Sour Grapes?

I entered four poetry competitions between July and December 2015, all held by the same Ontario poetry organization. I entered because the competition themes were imaginative, the entry fees were low, and the competitions had a regional feel to them, in spite of the fact that they were open to all Canadians. I thought that I might actually have a chance at winning one of them.

And, in fact, I did. I was pleased to be named as one of five Honourable Mention Award winners in the organization’s chapbook competition.

But I began to question if the judging process were truly blind–a rule in all four competitions–when I saw winners’ lists from two of the three others I’d entered.

There were 470 poems submitted in the October competition. The first prize was taken by the poetry organization’s contest co-ordinator. Among the 36 listed as Runners Up, there were five poets named twice and one poet named four times.

There were 320 poems submitted in the December competition. Among the 18 Honourable Mention Award winners, there were two poets named twice and two poets named four times, one of whom was the judge of the October competition.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying that any of these winners is undeserving.

But to be deserving two or four times in the same blind competition–what are the odds?






One Comment Add yours

  1. Steven Roesch says:

    Hello, Ms. Loeffler – Were you associated with Massey College in Toronto in the early 80s? I believe we knew each other there; recently I sent you a few messages via your Facebook page, but didn’t get a response.
    If you’re not the person I think you are, please forgive this email. On the other hand…as if turns out, I’ll be visiting some friends in Toronto in late June/early July.
    By chance, would it be possible to visit with you on July 1st? I could take the train out to Waterloo and meet you there, of course.

    Steve Roesch
    Fresno, CA USA

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