Songs of Eretz Poetry Review logged 100,000 views in 2017, shattering last year’s record of 68,000 views. Over 250 poems were published, including twenty-three composed by guest poets who received five-dollar honoraria for their work--a semi-professional rate. Also, in keeping with the “review” in Poetry Review, nine collections of poetry were reviewed.
2017 also saw the successful continuation of our Frequent Contributor program. Sadly, we had to say farewell to David Pring-Mill and John Reinhart, both of whom resigned this year. Their strong poetic voices will be dearly missed. We also miss Terri Lynn Cummings who is on a leave of absence; however, we welcomed the return of former Frequent Contributor Kaitlyn Vaughn nee Frazier, who has graciously agreed to cover for Terri until her return.
The Fourth Annual Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest was a huge success thanks to the unprecedented number of participants and the loyal support of hundreds of Friends of Eretz old and new. As the preliminary judge, I personally enjoyed reading and providing individual feedback for each of the several hundred poems that were submitted. Guest Contest Judge Former Kansas Poet Laureate Eric McHenry will choose the winner in January, and a special feature announcing the winner will be made in February.
2018 should be a banner year for Songs of Eretz. Starting January 1, we will begin offering honoraria of FIFTY DOLLARS for publishing unsolicited poems--a professional rate. We are truly humbled and grateful that with your support we have been able to reach this goal way ahead of schedule and have no doubt that “going pro” will attract more poets of quality and refinement to our cause. In order to maintain our professional status, we will be relying even more heavily upon your continued generous support. So, please, if you are a regular or frequent visitor to our site, consider making a donation soon. If you wish to have your poetic work considered for publication, we expect that you will have no problem with donating a token amount with each submission. Please see our “Donations” page for details http://www.songsoferetz.com/p/donations.html.
You may have noticed some new names on our masthead today. We will be adding five new Frequent Contributors next year! Some of these poets will be familiar to the readership, and some will be new. Three of them hail from outside the United States. I have no doubt that this diverse group of additional poetic voices will deepen and enrich the Songs of Eretz reading experience. Each will be introduced to the readership with a Poet of the Week feature in the first weeks of the year.
Songs of Eretz has always been a traditional, mainstream poetry and review venue and will remain that. However, next year we will be expanding our mission to include prose poems, narrative poems, and--most significantly--short poetic prose (up to 833 words per story). So, if you have a short piece of prose that is chock full of gorgeous imagery and other poetic elements, we want to see it!
The fifty-dollar Editor’s Choice Award will be retired next year in favor of paying all guest poets fifty-dollar honoraria for their work. However, 2018 will see the introduction of the Reader’s Choice Award. This will be a one hundred dollar cash honorarium awarded to a (non-winning) contest finalist poem by a vote of the readership. Look for an announcement about this new award in mid-February.
Plans for next year’s--our fifth annual--Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest are already underway. In addition to recognizing the winning poet with a one thousand dollar honorarium, we plan to award honoraria of one hundred dollars each to five additional poets worthy of honorable mention.
We are still looking for an accomplished poet to serve as Guest Contest Judge next year. Please send an email to Editor@SongsOfEretz.com if you or someone you know may be interested.
All the best for a happy New Year filled with poetry and song,
Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD