Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Show Part II

Best in Group

    Imagine a dog competition without "Best in Breed" or "Best in Show".  Imagine the Olympics without medals.  Imagine the NFL without the Superbowl.¹

    No-Score sports are fine for kids and adults interested in fun, comraderie and exercise but when it comes to serious spectator sports people want the best or, better yet, to witness the process that determines the best.

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #18
      What requires our undivided attention more than a poem?  Other art forms have awards for individual pieces:  Cannes, the Oscars, Grammies, Billboard Music Awards, Junos, et cetera, each with their own extravaganza, honor individual movies and songs.  The Pulitzer, Griffin and other writing prizes are awarded to novels and collections of poems.  Yes, there are prizes for lifetime achievements but the focus is always on that year's best "individual" effort.

    The problem is that there are few, if any, awards for actual individual poetic efforts.  That is, a poem.  Not poems and, for God's sake, not poets.  One poem.  Yes, sales of the winning book do rise, but not enough to show even a modicum of public interest.

    After 50 years in which not a single line of verse has been successfully planted in the public consciousness, doesn't it make sense to granularize down to unit size--the size in which people consume poetry?  

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #34
    Like "Best in Show", one poem honored above all others might, at the very least, be accorded consideration by future anthologists.  What would still be missing?  The key categorization:  "Best in Group".  To use the same delineations as in Part I, the public may be fascinated by the best romantic, comedic, dramatic, elegiac, political, literary, or philosophical verse without being interested in the other genres.  Each of these may serve entirely different demographics.  Why not treat them all equally?

  Even team sports understand the need for personal awards (e.g. Most Valuable Player).  Why is poetry, arguably the most solitary of endeavors, the only one that does not honor its best individual products?


¹ - Note that Olympic and NFL organizers have evolved away from other models toward one that produces one champion.

  1. The Show Part I - Best in Breed

  2. The Show Part II - Best in Group

  3. The Show Part III - Best in Show

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