Project Verse: Drama Continues

There is much to be discussed with Project Verse. If you didn’t think a poetry competition could be filled with sass and drama, well, you were very wrong!

Check out the previous blog post for all the Project Verse drama, or you may simply click here.

As mentioned in the previous post, the drama started when Project Verse contestant Martin Ott left this comment:

My Dolly poem was accepted for the November issue of Two Review the first time I sent it out (and they get 7000 submissions per issue). Kind of takes the sting out of being on the bottom twice last week.

To follow up, Martin had this to say:

Sunday night sent out a few poems to a magazine I just heard about and added the Dolly poem as a lark…got the acceptance Monday morning at which point I forwarded the email to Dustin asking him about attribution. He kindly sent me the rules and I immediately shot the editor of Two Review a note about Project verse and the need for attribution.

Before I get to the “meat and bones,” I need to address a couple of items that have ruffled my wondrously gay feathers.

Weekly Judge Dana Guthrie Martin wrote:

Martin’s poem had not yet been judged by Project Verse judges when he sent it to Two Review. It was thus still under evaluation for inclusion in Dustin and Emma’s collection of 50 poems paying tribute to Dolly Parton.

What if Martin had won the week’s challenge? He knew that winning would include publication in the tribute collection. It doesn’t seem right to send the piece out for consideration elsewhere under those circumstances.

Martin Ott had a problem with this and responded with:

It’s one thing when a contestant calls you a liar which W.F. did; it’s another when a judge does.

I don’t think I can get a fair review from a judge after she states a falsehood about me on a blog, and highly doubt I’ll be submitting my next poem (which I have a draft of) for Dana’s consideration.

Martin, you are wrong; Dana is correct. You commented that you don’t think you would get a fair review after all this drama around your Dolly tribute poem. You are wrong! There are so many reasons why I selected Beth Gylys and Dana Guthrie Martin as weekly guest judges. I enjoy their work and attitudes, and they are gifted poets. I know and believe that NONE of the judges associate attitude (or any issues for that matter) with a poet’s work. We share a belief: It is all about the work. We want the work to speak for itself. If we didn’t share this belief Emily, who was quite the sassy-pants after she read the judges’ comments to her poem from Week 2: Firsts, wouldn’t be around. Hell, she even won Week 4: Shore Tags, and she was the first contestant to receive a vote from EVERY judge.

Martin wrote:

It is my right to believe the following:
– poetry judges should have more experience than contestants
– poetry judges should not state flasehoods about contestants as facts

Your second statement has been addressed above. As for your first statement, when you applied to Project Verse you were provided with the names of the weekly judges. You had time to research each of us. It is your problem if you failed to do so. You shouldn’t have applied if you had any issues with our credentials. Do you realize your comment makes you sound bitter? It is unfortunate that you sound like a kid who wants to stop the game because he is losing. I think you are a better man than that, Martin. The sad part is that you weren’t losing.

The bottome line
This goes back to Dana being right. Martin, you submitted your poems before the results were announced. You even admitted that in your submission to Two Review that you did not give Project Verse credit. When you applied to Project Verse you agreed to this statement:

By participating in Project Verse, you agree to acknowledge Project Verse as first publisher in future reprints of books, anthologies, website publications, podcasts, radio, etc. Copyright reverts back to authors upon appearance in the Project Verse competition, which takes place on the I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin site.

Martin, you might remember that Project Verse was down two competitors the first week because they didn’t abide by the rules. One of the eliminated competitors didn’t submit on time because a close relative was diagnosed with cancer that same week. I hated it for him, but the rules are the rules. Niina Pollari was just eliminated because she didn’t submit her poem by deadline.

Are you catching it, Martin?

I take rules seriously. Claiming ignorance of the law doesn’t excuse you from breaking it. You can say you didn’t realize you had to give Project Verse first credit, but I have the email where you agree to do so, and I have the email where you admit that you failed to do so.

Martin, you are out of the competition for violating one of the rules of Project Verse.

8 responses to “Project Verse: Drama Continues

  1. To set the record straight – I did not break the rules of the competition.

    The rule states that Project Verse must be provided an attribution in reprint – since nothing has been reprinted I did not break the rule – I also believe many things I said were taken out of context.

    Regardless, it's Dustin's competition as far as I'm concerned – he came up with an inspired concept and if he doesn't want me here, I will gladly go.

    Thanks to the judges who gave their time and provided valuable feedback. I never bashed the judges personally – only disagreed with their opinions. My comments on judges for poetry competitions were meant generally. I also didn't say one bad thing about the poets even when I was called disgusting, a shark, a cheater, and much worse…I wish them all the best.

    Dustin is right that I sounded bitter once or twice in this competition (and will gladly admit that point once again)

    Write good poems everyone!


  2. Um, I've hesitated chiming in on this, but argumentative responses to critiques only work against a poet in the long run. It's the mark of a rank amateur. Keep in mind that anyone can be reading your work–and your reactions to it.

    I'm also not quite sure what this round of drama is all about (I'm catching up), but I'm more interested in reading each entry/series of entries from a single poet for the poet's existing skill and apparent potential. I say to myself, "Is this someone who's going to be good in a couple of years? Is this someone who might have other stuff worth reading? Do I agree with this or that judge's assessment of the work? Is this someone I'd like to work with in the future?"

    To all who have entered Project Verse, good luck, (continue to) grow a thick hide, and keep on writing and submitting, no matter what. Remember: One contest will not make or break your poetic career–unless you let it.

  3. Stumbling across Project Verse might have been the best thing that's happened to me this summer. Hi Dustin, I've been lurking around this blog, reading the poems (and following along) and writing my own as the competition chugs along. Don't worry, I don't planning on posting any in the comments here. I have to say this latest bit of drama is keeping me sane as I wait for Project Runway to come back on the air. Just wanted to chime in. Thanks for hosting such an entertaining competition. I'll be quiet now and keep watching.


  4. I'd make a terrible judge because I hate controversy and bad feelings.

    How can anyone say Dana doesn't have a lot of experience? She has been writing and evaluating poetry for decades. And she still looks prettier than most of us.

    Anyway, like Robin, I've enjoyed reading the judges' comments on the poems. It helps me with my own writing, because I take their remarks and look at my own poems for false or jarring notes.

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