My first experience with "poetry competition" isn't a good one. I started posting my poems on a Slovenian poetry site/forum (pesem.si). And it worked something like this, you graded a poem with stars from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. Of course I was stupid enough to grade poems as how they suited me, did the words take me, did they make me feel what the poet wanted me to feel, did they offer something new, and maybe a fresh perspective. And mostly I gave an average grade. Silly me, that's what I got back on my poems (it really makes you wonder who reads poems anyway). Some got angry and gave me just one star, and it was my grading that deserved that payback not my poem. Oh, it's like kindergarden.
I know that back then not all of my poems were good, for the most part, probably. But then again, I'm the harshest critic of my own work. I do believe though, that my poems recieved some bad grading for the use of English instead of Slovenian language. I believe I'm not the only one that can express herself better in a foreign lanugage. But that's another story. Do you believe there is such a thing as grading a poem? I find it very ... degrading (for the lack of a better word). Poetry is very individual, personal, more so than prose. And everyone has a different taste for it, like for music. If we look at facebook or youtube, where we went from stars to just like/dislike buttons. Comments, useful comments are scarce. Is it because poetry isn't very popular chose for reading? Or is it that now anyone can post poems online, and you get lost among them, searching for that one that would be perfect?
The reason why I'm writing about poetry competitions, well, grading poems, is that I've recently entered a Slovenian poetry competition. It's the first time that I did that. And there were no winners or losers, because there were to few entrees. But it was a competition that was perfect for me - visual poetry. You can find my contributions below (Wearing autumn and Secret are included in Colours of the sea, the last one is new).
The important thing to do is to continue what you do best, what you love and be true to yourself, other people may like it or not, but they should never get under your skin. I feel that writing poetry is a very personal thing, and you should enjoy those moments, not many people get to feel them.