One person I contacted to see if he wanted to participate in the Daily Poem Project final vote expressed skepticism about the idea of voting on poems, which should not be subject to such competition. Here's what I wrote in response:
A bit of history: the DPP game first started in a course called "Quality" two summers ago. The game fit well in the course, because it made the student and the teachers (a colleague and I) really think, in a practical way, about what literary quality is.
I did it again last summer when I was teaching a poetry seminar. It was a nice supplement to the course, and it made sure the students were reading LOTS of poetry and not just the poems assigned for the course. Some students even ended up writing about the PD poems!
This summer, it's a complement to a poetry and songwriting workshop. In that context, it's good to make sure the writers are reading a lot, and also looking at the work with a critical eye. And I thought it was fun to run a parallel vote on my blog.
So the larger purpose is not the end result, the "Poetry Idol" side of it, but the context in which it takes place, and the purpose it serves in that context.
That said, on my blog it is just a game, a way to approach poetry playfully.
I would add one further point now: when I submit my work for publication in magazines,
my poems are competing against the poems of other poets. The whole publication game is one big competition, since editors are deciding which poems are best, in two senses: the ones they think are the best, and the ones they like best.
In fact, all the poems under consideration for the Daily Poem Project are already at least triple winners of competitions: the poets decided to submit them for publication, editors (of journals or books) decided to publish them, and the folks at Poetry Daily chose them for the website. By the time we get to considering them for DPP, they have already beaten out vast number of other poems and shown that they can stand up to such a competition.
So at first, I defended the DPP against my friend's criticism by arguing that the pedagogical context justified the game. But now I would also defend it by saying that it is a minor extension of a vast "Poem Project" that sifts out the good from the bad. The DPP as a metaphor for ... canonization? :-)
Daily Poem final update: 20 votes have now been cast, and suddenly one poem is threatening to run away with the vote. But I won't say which one yet! And don't let that keep you from voting!