Contest Judging Criteria

Judges are selected from a combination of Spark: A Creative Anthology staff and industry professionals. Each contest invites participation of at least two judges unaffiliated with Spark.

Judging is blind (that is, author and poet names are hidden from the judges) and considers the following areas:

Poetry

Technical

Style & Presentation

Formal, modern, or freeform styles are employed appropriately and consistently. Defined structures are adhered to or intentional deviations are clear and effective. Meter & rhyme, if employed, are consistent and enhance the presentation of the poem. The approach to punctuation, spelling, and grammar is consistent and effective, whether following or breaking conventions.

Language

Word choice and order are precise, colorful, and evocative, and create audible appeal.

Form

Line length, enjambment and caesura, along with word choice and order, enhance the clarity, meaning, and movement of the poem.

Artistic

Drama

The poem as a whole captures or effectively implies a compelling story.

Imagery

Figurative language creates rich or broad  sensory appeal.

Impact

The poem evokes an emotional response from the reader.

Originality

The idea, perspective, or presentation is unique and fresh.

Prose

Technical

Style & Presentation

Punctuation, spelling, grammar, and syntax are standard except as required for literary effect. Intentional deviations from conventions are consistent.

Language

Vocabulary is appropriate to the subject, style, and characters. Word choice is precise and evocative.

Form

Sentence length and paragraph breaks enhance the clarity, meaning, and movement of the prose.

Artistic

Drama

Dramatic tension is compelling and results in a credible climax and resolution.

Voice

The voice of the narrator and characters are clear and unique, and appropriate for the story or subject.

Imagery

Figurative language creates rich or broad  sensory appeal.

Impact

The prose effectively engages the reader and evokes an emotional response.

Originality

The idea, perspective, or presentation is unique and fresh.