" process which takes only one minute to do. You will be asked for your email and your snail mail. No credit cards, no subscription plug. I agree with Susan's friend who said, "I have read all the 12 poems and objectively speaking hers is a sun although there are several other good stars around."

Here's the poem:

Choice E

Different Places to Pray

Everywhere, everywhere she wrote; something is falling –
a ring of keys slips out of her pocket into the ravine below;

nickels and dimes and to do lists; duck feathers from a gold pillow.
Everywhere someone is losing a favorite sock or a clock stops

circling the day; everywhere she goes she follows the
ghost of her heart; jettisons everything but the shepherd moon, the hopeless cause.

This is the way a life unfolds: decoding messages from profiteroles,
the weight of mature plums in late autumn. She’d prefer a compass

rose, a star chart, text support messages delivered from the net,
even the local pet shop – as long as some god rolls away the gloss

and grime of our gutted days, our global positioning crimes.
Tell me, where do you go to pray – a river valley, a pastry tray?


Click here to see the poems and vote.

Those wishing to take part in the judging process should vote by December 5.

The results of the poll will be published in the issue of December 19 & 26. The most popular poem will win £2,000; runners-up will receive a total of £1,500.


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