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Forum for Modern & Traditional Australian Rhyming Bush Poetry
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:31 am 
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G/day David

I think as long as people have passed the qualification and have been accepted as judges you have to respect that.
Personally I like to see diversity in judging as it gives all styles a chance of winning awards.
If judges have won three or more Comps., they must at least have a fair idea of what's required, or at least you would hope so.
Being human odd mistakes will be made from time to time I suppose,
Judging is quite difficult, and I think you need to judge a few times to really learn the ropes and also to get the confidence that you're up to it.

Cheers

Terry


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:57 pm 
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True, Terry. The point I'm making is that if the criticism is already occurring because of the confidential nature of applications there could be even more of it if the information is made public.

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David


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:58 pm 
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I don't think there should be any secrets as far as things like judges appointments are concerned David.
You're much closer to the scene than I am and no doubt have privy to things being said around the traps.
The isolation of being over here in the west has it's advantages in some ways, the downside is you miss the person to person contact,
with so many of the poets over east. I know we have Email and of course the forum, but that comes a poor second to having a face to face chat with a fellow poet or friend - in my opinion.

Cheers

Terry


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:14 am 
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Can't say that I do know much about what's going on around the traps, Terry. There's not a lot of person-to-person bush poetry contact down here on the south coast of Victoria, so I rely on email and the forum for news. Following on from my earlier comments, it just seems that making the selection process public would remove or compromise an element of discretion that the committee currently has, and may even discourage some people from applying. There could be other factors to take into account apart from the number of competitions won.

Cheers
David


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:01 pm 
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I recently conducted a review of winning poems listed on the ABPA website. I went back about 12 months. A fair sample, I would think. Strangely, one poem which won twice was not published on the website and one supposes there are good reasons for that omission.

I have no intention of publishing my critical comments nor of naming poets or poems. I did draw some obvious conclusions.

1. Plots are often used over and over again (over the years) and there is a general lack of originality.

2. The best poems were those that used interesting rhyme schemes and more complex meter and often subject matter that has either been approached in a new way, is new or has at least, not been flogged to death.

3. Some of the winning poems were appalling, containing glaring grammatical, metrical and rhyming errors. One was exactly the type of appalling poetry for which we are roundly criticised. Another, it could be said, was plotless. These poems won competitions that are debased by the results. Of course, subjectivity, lack of entries and a host of reasons could contribute to this state of affairs.

In a PM to David today, I mourned the strangulation of creativity within the ABPA but I confess I have no general solution. As for my self I write about matters that in many cases can not be fairly said to fall under the umbrella of Australia Australians and the Australian way of life. Umbrellas, friends in poetry, can keep the poet from the rain and pollution of contemporary and other formal poetry but will also stop the sunshine of fresh ideas.

I know for a fact that many of you write free verse and I assume you have been pushing the boundaries of contemporary formal poetry. Matt Mclaughlin comes to mind. If we are to escape the inevitable ravages of age as an organisation then we will need fresh approaches. My bet is that there are lots of poets out there writing good poetry with rhyme and meter who would be horrified to be tagged as a bush poet. How do I guess this? Over four years driving a cab I was astounded by the people who got in and admitted to writing so. Some were able to recite their own works. Many were able to peel off some well known "bush" poem. But ask them to attend a bush poetry event and it draws a blank.

Still, I am lacking the drive and solutions. In any event, I have discovered I am often wrong....

Hopefully, I will catch up with some of you in Tamworth.

Be well and be kind.

Mal Beveridge

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:17 pm 
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Hi Mal

This is a really insightful post - and I won't demean it by dashing off a reply without the right amount of thought. But to address just one of the reasons why some winning poems don't make it to the Poetry page of the website - we need the poet's permission to publish, and in some cases poets withhold this permission, for reasons of their own.

Cheers
Shelley

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fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:46 pm 
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Excellent points, Mal. Some of the poems listed as winners over the last couple of years shouldn't be there.

As Mal says, their presence debases the relevant competitions, but it also casts judges and bush poetry in a bad light. It was concern about one poem in particular, which may well be the same one that Mal refers to as an example of “the type of appalling poetry for which we are roundly criticised”, which prompted the series of articles I wrote for the magazine last year about maintaining standards in written competitions (with a particular emphasis on metre). But it was by no means the only culprit.

On the issue of creativity it’s worth revisiting “Are there limits to metre and rhyme?” in the Major Poetry Topics section of this website as we had a lengthy discussion back in 2014. Mal also contributed to that thread, observing with regard to experimentation that form can be “played with”, although: “…establishing a good metre and sticking to it is essential to a good read.” There are many things that can be done with metre to achieve an effect, but my magazine criticisms were centred on poems where multiple errors were clearly accidental, the result of writers being unaware of what they were doing wrong. Which made the poems less than satisfactory to read. It’s hard enough to get people to read rhyming verse these days (although they’re perfectly happy to hear it…the Tamworth venues will undoubtedly attract the usual crowds) without rewarding sub-standard entries in written competitions.

One of the attractions of most “outside” competitions is that they aren’t weighed down by the expectations of organisers and score sheets, and the word “bush” is mercifully absent. (Mal’s reference to people being “horrified” to be tagged as bush poets certainly ties in with some of my experiences.) Those who read the Overland responses to my article in The Australian will have seen the outright hostility to any suggestion that bush verse had a role to play on the current poetry scene. And the editors of Contemporary Australian Poetry, in their response in The Australian wrote “Poetry now focuses on what it does uniquely well: to explore the shifting frontier of our understandings, and to capture their imaginative weight.” This is infuriatingly vague, but my guess is it means a creative focus on contemporary issues. As Mal says, at the moment “plots are often used over and over again”, but the news on any day of the week reveals many issues that can be written about.

So, in the hope of stimulating broader thinking, I’d encourage the dropping of the word “bush” from competition guidelines. Talk about “rhyming poetry” instead. And scrap the judging score sheets!

Cheers
David


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:29 pm 
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Coming at this discussion a little tangentially, I would like to draw readers' attention to an Australian competition for rhyming verse that is not a bush verse competition.

I am referring to Jackie Hosking's competition for rhyming verse written for children. Details can be found here:
https://jackiehoskingblog.wordpress.com/competitions/

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:46 am 
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Well if nothing else Mal’s Post and David’s follow up should see a marked decrease in the number of winning poems being published on here or in the ABPA Magazine in fear the poet may be ridiculed.
I think you have to tread very carefully on these matters.

I’ve always enjoyed your poem’s Mal, but at the same time you have been on this crusade for a long time. I can remember way back on Bush Verse years ago Mal when you were saying much the same as you are saying now.
My Fear is that this new found zest to drag Bush poetry kicking and screaming into the future, may well hasten its end.

Many people who enjoy a little Bush poetry, hate the modern stuff – and I mean hate it – they find it boring.
At the end of the day it’s the ordinary person who determines the type of poetry they like, not a bunch of frustrated poets

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, instead of tearing ourselves to bits, why not start a whole new rhyming poetry organization, and leave the poor old traditionalist alone, or switch to Free Verse?
I think that when poets get So involved as most of us are, we also become bored with traditional poetry; some of us are exposed to it more or less night and day. On the other hand most casual followers of Bush or Rhyming poetry (call it what you like) only have occasional exposure, so they still love it.
Finally Judging is subjective, the worst thing we can do is to end up with only one or two judges. We need a wide range of views, as this gives the best chance of a better spread of winning
poems.
Anyway who’s going to judge the Judges

Terry


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:06 pm 
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I doubt there’ll be a decrease, Terry. No poems have been identified. A few years ago a very poor poem won a major award and it was identified and widely criticised, including on this site. That didn’t seem to make any difference to the publication of poems, either here or in the magazine. What’s the alternative? To say nothing and let standards fall away?

Like Mal, I’ve been on this “crusade” for quite a while and I’m well aware of the “haters” and their views on “modern stuff”. Although I’m not sure whether you’re referring to free verse or rhyming verse about contemporary issues. If it’s the latter, there’s a difference. I have no problem with the hard-core traditionalists continuing to write about whatever they like, but they insist that I (and others) stop trying to drag them “kicking and screaming” and simply go away…presumably to this new organisation you’re talking about.

But I’m well past the age when I might have had the energy and drive to contribute directly to such a venture. So I write. I wrote those magazine articles to highlight a standards problem. I wrote the article in The Australian to promote rhyming verse and the ABPA. I spent a lot of time fighting the resultant battle of words on the Overland website, trying to convince the free verse brigade that metred, rhyming verse still had a lot to offer in the modern poetry world. (Don’t know whether I got anywhere, but at least they know we exist!) I’ve been encouraging people to enter rhyming verse in Open competitions, and have done so myself. And over the last three years I’ve written some 500 (that’s not a misprint) short rhyming poems, every one of them on topical issues, for a non-poetry site in an attempt to put poetry into the public arena. Judging by the responses they’ve been popular, so at least they’re being read.

In other words, I’m doing what I can to get metred, rhyming verse “out there” into places where it’s not usually on the radar. If the “haters” don’t like any of that, so be it.

Cheers
David


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