So August 1 came and went. Mid-day yesterday I found the expected e-mail in my inbox: "Thank you for your application to the 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship competition. We are grateful to you for letting us see your work." The letter went on to explain that I was one of the nearly 860 applicants receiving the same letter - thank you and good luck next time.
Congratulations to the 40 finalists and best of luck not biting your hands off between now and September 1. I'm sure I'll be competing against 35 of them next year (along with the other 860 or so). My work will stack up better next year. One nice thing about being a young poet is that I have plenty of time, even when competing for awards limited to young poets.
The work I've been turning out this summer has been harder to come by, but I've felt more confident about it. I feel that my struggle with stodgy formalities and out-dated expressions has finally resolved. Without, I might brag, falling into pretentiously "everyday" speech. Most of it is still out for consideration in other contests. There's still time for the Milwaukee Irish Fest, WRWA Jade Ring, Slash Pine Press Chapbook and the WFOP Triad contests.