It's close to that time of the year again- the manuscript contest crave. Where poets go nutso polishing, revising, and sending out their little children hoping to find lovely homes between two soft covers, but before you send out endless checks maybe read the flip side of the coin. Good stuff on Reb's blog and a first hand account of Cider Press Review's on-going bad reputation here.
This isn't to say that I'm NOT going to send out my MS and eschew contest entirely, however, I will be extremely selective and limit it to only a few. Honestly, I don't have the time, money, or desire to send it out to a bunch of presses I just haven't heard of and who have published poets I've never read. (Which is to say when I have money, I 'd rather spend it on books and keep reading!)
A while back I entered a contest because I liked the journal, but Billy Collins was the judge. Was I crazy? Not that I have an intimate knowledge of Mr. Collins' taste, but I feel pretty comfortable in making the assumption that my poems are not exactly up his alley.
Why did I enter?
I had time on my hands (at my previous job) to work on the submission and money in my bank account. Billy Collins and Tony Hoagland both are judging what (to me, at least) appears to be A LOT of contests. I actually like some of Hoagland's poems, but what does his association with Cider Press Review do for his reputation. They already had problems with their "contest" even before he agreed the judge for them....
What do you think? Do you send out your MS because you think you can get Billy to chuckle, how do you feel about Tony? Do you even look to see who the judges are or check out the press? Or blindly send away to every contest listed in Poets & Writers?
What say y'all?