Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Sent my BRIO submission in today, two days before the deadline. Thank you, Express Mail!

It's the first time I've submitted for something like this - other than a single poem entered in a Literal Latte contest way back in 1999; I just don't have the self-discipline - and it was a real challenge to decide what to submit. 10 pages aren't very many poems when most of mine average 3 pages each. (Slam influence, anyone?) The fact that I knew I was definitely submitting Mozer, Bethea and I - a five-pager! - severely limited my other options as I didn't want to submit only three pieces. It's like a 10 minute feature - there's not a lot of room to stretch.

In addition to Mozer..., I went with handmade memories (one-page), Breathless (two pages) and Gotham City Suite: Untitled, #1 (two pages). Salomé wasn't thrilled with the latter, in particular, but there's something I really like about it. If you can get beyond the surface of it being about Batman (which should be relatively easy as he's never actually named) and dig into the pyschology of the character, I think it's a pretty good poem.

I did almost give in this morning and substitute the poem I wrote about Isaac but decided against it since it has his name in it, potentially revealing me as the author, which is a no-no. Same reason I didn't go with Credentials.

All in all, I'm comfortable with my choices and think they'll stand out on the first pass.

Part of me believes I should be a shoo-in for the grant based on what I saw when I was a judge for it back in 2000. It was like an average open mic: one amazing poet, a handful of solid ones and a short bus full of doggerel. If this were then, I'd definitely be in the top four.

It's 2004, though, and the realistic side of me knows that the Bronxites from Acentos alone will raise the bar considerably. (Thankfully Rich doesn't live in the Bronx yet!) And, of course, there's the question of taste. These kinds of competitions are no different from a slam, maybe even tougher as there's no sacrificial poet to get a feel for what the judges like, no chance to adjust strategy and give them what they're looking for. There's not even the opportunity to get a look at them and stereotype! Of course, that's a good thing since it forces you to go with your gut, but it's also much more intimidating.

I'll be honest and admit that I really want to win this thing. That it's quite likely my last hurrah as far as poetry is concerned makes it a big deal. That it's a grant recognizing artists from the Bronx is an even bigger deal.

Fingers crossed.

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