Posted by: Viola | March 29, 2015

My poems rise to the tops of submission piles

I have heard back, at this time, from all the contests I submitted my work to last year. Alas, I did not win any prizes. But two of my poems made it to the finals for one contest, and those two poems earned honorable mentions. And I am overjoyed because those honorable mentions come with a cash prize. So I did win. I am winner. Not the first prize or second or third. But a winner, nonetheless. Also, my poems made it onto a wait list for a writers’ retreat called Cave Canem. I know I probably won’t get to attend this great retreat, but I am so thrilled and honored that my poems made it into the top and are now being held, in reserve, in case a spot opens up.

What strikes me as most helpful, about submitting my work to many different places, is that I now have a sense of where my poems are for some people or new audiences. They may not be perfect and appealing to everyone who receives them, but they are pretty darn good. My poems, wherever they go, have the wonderful ability to rise through the piles of submissions. My poems rise to the top. While my initial reaction to not winning a major prize feels like a blow, like a loss, I realize that I am already a winner and my poems are already award-winners. They just are. They do not need labels, as prize-winners. They do not need a prize. They do not need fame or notoriety. They are good as they are.

I am so fiercely proud of my poems. So honored that they are here and are mine and that they shine so brightly. It was scary sending my work out to these contests. It always is. It drains and depletes me, when I have to let them go and trust that no harm will come to them. So now that it’s all over, I am breathing deeply. They did well. No harm came to them. No harm came to me. Instead, from all these submissions, goodness has come. I have a chapbook to show for submitting my work to the Brunel University African Poetry Prize. For a separated contest, I have two honorable mentions for my poems and a cash prize. I also have concrete feedback from several places that my poems made it to the top of the pile.

I am giving myself permission to celebrate all this. To celebrate the courage it took to share my work and allow it to be judged. To celebrate the wonder of my poems and how they rise and rise and rise. And above all, I am celebrating this magical journey I am on, the journey of a poet, no easy journey but a rewarding and fulfilling one, full of hope and creative challenges and passion and radiant joy. Onward! ❤



  1. Congratulations Viola! You did earn the right to celebrate! It also means that your poems have a dimension you had not expected before. Congrats!

    • Thank u so much. This poetic journey, no matter what turns it takes, never ceases to amaze and enrich me. Thank u for your words of encouragement!

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