Judge? Mental.

Here we are, beginning the long slide into winter, and in a clever attempt to keep warm I’m donning my best wig and doing another stint of judging. Two stints, in fact: judging the Junior Poetry Competition for the New Zealand Poetry Society, and the Jean Ruddenklau Poetry Trophy for the South Island Writers’ Association. …

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Veni, legim, placuit – I came, I read, I decided

Yep, that’s it – I’ve finally selected my winners for the 2013 Takahē Poetry competition. It feels like it’s taken me a very long time, but I’m satisfied with my choices. (I’d better be – I’ve submitted my report and sent the entries back to the competition secretary!)Picking the two runners-up was actually the hardest. …

Dubito Ergo Iudicio – I doubt, therefore I judge

It’s strange, how the approach changes as you move through the stages of judging. The first read-through was all about being open and not especially critical. Looking for reasons to say ‘yes!’, and only dismissing things that really were pretty bad. Then you move into the critical phase (whittling down), where you start being über …

The Karenina Aspect – reflections on the first read-through

The first words of Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina, are much quoted: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The thing that has struck me most forcibly about the poems in the 2013 Takahe poetry competition is that this phrase (with an inversion and a few substitutions) could also serve …