Dear Contest Participants,
Thank you for rallying and making the 5th annual Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest into a modest success. I won't kid you--it was looking pretty grim until the last two days when a flood of submissions was received.
Our coveted Duotrope sponsorship brought us little if any additional contestants. Shouts out to Poets & Writers magazine whose free ad brought in the majority of our contestants, and to our Associate Editor James Rowe who inspired almost two dozen of his (college) students to throw their hats in the ring.
I'll be spending the next several weeks personally responding to every one of the 170 poems still in the reading queue and determining who makes it to the semifinals. Finalists' Contest Judge Montana Poet Laureate Lowell Jaeger will then sort through the semifinalists to determine the finalists and eventually the first, second, and third place winners to be announced in February 2019. An additional winner will be selected by the readership for the Readers Choice Award this coming spring.
We raised just enough to pay the winners the maximum honoraria we offered plus enough for Lowell and me to celebrate over hot beverages. While Songs of Eretz will receive little to nothing in terms of money, we are proud that we will be able to recognize and promote the work of four outstanding poets--a first prize winner, second prize winner, third prize winner, and the winner of the Readers Choice Award. This will certainly further our mission to bring a little more good poetry into the world, and THAT is what Songs of Eretz is all about.
Next year will bring some exciting new changes to Songs of Eretz Poetry Review. For many years a week-daily mainstream e-zine, we will be going to a monthly, themed format. In lieu of our annual contests, we will be offering monthly, themed "50-50" contests through Kickstarter (more on this at a later date). We will also be putting more "review" into the Review by featuring at least one review of a poetry collection with each issue. And in lieu of soliciting donations, we will be offering fun and exciting patronage options with pathways to earn fabulous Songs of Eretz-themed merch through Patreon (more on this at a later date, too).
Finally, I would like to thank this year's Frequent Contributors for the work they did in promoting the contest and for the quality of their work this year. There would be no Songs of Eretz without them.
All the best,
Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD