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Why should you enter a contest? Even if you don’t win, how might it help you? And what are downsides of entering? In this special episode, recorded live at the Telluride Lit Fest just before the announcement of the Fischer and Cantor Prizes, w talk about big juicy tomatoes, how judges make decisions, why the best writing doesn’t always win and Christie’s grand theory of awards. Then we are joined two fabulous guests: Luis Lopez, Colorado’s newly named Western Slope Poet Laureate, and Rafael Jesús González, poet laureate of Berkeley. We get their very different take on these two questions: 1) How much should we care about awards, what do they really have to offer us? and 2) How should we handle not winning? We’d love your feedback on these questions, too!
In this bonus episode, Luis Lopez, poet laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope, and Rafael Jesús González, poet laureate of Berkeley, each read a poem and talk about their writing process. And that’s not all! Below, we present a poem Rafael Jesús González wrote about judging the Fischer poetry prize. We think his poem should be prerequisite reading for all judges and all contest entrants! To see a video of Rafael reading his poem (the only way to feel the fullness of the emotions he packs into his short work) subscribe to our newsletter: https://emergingform.substack.com/
Judging for the Fischer Poetry Prize
Winnowing them down is not easy —
even to fifty, then forty, thirty —
still harder twenty, ten, & finally one.
“. . . so much hope lies in your hands,”
a colleague writes, the words carrying
more meaning than she meant. Each entry
speaks its own voice, probing reality
with imagination, with the heart. I read
each once, twice, thrice, four times,
five or more, return to it. The voices mingle,
mix, tangle — a cacophony, a counterpoint.
How to single out the one voice? One no better
than the other, just different — there is no best.
Each opens a door, tears down a wall, says
a truth I have always known in my bones,
or a truth I had not known but now I do.
I look for a honed sense of justice, compassion,
an openness to beauty that wrenches. I could say
that I choose for precision of diction, choice
of metaphor, syntax, but we would all know it
for the bull scat it would be — I choose by my own
history, my own memories, joys, pains, betrayals,
awe — by what I ate last night, drank, smoked,
dreamt. I choose by what I am most vulnerable to
as the deadline falls — I cannot tell you how;
there is no best, only what now moves me most.
The biggest prize worth having is already theirs:
the gift of widening the vision, empowering the heart.
Working with a partner on creative projects can be incredible! And incredibly frustrating. In this episode, we will discuss whether collaborations need leaders, why listening is an essential skill for working with other creatives, Chinese food, the Jabberwocky, and how spontaneity can enhance a creative collaboration. And then we’ll wrap up our conversation by talking with musician/songwriter/video producer Christine Laskowski who will play our game of two questions. We’ll ask her 1) What makes a good collaboration? And 2) How do you deal with conflicts when they arise in a collaboration? You can weigh in on these questions yourself, either here or on our Facebook page.
What can you do to evolve your creativity? How do your practices fuel or sabotage your muse? In this episode of Emerging Form, we talk about creative habits—frequency, accountability, flexibility and more. We’ll cover Rosemerry’s four promises she makes for her daily practice, Christie’s philosophy on not taking yourself too seriously, a new approach for meeting a blank page, the underbellies of bugs and much more. At the end of the program, we invite science writer, artist, knitter and singer Helen Fields to join us in our game of two questions: 1) How do you prioritize time for your creative habit? And 2) When do you know it is time to evolve a habit—how do you know if it’s not serving you anymore?