Monday, July 27, 2009

A Statement From The Weekly Project Verse Judges

Project Verse Contestants,

The only rules in print are the rules you agreed to abide by when you applied to participate in Project Verse.

Is the collective work of each contestant important?

One of the prizes of Project Verse is a chapbook deal with two guaranteed book reviews in two fine publications. The poems from the competition will help create and shape the Project Verse winner's chapbook. YES, the collective work of each poet is extremely important. Just like on Project Runway, especially toward the end of the competition, the body of work throughout the competition becomes more important in determining which of the lowest ranked contestants each week will go home. As we move into the last half of Project Verse, overall performance will play a larger factor in which of two lowest ranked competitors that week goes on permanent caesura. This shouldn't surprise you.

Keep up the good work,
The Weekly Project Verse Judges


W.F. said...

Okay, I get it. But not really.

Here's the "print" portion you refer to --

Each Monday, an assignment will be posted in I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin. Poets will have to complete and submit the assignment by noon Friday of the same week. The judges will read and score the assignments over the weekend, and the judgment will be posted in I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin the following Monday.

To me, that says "The judges will read and score THE ASSIGNMENTS over the weekend". Nothing about judging your "body of work" every week is mentioned.

Obviously, you guys are in charge. And you'll do what you want. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Do you realize, though, what this means? It means that the contest winner has already been determined. The person who has won the most weekly competitions, or has had the least "bottoms", will no doubt win. Why even hold the rest of the competition?

The main reason this is upsetting to me (I'll only speak for myself) is because it's new.

I understand that this is the first go-round for Project Verse, and there are wrinkles that have to be ironed out, but this particular solution seems TOTALLY without logic.

Whoever is left standing at the end of the contest, be it three poets or two, the winner will obviously be the poet who has had the most success in previous weeks. No suspense, no equity.

I still have one major question -- one poet got THREE "no" votes, the other poet got TWO. Why was there any "determination" necessary? Why was there a need to choose between THREE and TWO?

W.F. said...

Sorry -- the vote count was four to three. Same difference.

Dana said...

Hey, calling the show Project Verse and modeling it after Project Runway makes the deliberation model pretty clear.

Now don't throw stuff at me. I throw back. And I bite. ;)

Dustin Brookshire said...

I second Dana's statement.

However, I don't bite. I pull hair.

Dana said...

Dustin, we'd be great in bed. If we were into each other. I am just saying.

W.F. said...

Such smug responses to serious questions.

Still no answer to my question -- if there was a clear loser, why did you guys have to deliberate at all? 4 is bigger than 3, right? So the person with 4 votes should go home, right?

I guess not.

I posted serious questions that were addressed with silliness, and I was totally blown off.

If you expect respect, you should offer it.

Dana said...

I wasn't trying to be smug, and the post Dustin posted *is* a serious response to your question.

Dustin Brookshire said...


Dana and I added humor to our comments. I know I added humor because you have proven that you tend to get a little too hot--- the humor was meant to soothe the boiling that I imagine has already started with your temper. I can't speak for Dana, but I bet her reasons for being humorous are about the same. She can correct me if I am wrong.

Your answer: Watch a few seasons of Project Runway. Project Verse is modeled after Project Runway, and that has never been a secret.

The competition isn't over; therefore, there is no winner.

over and out,

W.F. said...

I really don't appreciate all the talk about my "temper". I didn't get personal with you guys, please don't get personal with me.

I've said what I have to say, and it is clear that much of what I said isn't going to be addressed.

Collin Kelley said...

There is only one edict that should be followed: MAKE IT WORK.

Anonymous said...

reality TV is full of these kinds of dramas. in fact, there's always the contestant who starts strong and can't pull through in the end. there's always the contestant who kicks ass the final quarter or third of the competition but has previously been relatively quiet. then there's always the battle royale over who deserves it more: the consistent one? the one who came out fast and started strong? or the one who improved and rocked it in the end?

(can you tell i'm a reality TV whore? i'm only *slightly* ashamed of it.)

i don't think it's over 'til it's over. i don't know any of the contestants but i do know i couldn't write if i were worried about politics instead of poetry. unsolicited advice from the sidelines: no matter how sure you are that you're right, shake it off! write brilliant poems for the rest of the competition! make it really really hard for the judges!

Anonymous said...

oh, crap. i think i just said the same thing as collin kelley. except he was smart and concise. it took me 160 ranting words. that's why he's collin kelley and i am not. :)

Kristen McHenry said...

I wasn't going to jump in here, because I didn't want to add to the negativity. But, I feel awful that a poem I worked hard on and cared a lot about was an epic fail with the judges, I feel awful that Emari was booted, and I'm now feeling triply awful that I'm being singled out as a "favorite", and someone else here is being pointed to as being "weak."

I'm very appreciative that the judges took into account that they've liked the poems I written in the past. It was well within their right to boot me this week, and I dodged a bullet. It was clear to me, reading the comments, that the poem just didn't work. But I have no control over the decision they made, and I certainly don't feel like anyone is being set up to win. We've still got 5 more weeks, and every single time, I sweat bullets. Of everyone here, I probably have the least experience and formal education in poetry. I'm very grateful to be here, and I don't take anything for granted.

I'm not saying that we all have to hold hands and sing, but I'd really appreciate a slight elevation in the discourse that's going on here. It was never my wish to be the harbinger of bad feelings and anger.

Alright, I've said my piece. Now I need to get to work on my poem.

Best to everyone this week,


Emily said...

Kristen- amen to the discourse, and please cease feeling badly about anything. Your poems are an absolute delight.