I have just finished judging the OOTA (Out Of The Asylum - Fremantle Arts Centre writing group) Spilt Ink Poetry Competition - and I was truly surprised at the consistent high quality of the entries. I have judged many writing competitions over the past three decades, and am used to having an easy time sorting the wheat from the chaff - only the finalists cause real decision making in most competitions. Not this time: I was asked for ten finalists, and my second run through cut it down to 21!! To reduce it further was a test of my evaluating skills. After some hours of soul searching, I reduced it twelve. Then I concentrated on the relationship of form to content - what the poem said and how it said it. Now I have my ten. The top three are still jumping around, but I'm comfortable that I have made an informed judgement. Now, to find out who they are at the celebration (some two weeks away at least).
It has been a very satisfying experience, so thank you, Jo, Annie and others on the OOTA team, for entrusting me with this job. And the winners are ... to be announced on the night.