Jane Eaton Hamilton

"I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” – Lillian Hellman

Tag: wattpad

Valerie Wallace and her Attys win!

I am just going to do a little bragging on Valerie Wallace.  I was one of the preliminary judges for Wattpad’s Attys poetry award, and the poet I chose from my group of contestants went on to win the first prize, as awarded by Margaret Atwood.  I am very gratified to have been able to read her work, and proud of her for managing form poetry with aplomb; Margaret Atwood was very impressed.  I’m with Atwood when she says she wouldn’t have been able to handle ten form poems as well as Valerie and the other contestants did.  It takes a talent.

(I am remiss at blogging about this because I only checked tonight to see who had won.  Valerie did write to me after she won, but her email was so circumspect that I missed her news!)

The Attys

Wattpad.com is hosting a poetry contest named in honour of top judge Margaret Atwood, and have asked me to be one of their preliminary judges.  This entails vetting 20 collections of 10 poems each and choosing my top five; this morning I tangled with several.  I admire the heck out of the writers for giving this challenging contest their all; for having the impulse to write; for trying a multitude of forms.  They are form poems in, so far, these forms (which may not be an exhaustive list): Sestina, Haiku, Minute Poetry, Tanka, Limerick, Acrostic, Free Verse, Couplet, Ballad, Sonnet, Elegy, Free Verse, Haibun, Palindrome, Hymn, Ode, Pantoum, Fable, Villanelle, Terza Rima, Rhymed Couplet, Gloselle, Ghazal, Tristich Pararhyme, Pastoral, Burlesque, Conceit.  Good luck, everyone!

If writing free verse well is an unusual accomplishment, it is more unusual to write form poems well.  Here is a very famous Villanelle:

Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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