I’ve heard many poets say their best poems come almost ready formed
and need little or no alteration. I wish editorials did. I’ve tried, like poets,
to let the mind wonder over (almost) relevant topics but still nothing.
When I woke at 3.00am a couple of mornings back, I thought that that
would be it: the editorial was forming. But it wasn’t. All I thought about
was that I needed to write one and that my mind was a blank. I thought
of all the points which could be mentioned in an editorial and came to
the conclusion I had worn them into the ground in eighty-eight issues.
So I stopped thinking about it, but even that didn’t produce results.
Then I heard that yet another poetry magazine was, at long last, being
forced to have a poetry competition. Why not Acumen, I thought?
Offering acceptance and publication in the magazine as the prize?
But in some ways, Acumendoes run a competition though I prefer
to call it a short-list. Out of all the poems I receive every four months, I
short-list what in competition terms would be a long-list. Then I read
and read these and come up with the fifty or so for the magazine. The
commended list. But how about the highly commended and the top three
prizes? I feel that would be going too far, all the poems, at this stage, are
worthy of publication in the magazine and I feel it’s up to you, the readers,
to decided which ones, if any, you like best.
I suppose I could do like some magazines do, and ask you to write
in naming your favourite three and print the results in the next issue. But
as readers, would you like that? As editor I don’t think I would. What if
a poet didn’t get any nominations? They perhaps wouldn’t know, but I
would. And how would I feel if some of the choices nobody liked?
So the idea of the competition has been dropped again. But as
competitions are often promoted to help with finances, can I ask all
readers to please renew their subscriptions promptly when due, then I
can go on having an almost-competition three times a year. And I’ll end
with thanking the Arts Council for yet another year’s support for Acumen.