Monday, 1 February 2010

Amiable Irish Poets (The Prize)

Charles Christian writes on his blog that serious publishers are not taking any more poetry submissions other than through agents. It appears that there is too much plagiarism going on. Christian reports that a poem of his which won a 1st prize was plagiarised and subsequently appeared in a publication under another author's name.
In the following tongue-in-cheek episode Amiable Irish Poets (The Prize) there is no suggestion that Ireland is a hotbed of plagiarism; quite the contrary.
So, with no agent at one's elbow, what's on offer? Poets can still send their worst poems to the so-called Vanity Press for publication and then resist the temptation to buy the de-luxe coffee table anthology or framed print etc. or even refuse to take advantage of the no-expenses paid special invitation to travel to a ****hotel at the end of the world to claim a prize, perhaps a piece of engraved glassware.
Some years ago Poet-in-Residence tested the Vanity Press waters. A 3rd place bronze medal duly arrived in the post. Yes, it can be done. But, if you have to share your worst poems in an expensively thick anthology with 100's of other people's even worser poems, and believe me they will be even worser, what's the point?

Amiable Irish Poets (The Prize)

"It's himself. Look yonder boys, it's himself."
"Well, so it is. Well, how's he doing?"
"Ask him how he's doing."
"It's been a while."
"Three weeks at least."
"I'll say it has."
"Go on, ask him."

"So how's it going? It's been a while."

"He's very quiet"
"What's that bulge under his arm?"

"What's that under your oxter Sam?"

Me Prize

"His prize me lads."
"It's a flower pot, I'm guessing at."

"And what's it for, this prize of yours?"

Me Original Pome

"His rhyme, his rhyming rhyme has won the prize."

"A flower pot for a prize."
"And what does it say on this dangling card?"
"Let's all see."
"Let's take a gander."

An international prize for a good poem in Las Vegas
is what is on the card.

"Fill them up Old Pat behind the bar."
"Replenish the porter stout bar-fellow thou."

"You've just been over for it, this prize?" says Pat the Elder
softly drawing stout.

I did. I went there and back with Ryan-O'Sky. And what's more I've joined

"Oh my Paddy Kavanagh. He's went and joined me lads."
"What you've went and joined?"
"Two pieces of wood you've joined together?"
"Or was it joined-up writing?"
"It's the dole queue you'll be joining the end off."

It's the Global Rhymester and Publisher Club I've joined -
so it is

Silence all round.

The prize, a glass vase, drops to the floor.



  1. This raised a smile on what is a very cold dull day here Gwilym. I am not sure why people are so keen on getting their poetry into competitions -

  2. Pat, I can understand that people want to enter contests. It's part of the human condition; and if everybody has an equal chance and the winners are chosen on merit then that's all well and good.
    The companion problems I've highlighted in the poem here, are: (1)the increase of plagiarism - where a competition entrant, for example, passes off a poem he/she has found on the internet or in a poetry journal as his own original work, and (2) the role played by the vanity poetry press and the corresponding mendacious websites.
    I'm so glad the tongue-in-cheek poem cheered your cold grey day.

  3. Gwilym. I hope I have at last worked out how to provide a link from my blog to 2010 site. Would you please have a look when you have time, to make sure I have done it correctly? Freezing cold here today.

  4. Link checked. All working OK. An unusual apple?

  5. I photographed the apple in The Big Apple - in the unbelievably naff Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue,, New York - just loved it (the apple not the tower).
    Glad my link works.
    So you like Janacek as well as Britten - so do I. I have seen both "From the House of the Dead" and "The Cunning Little Vixen" both done by Welsh National Opera - both fantastic. The opening scene of From the House of the Dead makes the hairs stand up onthe back of ones neck. Have also seen Peter Grimes and loved that too.

  6. I wondered about the apple. I was in NY and I went up the Empire State - they used Accrington Brick. You'd not topple that edifice with a commercial plane!

    Janacek and Britten. These are two giants. Alban Berg I like too.


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