I’ve waited since the beginning of November to spring this news. It was registered on a Tuesday, having just picked my daughter up after school, sent out (presumably) as the last e-mail of the day from The Poetry Society.
I know, you have no idea who they are.
The Poetry Society was founded in 1909, and still maintain space at Covent Garden in London. You pay to be a member, as is the case with most of these organisations, which grants you access to a quarterly newsletter, and a bunch of other stuff. It is, in essence, like becoming a member of Equity as an actor: sure, you don’t NEED to hand over the cash, can still write with complete legitimacy without it. I entered the National Poetry Competition last year as a non member, before the acceptance that advantages of membership outweigh not having one.
It is, I suppose, acceptance that if you crave even the smallest measure of legitimacy there are rules and paths to that conclusion which don’t exist if you work alone. It is the difference between sending your manuscript to a publisher cold without any idea of how you make it more attractive, and doing your research. In the quarterly newsletter is a competition: you’re given a subject matter, and rough guidance on what the specified judge is looking for from the entries. Then, it is up to you to deliver the goods.
If you go and look on my WiP page, you’ll find a link to the winning entry. I’ve signed a contract, which gives TPS rights to the verse, so they get to reproduce it and I will quite happily point at it for the foreseeable future, because by the action of winning there’s the chance to snag two further prizes. I am immensely proud and happy about this: they are genuine, true emotions that have never been experienced in this form before. Sure, stuff’s been produced before that I’m proud of but to be acknowledged like this? That’s always the most glorious of bonuses.
This is officially the happiest I have ever been.