Everyone wants to have won an award, yet writing contests are something of an outlier in the book publishing world. Why isn't entering a writing contest a regular in a writer’s promotional plan? The fear of competition?

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Poor Poetry! It always seems like it has some explaining to do. I mean, people don't usually ask if Music or Dance are dead, or if television matters anymore, or what non-representational painting is good for anyway. So why is poetry constantly on the defensive? Perhaps it's because what poetry is BEST at is creating a momentary space outside of utility itself. That's my paraphrase, at least, of what poet Matthew Zapruder says in this video interview with former BookBaby president Brian Felsen. Sure, poetry is about the manipulation of image, language, and rhythm to bring about some effect within the reader. But generally poems don't require anything specific of you except your attentiveness. The little poem seems to say to the reader, "please be fully present as a thinking, feeling, breathing body — and I promise in return not to ask you to buy, subscribe, or vote for anything."

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April may be "the cruelest month," but it's also National Poetry Month (contrary to the Poetry Foundation's April Fool's announcement that National Poetry Month has been cancelled)! Every April since 1996-- poets, readers, teachers, critics, and publishers have used National Poetry Month as a time to rally the troops and get people interested in the world's oldest literary art form.

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