Friday, December 5, 2008

Poetry and Humanitarianism

I don't plan on making a practice of posting contest notices here, but this one caught my interest because it seems a rather good follow-up to the Times Literary Supplement contest I previously posted about. Both are unique in that readers do the judging. The finalists in the TLS one were selected by a few appointed judges. This new contest takes it one step further in that contest entrants do the judging. And please note that if you enter you must be willing to participate in the judging, but you will not read every single entry. Here are some details.

This is a new poetry competition raising awareness for MAG (Mines Advisory Group). MAG currently works in about 15 countries around the world clearing minefields and live ordnance so that communities can get on with their lives in safety.

The entry fee per poem is 6 pounds which is about 9 US$. The fee is paid online via PayPal.

The poems are posted anonymously. A snapshot of recent entries is visible on the homepage. The contest is for unpublished work.

The judging is in three rounds. In each round the entrants read 12 poems. Peter Hartey, who sent me information about the contest, says, "It's a knockout system. In the final round everyone reads the last 12. I've never seen anything like it before. The mathematics are amazing - though I generally find it is best to steer clear of mathematical explanations. In the first two rounds you have a kind of 'voting web.'"

Here's the press release:


Manchester. 26th November 2008: With landmines still threatening the lives and security of thousands around the world, a UK-based poetry group is looking to use creative writing as a way of raising funds for life-saving humanitarian work.

Peter Hartey, who pioneered the Manchester poetry forum "Poetic Republic," has launched an ambitious online poetry competition with proceeds going to the aid of the UK landmine charity, MAG (Mines Advisory Group)

The competition will enable aspiring and established poets from across the globe to submit their on-line entries for the MAG Poetry Prize with proceeds going towards clearance and development work in countries affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance. The prize fund accumulates at the rate of £2 per entry up to a maximum of £10,000.

This knockout competition will be run in a unique way with poets themselves judging the entries of their fellow participants rather than a panel of judges. “The winning poems will not reflect the taste of one or two individuals but rather the wider group” said competition organizer Peter Hartey.

“This is truly an online poetry contest that harnesses the huge judging potential that the pool of entrants represents,” says Peter. “Whilst it is a 'competition,' more importantly, it’s a fun and creative way for people to learn from their fellow poets.”

“Landmines still kill and maim thousands of people across the globe,” said MAG Chief Executive Lou McGrath. “We are extremely impressed with the efforts of Peter and Poetic Republic and grateful for these much needed funds for our clearance work.”
For more details and to submit an entry, visit Poetic Republic

The closing date for the competition is April 30, 2009.

MAG is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation clearing the remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide. MAG is co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for its work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which culminated in the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty - the international agreement that bans antipersonnel landmines.

Poetic Republic is a Manchester based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of the poetic arts and humanitarian causes.

For more information about this please contact Jessica Sallabank, Media and PR Officer. 07979343969

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  1. This is quite intriguing, Diane - thanks for drawing attention to it. The link to Poetry Republic didn't work for me, however...

  2. Thanks for letting me know. I just fixed it.

  3. Hi,

    I have tagged you for a meme (details on my blog). I've read your poetry and I'm sure you love books (so I didn't break the rules!)



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