Poetry Competitions: New Models for Crowdsourcing?

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Six hundred judges pick winner of MAG Poetry Prize 2011 in anonymous peer review process. The participants are buzzing with enthusiasm.

Poetic Republic
a very talented poet has been discovered

A poetry competition is changing the landscape. Throughout May and June 600 poets read each other’s work, left each other comments and selected the best poetry from a pool of over 1,000 poems. “This is a poetry prize re-invented as a participation event,” says Peter Hartey, founder of Poetic Republic, adding “poetry competitions are changing.”

“When the judging had finished people were buzzing,” says Peter, quoting the anonymous participants: “It was a pleasure to read others' work and be part of the whole process of judging,” “I thought it was fantastic as I had seen nothing like it before,” “The format of allowing participants to comment and judge is excellent.”

Francesca McMahon emerged winner of the £2,000 MAG Poetry Prize with her poem Ruby and Me at Baby Clinic. This is a third time win for Francesca. She says, “When the message came through that I had won I was dancing round the kitchen, literally jumping for joy.”

Peter Hartey commented, “That Francesca has won again is fascinating. Given the collaborative nature of the event it’s easy to forget that the raison d’être for the prize is the identification of excellence. I think a very talented poet has been discovered.”

Participants, during the judging process, commented on the winning poem: “A spectacularly well realised poem,” “Great poem - fantastic ending,” “A strong and important poem about inequality,” “I hope this comes from a prolific poet so I can read more!”

“It is difficult to think of another example of mass collaboration utilizing anonymous peer review,” commented Peter Hartey. The idea is certainly gaining traction at Poetic Republic - this year the number of entries leapt by over 70% and broke the 1,000 mark.

Poetic Republic now has over 3,000 people have registered. “This year entries came in from 36 different countries,” said Peter, adding “awareness of this unique event is spreading.”

Read all about the poetry competition 2011 winners.

The competition supports Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a global humanitarian organisation working to reduce armed violence and the devastating effects remnants of conflict have on communities struggling to recover after war. This year’s competition has raised £1,015 for MAG – one pound per entry.

Thank you to the Arts Council England for supporting the MAG Poetry Prize 2011.

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