Today The Guardian covered the announcement of the Forward Prize shortlistings. I've been quoted by newspapers four times before--twice by the L.A. Times, twice by the (central Illinois) Pantagraph, yet never accurately until now. You can read the article here.
While I've been pleased to see congratulations go to the shortlisted poets on Facebook and Twitter, I've also thought of the sadness and disappointment some of those not shortlisted may feel, as I've felt before at similar announcements, and want to say there was much good work that didn't make the shortlists, and not making the list does not mean one's book or poem isn't good.
These things are like party invitations, I think. Great when you get on them, but it's not an insult if you don't, is it? And this kind of disappointment (not that I entered anything) is possibly built-in to the human condition. We're competitive animals, addicted to ranking ourselves and others. This is good in that it encourages ASPIRATION and effort until it tips into discouraging ...ReplyDelete
Thanks for the response, Cathy. I really appreciate it. I must admit I've been terribly disheartened when my book has been up for a shortlisting and didn't make it, especially with my first book when the field was narrower. I am glad for the good work prizes bring attention to, though--of course!Delete
I suppose ambitious people in all walks of life have to learn to keep going. Maybe poetry and the arts are particularly hard, not so much because so much art is so personal, but also because of the plethora of these gongs and badges which make it so clear who is getting money and approval and who isn't. In other fields, people have to put up with getting paid (or not) and getting promoted (or not). It's hard everywhere, I think. I find it hard.ReplyDelete
I feel this the more strongly for having a partner who is a ceramicist and seeing similar trials. What is it you find hard at your stage of development?Delete