Friday, April 13, 2007

DPP2 results


This morning, the class voted on the poems and was of as many minds about them as the bloggers have been. The result: 12 votes, a three-way tie, and 3 votes each for:

11. C. D. Wright, "Dear night dear shade dear executioner"
12. Elizabeth Bradfield, "Industry"
13. Paul Zimmer, "Suck It Up"

Instead of a doing a run-off, I decided to have all three poems be accepted into the pool of finalists for the end of the term!

I voted for Zimmer's "Suck It Up," with Bradfield's "Industry" and Christopher Bakken's "Portrait Detail, with Pear" as close runners-up. Zimmer's poem perhaps snuck its way into my mind because it reminded me of J. M. Coetzee's novel Slow Man: it was as if I was reading about Coetzee's main character, Paul Rayment, watching a mediocre boxing match. On Bakken's poem, I fully agree with Don Brown's comment as to why he voted for that poem: "So Bakken wins for actually having a subject and rendering it well and just making us think about it in a way we might not otherwise. For me, poetry is all about 'as if' and Bakken writes 'as if' that portrait detail were simply waiting for a poem to notice it." As if the detail were waiting for a poem to notice it: a beautiful phrase, Don.

The bloggers (16 votes, Don among them) were also of many minds about this week's poems. When I talked to the class this morning, I had one result: a tie between Bakken and Zimmer. When I tallied up some late votes this evening, I had a different result: with four votes, the winner is Tom Sleigh's "Blueprint." Here again, I have to go with Don: it's too much in the "welcome in my head" genre for my taste. But it's the winner!

You can see the Week One results here. I'll be posting a call for votes for week three on Monday; in the meantime, of course, you can already the poems on Poetry Daily (the poems from April 9 to April 15).


SarahJane said...

The results are interesting. With the votes all over the place, it looks like Bakken, as a consistent 2nd (or 1st) place, should win.

Can you imagine what it's like when a number of editors are in charge of choosing poems for a journal? Taste is often way more important than solid judgement.


Andrew Shields said...

Actually, Bakken got no votes in the class. If we subtract one vote from Zimmer because I am voting both on the blog and in the class, the results are even more mixed:

Wright, Bradfield, Zimmer: 5 votes
Sleigh: 4 votes
Shuttle, Bakken: 3 votes
Schulman: 2 votes

This distribution of votes says something about the week's poems, I think. In fact, several people mentioned that choosing one poem was difficult not because there were several exciting ones to choose from this week, but because none of the poems excited them much.

But your observation is correct: journals probably work better when one editor has the final word.

Bruce Loebrich said...

I think SarahJane's comment is interesting beyond its implications for multiple editors in poetry journals.

I would think a Condorcet method like Ranked Pairs would work better than a Plurality voting system in determining which poems are actually preferred by the participants in the very type of survey being done here (obviously the rules have already been determined and voting has already started).

There are free services available for setting up these types of surveys online. The Condorcet Internet Voting Service and BallotBin are two examples.

This would not address the issue of taste versus solid judgment. For example, I suspect my subjective preferences have little to do with any objective measure of quality that could be used.

Andrew Shields said...

Wow, Bruce, that's fascinating stuff. I don't think I want to ask people to cast more than one vote, though! Keep it simple (not stupid, but so that I get more than just a couple votes).