Eratosphere (
-   The Distinguished Guest (
-   -   And the Winners Are. . . (

Aaron Poochigian 10-29-2016 12:43 AM

And the Winners Are. . .
And the winners are:

For third place. . . (drum roll). . . “The Jitterbug”!

For second place. . . (drum roll). . . “Saturday Night in Kirriemuir”!!

And for first place. . . (drum roll, cymbal clash). . . “X”!!!

My congratulations to the winners!

. . . . .

My personal choices for the top three are:
1.) X
2.) Saturday Night in Kirriemuir
3.) Process of Elimination

I must say deciding on a personal third-place poem was difficult indeed—“Thirteen” and “The Jitterbug” were nipping at the heels of “Process of Elimination” until the very moment I went to press.

. . . . .

With these revelations, my role is finished, and I will now step off the stage.

My gratitude to all participants!

Alex Pepple 10-29-2016 03:07 AM

Per our tradition, it's now time to declassify our Top-Secret Sonnet Bake-off and unveil the Who's Whos. But first, a big thank you to our Top Secret DG, for a most successful event, with a strong list of finalists. And thank you to all who submitted, and all the participants of the event. Congratulations to the winners as now revealed by our TSDG--

TOP THREE WINNERS of the 2016 Sonnet Bake-off are:

1. "X" by Julie Steiner
2. "Saturday Night in Kirriemuir" by Susan McLean
3. "The Jitterbug" by Elise Hempel

Congratulations to our WINNER Julie Steiner!

Coincidentally--since as the anonmyzer, I already knew the identities of all the finalists--without waiting for the voting process to even commence, I'd already asked our top-three sonneteers for their sonnets for Able Muse, print edition, given that they were the ones that had also appealed the most to me. (Still, if a different sonnet outside the above top-three had won, then as I'd promised in my follow-up contest's bonus announcement, I'd have also added it in the publication mix.). With that, my double congratulations for also achieving publication to Julie, Susan, and Elise!

Next, here are the remaining finalists in alphabetic order (and the TSDG may want to edit the result post to list all the ten finalists with the point tally for each given that it's my experience that most members, especially the finalists, want to know where they placed in the top ten):

4. "Desilu" by Simon Hunt
5. "Fourth Dimension" by Tim Murphy
6. "Garden Sonnet" by Mark Mcdonnell
7. "Hundreds of Corks" by Claudia Gary
8. "Process of Elimination" by Joshua Coben
9. "Shall I Compare Thee to a Winter’s Day" by Wesli Court (a pseudonym for Lewis Turco)
10. "Thirteen" by David Danoff

Congratulations and thank you to all!

Finally, who is our expert sonneteer aka Top Secret DG? Check the TSDG's posts, where the username should be, by now, decoded and declassified!


Jayne Osborn 10-29-2016 03:57 AM

Wonderful news!

Massive congratulations to Julie for winning this fun event - X got my vote for 1st place - and well done to Susan and Elise, indeed ALL of the finalists.

Many thanks to Aaron for taking on the job (I never guessed it was you!). But I was right when I said I thought the DG was young(ish) and American. (I forgot to say ''and probably handsome" ;))

Finally, thanks to Alex for putting on the Bake-Off for us all. It was a big success.


Aaron Poochigian 10-29-2016 04:46 AM

Jayne, I will take "probably handsome" any day. I was impressed with Simon Hunt's dead-on identification of me as "a Weirdo." I confess to subterfuge in that I peppered the DG's language with British idiom ("queue," "Hol," "the Americans," etc.) for a linguistic "Zersetzung" effect--did I use them convincingly?

Yup, though I'm a incorrigible Anglophiliac, there ain't no denyin' I was a gun-totin', "Don't-Tread-On-Me" 'Merican even in ma mama's womb. Darn-tootin'. So liberating to be able to speak like myself again.

Catherine Chandler 10-29-2016 06:01 AM

Congratulations to Julie, Susan and Elise!

I also got a huge kick out of the yearly visit of Miss Jennifer Gordon and her hilarious comments! :)

Maryann Corbett 10-29-2016 06:29 AM

Kudos to all, and many thanks to Aaron and Alex for running this.

Mary McLean 10-29-2016 06:40 AM

Congratulations to Julie, Susan and Elise! I already knew you were three of my favourite sonneteers. And thanks to the organisers for another great event.

Mark McDonnell 10-29-2016 07:06 AM

Thanks to Alex and Aaron for running this and well done Aaron for maintaining such a convincingly odd secret identity.

Congratulations Julie! A worthy winner. Even though I played annoying Devil's Advocate in my crit of 'X' it is a hugely clever poem. And really, what do I know? (seriously)

I've thoroughly enjoyed this and still can't believe I made the final. This seems as good a place as any to say this, so I will: thanks so much to everyone for making me feel welcome since I joined the 'sphere. This is a wonderful place.

Now back to Julie..;)

Claudia Gary 10-29-2016 08:31 AM

Thanks to Aaron and Alex, and congratulations to the winners!
Aaron, you had me fooled.
This was fun.

Tim Murphy 10-29-2016 09:06 AM

Congratulations to the winners and us alsorans. Thanks to Alex and Aaron.

Mary Meriam 10-29-2016 09:41 AM

[nonindex][/noindex]The drama... the intrigue... the suspense... the sniping... Another thrilling episode of the Spherian Bake-Off with a wonderful selection of winners!! Major kudos, Julie!! And kudos to all the winners. Loved your acting, Aaron. Way to administrate, Alex.

Aaron Poochigian 10-29-2016 10:06 AM

Here is the tally:

1.) X 65.5
2.) Saturday Night in Kirriemuir 52
3.) The Jitterbug 25.5
4.) Process of Elimination 24
5.) Desilu 16
6.) Garden Sonnet 15
7.)/8.) Thirteen 12/Fourth Dimension 12
9.) Hundreds of Corks 10
10.) Shall I Compare Thee to a Winter’s Day? 1

Michael F 10-29-2016 10:27 AM

Well done, Aaron, and congrats to everyone.

It's fun to see how (in)correct my suppositions were on authorship. Susan fooled me, though now I see the marks of her fine craft. I figured out Elise from her grace. Julie I knew. I was hopelessly off track on Joshua, which makes sense since this is the first I've heard of him, but I'm glad I have.

So congrats, bis!

Simon Hunt 10-29-2016 11:00 AM

Thanks, Aaron (I figured out it was you in the middle of the process...) and Alex. Congratulations, Julie on the coveted double--and Susan who would have had a double but for Julie! And to the bronze medalists. Congratulations, all, in fact. I remembered Mark as the author of the garden poem, recognized Tim of course, and knew I had submitted "Desilu"--but had no clue on the others. I remembered reading "X" but not its author... Thanks to everybody for an enjoyable event, especially those who commented on or voted for my poem. 5th place, yo!

Julie Steiner 10-29-2016 12:00 PM

I'm very surprised "X" did so well in the voting, as it elicited only a "Meh" from a lot of readers I respect. I'm even more surprised that "Hundreds of Corks" finished only second-to-last, because I thought it was much better than my own poem. (I salute you, Claudia!)

Just goes to show how subjective taste can be, and how important it is to take both winning and losing with a grain of salt. What matters is whether a poem resonates with us, personally, which is what we're all looking for when we participate in events like this.

I did hesitate to enter a poem I'd previously workshopped here, as it obviously wouldn't be anonymous for everyone, but 1.) there have been previously-workshopped-at-Eratosphere finalists in every Sonnet Bake-off, ever, and 2.) few people here actually offer critiques on workshopped poems on a regular basis, so only a tiny percentage of Bake-off participants would have encountered it before, and 3.) I didn't mind rewarding those few with a little inside knowledge for contributing their time and talent to the workshop boards, and 4.) I workshopped it ages ago, so I figured that even if people remembered having seen a previous version before, they would have forgotten who the author was (as I did with "Desilu"--sorry, Simon!), and 5.) the non-linear approach of "X" is so different from my usual M.O. that I thought my identity would be pretty unguessable by most people who've seen my work.

Reason 5.) was the real clincher, as my other possible entries were on themes that are pretty well-trodden territory for me: diseased and dying children, rape, what's wrong with the Church I love, and other characteristically uncheerful "Julie" topics. This poem's depressing, too, but in a refreshingly new way (for me). Glad some of you liked it.

My thanks to all who entered and commented on the various finalists--I so appreciate others' insightful observations of things I haven't noticed!--and of course to Aaron and Alex.

Claudia Gary 10-29-2016 12:29 PM

Thank you, Julie-- but I think "X" is especially masterful.
One of my goals in a poem is to express and evoke emotion while keeping intellect on top (or, as I was going to say, at the helm). In this regard, your sonnet's understatement and restraint work wonderfully. And its narrative undercurrent plays a counterpoint to the overt list -- but that has already been discussed here.


Jayne Osborn 10-29-2016 12:47 PM

Well, I'm feeling especially smug, Julie and Claudia, because your poems were my 1st and 2nd votes - without knowing they were yours - and as I'm extremely fond of you both I feel even 'smugger'! :D


Claudia Gary 10-29-2016 12:50 PM

Aww, thank you, Jayne. The feeling is mutual!

Orwn Acra 10-29-2016 01:24 PM

Congratulations, Julie and others. And Aaron for picking ten interesting sonnets except the first one. And the entire voting system that landed a Turco in last place.

Mary Meriam 10-29-2016 01:27 PM

I've been thinking that "X" is a new twist on the sonnet form, which is quite an achievement, Julie. Brava, girl.

Jayne Osborn 10-29-2016 01:51 PM


Originally Posted by Michael Ferris (Post 381339)
I was hopelessly off track on Joshua, which makes sense since this is the first I've heard of him, but I'm glad I have.

Yes, I wondered about Joshua too, especially as his name doesn't show up on our members list.

Is Joshua a member here? I'm a bit puzzled.


Alex Pepple 10-29-2016 02:19 PM


Originally Posted by Jayne Osborn (Post 381359)
Yes, I wondered about Joshua too, especially as his name doesn't show up on our members list.

Is Joshua a member here? I'm a bit puzzled.


Jayne and others who've wondered, if you saw my final call-for-submissions update here and in a few other forums, you might figure out from whence Joshua came (and it's from the Able Muse mailing list, having entered the Able Muse Book Award contest a couple of years in a row, including the current one--results still pending!).


Jennifer Gordon 10-29-2016 07:54 PM

Well, my initial response was less than dignified, whence I've been mulling to no avail how to bring it up to snuff, and hang it was and still is:
Yahoo! The Ladies WON!!!
Three cheers and Congratulations to First Place winner Julie Steiner (erm, that makes my second congrats to her and that sonnet, methinks). Congratulations in Second Place to Susan McLean; and lastly but not least, Congratulations to Elise Hempel for taking Third Place. And I'll blow kisses to the rest of you lucky finalists, how's that? (don't let me catch you ducking).

Thank you also very much, Judge Chandler, for your kindness. I have a penchant, and do love you guys, though I never workshop my sonnetry and usually forget to pop my head in here to see what the rest of you are working on, kick me.

Thank you also to this year's Judge P. Aaron, I enjoyed your choices, and ahem, miswrote that final notice...I meant I envied you the gluttony of reading all those sonnets.

Thank you again, Alex, for this happy contest.

Here's to next year's Annual Sonnet Bake-Off...if only we could clink glasses over this...

Rhina P. Espaillat 10-29-2016 08:32 PM

Kudos to Julie, Susan and Elise! And yes, Aaron, I'm with Jayne on the "handsome."

Unfortunately by the time I went online to vote, the deadline was past, but I did enjoy reading all the entries. For what it's worth, I was going to vote 1)The Jitterbug; 2) Saturday Night in...; 3) Shall I Compare Thee...; but congratulations to all!

Dave East 10-30-2016 07:49 AM

Congratulations to Julie on her first place and well done to the other 9 finalists and better luck next time to the remaining 116 entrants. It would be nice to be able to read the unsuccessful submissions.


Alan Rain 10-30-2016 02:32 PM


Originally Posted by Dave East (Post 381413)
and better luck next time to the remaining 116 entrants. It would be nice to be able to read the unsuccessful submissions.


Yes, it would be interesting to have a 'sticky bottom' selection from the submissions. They could, of course, remain anonymous.

Aaron Poochigian 10-30-2016 03:18 PM

A number of posts on this thread have suggested giving members access to the 116 sonnets which I ranked below the top ten. I am fully open to that idea, and I would be curious to find out what other judges might have chosen for their top ten. A decision to open the file to all members would be Alex's, and he, far more experienced than I in administering contests, no doubt has sage reasons for keeping the other entries undisclosed.

That said, I should confess that I am an exceptional twenty-first-century person in that I do not believe quality and beauty in poetry (and in general) are nearly as "subjective" as is now almost universally assumed.

Tim Murphy 10-30-2016 04:13 PM

Aaron, one year I posted twelve, and after the vote concluded I posted my next best twelve. I do remember that I had 118 submissions, so like you I ploughed through a lot of sonnets.

Julie Steiner 10-30-2016 05:11 PM

If you ask the authors' specific permission to have their work included in a secondary celebration, and they give it, I have no problem. But from a copyright standpoint I really think they need to be asked first, because they only authorized the use of their work for the initial event.

I assume that many people may already have submitted their non-finalist poems to venues that take a dim view of things having previously appeared online. The workshop threads get pruned periodically, but the Bake-off threads are forever, so some venues do consider this "previous publication." Some sonneteers might be willing to risk that for a chance at being a finalist, but not willing to risk that for a somewhat lesser honor. (Especially if the final outcome of the secondary activity is their sonnet being passed over yet again!)

Claudia Gary 10-30-2016 06:02 PM

I agree with Julie. Personally, I was considering entry in another contest as Plan B if my sonnet hadn't been a finalist, and I'm sure others had the same idea.
(Is it true that the finalist sonnets are archived here for posterity? If so, then doesn't that mean the changes others have so generously suggested can't be made?)


Gregory Palmerino 10-30-2016 06:22 PM


Originally Posted by Poochigian Aaron (Post 381445)
I do not believe quality and beauty in poetry (and in general) are nearly as "subjective" as is now almost universally assumed.

You may be correct Aaron, but I did find it interesting that Gail White (who knows a thing or two about sonnets) thought that this year's finalists were some of the strongest that she's read in a long time in a Bake-off. Whereas Tim Murphy and others thought this year's finalists were overall weak. As I believe you said in a post, a different DG would have picked ten different sonnets. In any case, thank you for your fine work on this contest and for your good nature.

C'est la vie,

Siham Karami 10-30-2016 07:34 PM

Huge congrats to Julie (your fantastic and inventive sonnet was my first choice), Susan (your mastery of the form shows through), and Elise (excellent work with emotional impact—I remember voting for your winning sonnet last year)!! And huge thanks to Aaron (I had no idea!) and Alex on a successful and enjoyable bake-off.

As for the level of subjectivity, I think skill and beauty and emotional impact can be recognized on a more objective level than "choice," wherein the latter (emotional impact) can sway one's selection considerably. It was a hard choice to make really.

Alex Pepple 10-30-2016 10:30 PM

In response to the request from some members to post all 126 sonnets, I'm afraid that it's untenable. Discounting the onerous task of posting all of them here, there's the main roadblock that several non-finalists have communicated to me privately--in light of the latest discussions in this thread--that they don't want their sonnets posted, given that they've submitted them elsewhere for consideration for publication. Even without that, we can't post them here without first requesting for permission from all the authors, and then processing the responses that come back, etc.--which is yet another onerous task. So, sorry there are just too many issues that can't be resolved sufficiently to make that suggested/requested mass posting possible.


Mary McLean 10-31-2016 02:46 AM

Yup, as one of the ones who didn't make the cut, I'm happy to be encouraged to post it for critique on the metrical board but not to have it archived as part of the contest.

Paddy Raghunathan 11-07-2016 10:38 AM

I did vote for "X," so I am glad it won. I own two of Elise Hempel's books, but did not think of "The Jitterbug" as one of her better efforts. That said, I am happy for Elise.

Congratulations to the winners.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.