I am awed and humbled by the level of participation in this year’s Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest, our only fundraising event. It is thanks to you and your generous support that Songs of Eretz will be able to expand and grow. The contest raised enough for us to reach our goal of enabling the Review to begin offering modest honoraria to our contributors and to offer a significant honorarium for this year’s Editor’s Choice Award. Such growth is sure to attract more poets of quality and refinement to our cause.
We were perhaps brutally upfront about the fact that the contest is a fundraiser. And we were not shy about pointing out that only one poem out of hundreds would win and that only a small percentage of participants would enjoy the privilege and pleasure of having their work considered by a former state poet laureate. We even went so far as to advise potential participants to give our contest a pass if winning was to be their primary motivation for entering. And yet, in spite of this honest disclosure (or perhaps because of it?), we had participation in unprecedented numbers.
This contest saw the return of many loyal friends from previous years as well as even more new voices. I was particularly moved by the large number of college students who entered the contest and that for many of them this was their first such poetic endeavor. Even more moving was the significant number of non-poet supporters who declared their contest fees as donations. And perhaps the most moving of all was the number of poets who entered the contest multiple times.
I hope that all of you enjoyed your contest experience and found the personal feedback on each of your poems to be of some use. I know that I enjoyed or will enjoy carefully considering each and every poem that was submitted (there were many last-minute entries that I still look forward to reading).
Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD