Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:24 pm

Sure, Terry, but the trouble is that I think quite a few of the bush poets are ambitious, but also very frustrated, and don't understand how their grammar and spelling is letting them down.
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Wendy Seddon
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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by Wendy Seddon » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:41 pm

Just a bush baby's two cents worth........
I was taught spelling and grammer at school
but it' s the proof reading that gets ne unstuck! Typos sneak in. :D
"All appears to change when we change." - Henri-Frederic Amiel

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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:03 am

They say reading it backwards one word at a time is the best way to remove typos, but it is pretty tedious.
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David Campbell
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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by David Campbell » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:58 pm

The topic of literacy skill (or numeracy skill, for that matter) is a fascinating one, and the only conclusion I’ve come to after teaching kids from all manner of backgrounds is that part of it is innate. Some people are “naturals” and some aren’t and, while those who aren’t can improve with practice, it’ll never be as easy for them as for the lucky ones who are born with it. I’ve used dancing as an analogy before. When it comes to dancing I have two left feet and envy those who can get up on a dance floor and do all manner of fancy moves, but give me something to write and I’m as happy as a pig in mud.

I’ve met people who went to good schools, read a lot, and have tertiary degrees, yet still struggle with spelling and grammar. And when it comes to rhyming verse, there is a huge gap between what we’re used to on this site and what Joe and Josephine Public might produce. Over the years I’ve written a lot of rhyming verse for friends, relatives, colleagues, and some for non-poetry websites as a topical comment…and a few people have had a go at replying in kind. The results are almost always woeful, showing a very poor understanding of metre and rhyme.

Generally speaking, people have little contact with poetry these days and have no idea how it works. But maybe they’ll come across a competition advertised somewhere and think “Oh, that looks easy!”, so they’ll knock out a few stanzas and send them off. Then, as a judge, you come across these appalling entries and wonder why on earth anyone would waste money submitting them. I’ve been concentrating on metre in the magazine articles, but have had to judge poems which rhymed “things” and “sins”, “joke” and “dope”, “advice” and “strife”, “eyes” and “buy”, “reap” and “sheik”, and “name” and “gain”. You look at examples like these and wonder what sort of concept of rhyme the writer has, but it’s possibly fairly representative of the general lack of understanding out there in the non-poetry world. (And when I hear some of the nonsense the “rappers” get away with, maybe it’s not surprising!)

As Stephen says, there are undoubtedly budding poets who get very frustrated when they enter competitions without success and can't understand why. The best thing to do is get advice from someone else, someone who's prepared to give an honest assessment, for the simple truth is that, even with the best will in the world, competition-standard writing (like dancing) is just not a reality for everyone. As Terry says, some people only want to write for their own amusement anyway, but if you set your sights on competitions it's important to investigate the standards required, assess your own abilities, work out what improvement might be needed, and not expect success to come immediately or consistently.

Cheers
David

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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by David Campbell » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:44 am

I see from Neil's editorial in the latest magazine that he received "many articles" from members disagreeing with what I said about standards in written competitions, but didn't have space to print them all. He suggested that the issue could be taken up here on the forum and I think that's an excellent idea. So if those who wrote articles would like to post them, preferably in separate threads, I'll be happy to respond to them one-by-one. That also gives others the chance to voice an opinion.

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David

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keats
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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by keats » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:55 am

It's great to see this discussion move to the forums as suggested. I failed to mention in my Editorial that despite getting some negative comments on David's article, I certainly had a lot more positive ones! The standard of written verse need to conform to a high standard and thus it was my pleasure to publish David's contributions. As you know, I write mainly performance comedy poetry and if I submitted those poems to a competition I would certainly not expect a placing. The metre is all over the place and for a good reason. I have to allow for pregnant pausing, hand and facial gestures and sometimes have eight words in one line and twenty seven in the next rhyming line! But the delivery makes it work!
Again thank you to David for sharing his wonderful knowledge and expertise with other members of the ABPA.

Neil

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Wendy Seddon
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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by Wendy Seddon » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:57 pm

I think practical workshops would help.
I remember one in the Hunter which I found to be great for learning about meter,
rhyme and competition expectations. Hands on with tips and expert instruction.
Writing song lyrics was also included.
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David Campbell
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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by David Campbell » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:57 am

Many thanks, Neil. It's good to know that there were more positive responses than negative ones...I was beginning to get a bit worried! I've responded to the August/September issue comments in a new thread, and again invite those whose opinions weren't published to start their own threads so we can discuss them.

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David

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Re: Article in ABPA Magazine - re Written Competitions

Post by Shelley » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:09 pm

Hi All

Neil -

It was so good to see your supportive comments in the editorial of the August/September ABPA magazine. Like you, I have the utmost respect for David's knowledge and demonstrated ability in the field of written bush poetry. His generous feedback to me personally has played a huge part in my development as a writer, and I agree with you that any article written by him is guaranteed to be helpful to anyone wishing to improve their written bush poetry skills.

Like David, I was pleased to hear that you had many positive responses to his articles. I know you have suggested relocating future rounds of this discussion to the Forum, and I agree that's a good idea, but it would have been nice to see one or two of these positive responses in the magazine also.

David -

I note you have continued the discussion in a separate thread "Magazine August/September", so I will be happy to respond to your post on that thread.

Cheers
Shelley
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