Poetry Tournament: Autumn '09

This is the second in a series of guest posts from select authors in Protagonize‘s creative writing community. Do you have something to say that might be of interest to our members? Feel free to contact us with blog ideas and share your passion for writing with our readers.

Poetry (courtesy of Miami Cyn on Flickr)

Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Hello, I’m Archi_Teuthis and I’m running this tournament thingy. It’s pretty cool. You should sign up. I’ll tell you why in just a second. First thing, for those of you who missed ElzuWolfe’s inaugural Summer Tournament last July, I’ll give a quick[ish] recap:

We started off with ten poets signed up. While some unfortunately had to step down because of conflicts, we still began with an amazing starter team of Tad_Winslow, AnaCristina, FogCat, The_Lemon_Yellow_Donkey, Penwonanship, d.f.m., Moonwalker, and Pontiac; while Amberactuallyritu, Ratius, and myself jumped at the chance to judge their works.

The poets’ first challenge was a focus on rhythm and meter. Topic was open [to be chosen carefully, as Elzu admonished] but what the poet really had to wow the judges with was their sense of rhythm and ability to keep the poem flowing. Our challengers [pitted against each other by random draw] brought a tough game to the table.

First challenge, d.f.m. posted a bitter love poem against Tad’s vaguely macabre verse. Both were meticulously crafted, but Tad’s succinct form is what brought him into the second round.

In a tantalizing twist, two veteran authors were rivals in the second challenge. AnaCristina’s elegy of poignant images fell [after intense deliberation on the judges’ parts] to Pontiac’s haunting processional poem.

Third challenge, Poetry Workshop’s own FogKitty demonstrated her meteric-switching talents with a surreal work on, of all things, friendship. Set against Penwomanship’s revealing reflection into two sisters’ rivalry, Fog’s focus on the round’s challenge is what set her apart.

In the final set, Moonwalker vs. that yellow donkey, the winner made himself apparent with his clever layering of poetic meaning within the constraints of the challenge, while Moonwalker’s more simplistically handled form couldn’t quite make it through.

Our poets’ second challenge involved spinning a narrative work with, and here was the tricky part, a punch line. “No matter what you do with your poem,” Elzu said, “the end must be funny.” This challenge, for some reason, brought out the prose-sters in our poets, with both Fog and Tad posting short stories.

Fog’s bizarre telling of one man’s encounter with an obsessive old woman used the escalation of a curious situation to get the judges giggling. Ritu especially “loved it!!!”. Tad’s story of an older gentleman playing dirty at chess brought positive comments from readers, but when the judges’ totals came in Fog had stuck her way through into the next round.

Pontiac rivaled The Lemon Yellow Donkey in true poetic form. Lemon’s piece on a souring man’s aging life and Pontiac’s “The Tragedy of the Hindu Soul” both failed to get a slap on the knee response from the judges but, as Lemon argued, “The final line … was meant to bring an amusing light to it, which if I am completely honest I would say both Pontiac and I did exactly.” A completely valid point, pushing the judges to take a second look and pass Lemon on as the winner.

In the final round, The Lemon Yellow Donkey and FogCat were presented with a novel idea: in Elzu’s words, “your poem must not be like any love poem ever read by our judges. I want you to try be entirely different with this … [the] catch is … you may not use the words “love”, “heart” or “emotion”.”

FogCat’s “Clockwork” against The Lemon Yellow Donkey’s poem was a brilliant skirmish to the finish. I suggest you take a look at them for yourselves.

And so, The Lemon Yellow Donkey was named Protagonize’s first ever Poetry Tournament winner. He will be back this time around to defend that title.

And now, after that admittedly not so quick intro, a return to the Autumn ’09 Tournament.

We are currently looking for participants! Poetical Protagonizers, put up your dukes! Everyone else, step up and become a judge! Here’s why:

“This contest pushed me to write poems I wouldn’t have written otherwise, which is what makes it so great! And I get feedback. Super great.” — FogCat [poet]


“I was astounded at how I could actually post such good-ish (in my opinion) critique!
I read the poem as if I had written it or if one of my sisters had written it, therefore, I could say what I enjoyed, what I would change and how it could be improved or what didn’t work so well.
This competition is much better as a judge!” — Ratius [judge]


“I had to look for flaws I thought could never even be in a poem, read them like I had never read another poem, feel them like I’d never felt another poem. I had to, for one day, be the unfairest beep in the world.” — Amberactuallyritu [judge]


“First of all, many thanks for how painstakingly you have read and re-read all the poems, and genuinely tried to go to the place where the poet was when s/he wrote it! I’m learning so much more than just about poetry from this tournament! Thanks once again.” — Penwomanship [poet]


“Many thanks to all, I look forward to indirectly seeing you all in September. A special thanks to Foggie for the intense ending! A speech, well why not:

The jukebox plays on,
as we live on
and sink on.

Crafted in to necessity
we keep on going
as if it means something.

Ta Ra!”

— The_Lemon_Yellow_Donkey [Poetry Tournament reigning champ]


Interested? I certainly hope so…

Photo courtesy of Miami Cyn on Flickr.

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2 Responses to Poetry Tournament: Autumn '09

  1. FogCat says:

    Wow Archi! That was super-fantastic! It’s very well written and you did a great job with the summaries. That made me unbeleivably happy to read. You do us all proud.

    I can’t wait for the next tournament to begin!


  2. ElzuWolfe says:

    This is good… : D

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