[Originally sent as an email message to Contest Five entrants on 16 June 2014.]
I know that great poetry is out there and being actively written—and that many of you are writing it.
Even so, we have been consistently challenged in attracting that great poetry to our writing contest. In two different events, we were unable to award prizes for poetry: in Contest Three, because there were too few entries in total, and in Contest Five because there were too few finalists after blind voting by a panel of judges. Both scenarios are described in the “Rules and Restrictions” before each contest starts, but this situation leaves everyone upset—me, poets, and judges—and is understandably seen by many as unfair.
To proactively address this, I am personally reaching out to poets like you to ask for help.
Our next writing contest has opened for entries. To ensure both fairness and transparency, if you are not entering the contest will you please consider volunteering as a staff judge instead?
The duties of the role are fairly simple:
Here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind:
If you would be interested in and willing to participate in this way, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can add up to seven more judges to our panel, and I’d be delighted to have your help.
If you have already entered the contest or are unable to participate as a judge, please consider helping by telling other poets about this opportunity. Contest entry is always free, and I believe that more participation will raise awareness of the great poetry being written and its importance in modern literature.
Thank you for your help,
Brian Lewis, Volunteer Editor-in-Chief