April's Poetry Contest Winner: Granddad

Posted by Cybil on April 1, 2018


Every month, Goodreads and the ¡POETRY! group host a poetry contest. It's a great way to discover and support the work of emerging poets. Join the ¡POETRY! group where you can vote to select the winning poem each month from among the finalists. Aspiring poets can also submit a poem for consideration.

Congratulations to Simon, who is our April winner with this poem:

Granddad

by Simon

Granddad was smelly but in a good way
Pipe tobacco and extra strong mints
He walked with a limp
Which grandma said he got in the war
But he said he got from grandma
Cuddling him too hard and they'd both laugh
But she'd look a bit sad at the same time
He was brilliant at mending punctures
And knowing the names of things
In walks through the garden
And in the nearby woods
Where he was rubbish at hide and seek
Often as he got older
He would play a game where
Very convincingly he'd pretend
Not to remember who we were
And so one by one
His memories melted away
Like the seaside summer icecreams
Which had run down his arms as a boy
Until one bathroom morning
Only an empty mirror stared back



Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael McKinney You can't be serious about this attempt at poetry by Simon. What presently passes for poetry would be laughed at in an earlier age when readers demanded a level of discipline and sincerity from writers. This moronic twaddle wouldn't pass the laugh test of a nine year old. The psychological meanderings of intellectual vagrants does not constitute poetry.


message 2: by Thomas (last edited Apr 01, 2018 07:38AM) (new)

Thomas The pretentious harrumphing of a 5-line critic can't be a serious attempt at evaluation. What passes today for internet "reviews" would be (and is being) laughed at in any age. This feeble tweet wouldn't pass muster in a treeful of sparrows. And a vacuous Micawberish sneer like "psychological meanderings of intellectual vagrants" has no conceivable meaning in prose, never mind poetry. Well done, Simon.


message 3: by Avinash (new)

Avinash Michael wrote: "You can't be serious about this attempt at poetry by Simon. What presently passes for poetry would be laughed at in an earlier age when readers demanded a level of discipline and sincerity from wri..."

Thank you! Someone had to say it. It isn't just this one month, it is the same drivel every month in this group. And it stands to reason that stuff like this wins over real poetry because the contest is community-based. For the same reason, the Fantastic Beasts screenplay won the fantasy award at Goodreads.


message 4: by Avinash (new)

Avinash Thomas wrote: "The pretentious harrumphing of a 5-line critic can't be a serious attempt at evaluation. What passes today for internet "reviews" would be (and is being) laughed at in any age. This feeble tweet wo..."

How is the hell is that statement 'Micawberish'?


message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael McKinney You probably have a point Thomas, in that my criticism was to harsh. Calling someone (either fictional or real) an intellectual vagrant is not a helpful contribution. I do publicly retract those particular words, however my opinion of the quality of the poem in question is unchanged.


message 6: by Breslin (new)

Breslin White Some poems are a list of groceries, and others talk about cigarettes. This one wistfully and energetically takes us through a series of thoughts that may or may not have been obviously similar until we saw them all in the poem. It draws together all these threads. Well done, Simon.


message 7: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Good one Goodreads! But my favorite will always be the Tinder like app one.


message 8: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Michael – A gracious response, thank you. And I'm sorry if my comment sounded more sarcastic than humourous (the proper intent). I fully respect your expression of opinion.


message 9: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Breslin wrote: "Some poems are a list of groceries, and others talk about cigarettes ..."
Indeed, and for effective use of modern banalities of experience and language, look no further than the great Philip Larkin: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad. /They may not mean to, but they do ... /But they were fucked up in their turn /By fools in old-style hats and coats .../And half at one another’s throats."


message 10: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Michael wrote: "You can't be serious about this attempt at poetry by Simon. What presently passes for poetry would be laughed at in an earlier age when readers demanded a level of discipline and sincerity from wri..."

GR always has a April Fools prank.


message 11: by Michael (new)

Michael McKinney All is well Thomas. I just watched a few minutes of the AHC channel telling the story of Stalin's rise to power in Russia and how he forced all artists, writers and thinkers to conform to his twisted conception of "the truth." It's easy to forget how valuable this website or any of the open forums are that we routinely use to express our opinions. What constitutes art, good writing or any of the expressive modes of cultural life in any society is always subject to change and the evolving tastes of its members.
When Michelangelo finished his colossal statue of David, it was slowly hauled through the streets to the place where it would be displayed and as it passed there were those who threw rocks at it.
All art must go through a period of public scrutiny and initial skepticism in an endless process of rigorous assessment and eventual acceptance. This forum is an obvious example. That being the case; I must keep in mind the sage words of Wayne Dyer listed in his 101 principles to live by. "It's more important to be kind than right."
I thank you for your courteous response Thomas. Michael Mckinney


message 12: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline D I totally appreciate poetry that briefly tells a story. Michael, it sounds like you think every poem as to be written with rhyming words at the end of each sentence. Have you ever read writings from Rumi? Or Haiku? This isn't 1922. It's 2018 and readers demand and appreciate 21st century writings. Well done, Simon.


message 13: by Ravenzy (new)

Ravenzy Poetry doesn't always have to be weaved with a web of artistic and rhythmic words. It doesn't have to be explicitly deep either. This poem is simple, yet it recounts an anecdote that manages to run deep through my mind as vivid images. Well done.


message 14: by Dana (new)

Dana Krystle There was a contest and I missed it ??!
damn it .....


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael McKinney Language has an innate power to move the human imagination.

Yes, I agree that poetry, very good poetry doesn't have to contain a rhythmic meter but when it is introduced it more strongly accents the natural cadence of the written lines. I know the world is big enough for both styles to be read and enjoyed. Rhyming words are not easy to match especially if the writer is striving to make his message as subtle as possible. A good poet should be able to write in both idioms. I guess it depends on how a person defines poetry; if it's loosely defined as any language that's evocative than many diary entries can be offered as poetry. Certainly the well written war letters of the Civil War would qualify as worthy. In my opinion this type of writing is prose and while good poetry may contain prose, it is more than prose alone. A higher level of linguistic skill is required to consistently write good poetry but again this is my opinion. All language conveys something; from communicating basic human needs to inspiring the human imagination to reach for things beyond itself. There is nothing quite as psychologically powerful as reading via written language the thoughts, ideas and inner emotional states of another human beings authored works.
I don't know what the public expects in 2018 in reference to assorted styles of writing but I would think that depth, quality and genuine sincerity in an author's work will always be preferred.


message 16: by GoldGato (new)

GoldGato This was a pleasant surprise on a lazy morning Sunday afternoon. I do not write poetry which explains why the Goodreads monthly poetry contest was unknown to me. So many wonderful poems, but the winner, Simon's Granddad, does indeed stand out for its clear portrayal of time. I also loved Greenland Shark by Matthew and, especially, We The People by Jan. And the sleek black dog with the vulgar leer who could have been an Italian in a previous life made Rover by Stephanie a fun read.


message 17: by Patti (new)

Patti Ashley Beautiful.


message 18: by Brielle (new)

Brielle this poem is so beautiful :) i really like it!


message 19: by alex (new)

alex i hope simon is a child :/


message 20: by Nick (new)

Nick Green Everson wrote: "Poetry is intended to be inspiring, thought provoking, emotionally moving, and memorable. Like this:
*
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen
*
Now, I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it ..."


Yeah the word "Hallelujah" repeated 17 times (I counted); really...ahum...."inspiring". NOT.


message 21: by alex (new)

alex Everson wrote: "Poetry is intended to be inspiring, thought provoking, emotionally moving, and memorable. Like this:
*
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen
*
Now, I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it ..."


booo, post famous blue raincoat


message 22: by Breslin (new)

Breslin White Everson, some of the best poetry nowadays has nothing to do with religion. That's where they shine, writing for the love of the art, which if played right makes money (although I believe I'm able to speak for poets when I say that we dislike playing it right), and not because they want to get a commission for writing about religion. Those days, when it was absolutely necessary to write about religion to make it good, are long gone.


message 23: by Breslin (new)

Breslin White Hi Everson, I don't celebrate Easter. What I notice about the song is that it's written for money... as every song is. Money is not a subsidiary concern, but the primary concern. This may explain why some of the lines are downright puzzling. It is also undeniably a religious song, which means many things, none of them too bright.


message 24: by Christian (last edited Apr 02, 2018 01:34AM) (new)

Christian Breslin wrote: "Hi Everson, I don't celebrate Easter. What I notice about the song is that it's written for money... as every song is. Money is not a subsidiary concern, but the primary concern. This may explain w..."

You don't know anything about this song, do you? Firstly, this song was not very popular when it first came out (his record label even refused to release it when he wrote it). It only became popular once one or a few artists started singing covers of it. Next, the song has been sung by over 300 different artists.

It's laughable that you say "it's written for money... as every song is". Can we say the same for books (including poetry books), movies... anything artistic? Saying something like this just puzzles me as there's literally no logic or explanation to it. It's even more puzzling that to many people, writing a song for money automatically means it can't be a good song. Furthermore, people seem to forget that artists sometimes use material they have written years ago when they didn't have a record label.

My interpretation (of the original song), the song deals with spirituality a bit. However, that's not everything that you can get from the song. It talks about love, sex, struggle with religion and God, struggle with human desires, human faults, etc. It's definitely a melancholic song (the original) and that's how Leonard Cohen sings it. The focus isn't on the religious part, it's on all of the other stuff, he uses bible stories and religious figurative language and imagery to express much of this. Assuming it wasn't "written for the love of the art" because it has spiritual imagery, etc. in it makes no sense imo.

Hallelujah is poetry. It takes more than a first or even second reading to understand everything it's trying to say (as with a lot of good poetry). Try studying it rather than automatically assuming it's bad because parts of it you find "downright puzzling". Much poetry can be puzzling ("anyone lived in a pretty how town" comes to mind). If you need help understanding the song, Genius has quite a bit of annotations for it. Some of these are likely just interpretations, but some contain explanations by Leonard Cohen.

[Edit] One more thing, actually. You say "It is also undeniably a religious song, which means many things, none of them too bright". Is this also the case for Michelangelo, picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Donatello, and all of the other artists who have done religious paintings? Or what about Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mahler, Beethoven, and all the other musicians who have done religious works? Again, laughable and puzzling indeed. Also, many of the works by these artists were made for money.

Regarding the lyrics posted above - those aren't necessarily all the lyrics. There are a few different versions by the author. Sometimes he includes some verses and takes out others, etc.


message 25: by Dana (new)

Dana Krystle Slytherpuff wrote: "Dana wrote: "There was a contest and I missed it ??!
damn it ....."

I believe that this was an April Fool's joke."


hahaha, I was serious I promise :P !


message 26: by Nick (new)

Nick Green Everson wrote: "Nick wrote: "Everson wrote: "Poetry is intended to be inspiring, thought provoking, emotionally moving, and memorable. Like this:
*
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen
*
Now, I've heard there was a secret cho..."


Well, I am half deaf - so thanks for your discrimination against disabilities. And no, I haven't heard the song because I don't listen to Bible-thumper music. Please dump your head in acid.


TheBohemianBookworm Gregory wrote: "Michael wrote: "You can't be serious about this attempt at poetry by Simon. What presently passes for poetry would be laughed at in an earlier age when readers demanded a level of discipline and si..."

I am sorry but I must agree. I do not wish to insult people but this is how I feel. I want to see a return to the poetry that so many people scoff at as old fashioned. Imho this is prose, not poetry, and arranging it in stanzas does not make it a poem.


TheBohemianBookworm Michael wrote: "Language has an innate power to move the human imagination.

Yes, I agree that poetry, very good poetry doesn't have to contain a rhythmic meter but when it is introduced it more strongly accents ..."


The last sentence of this paragraph is golden.


message 29: by Nick (new)

Nick Green Bump.


message 30: by Nadine (new)

Nadine When I finished this poem, I was moved by it and when a poem speaks to me, that's all I need. I think poetry is all in how one perceives it and enjoys it. To the readers, If the poetry doesn't fit your needs, then I am sure there are other sites that will benefit from your expertise and welcome it, rather than sitting here and putting down those that have put their heart and soul into their writing. Thanks Simon.


message 31: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Fiero interesting. Michaels original comment at least spurred a barrage of related comments, although i wish that at least some were kinder.
(we readers, and lovers of poetry, are not the enemy.)

while i think i understand michael's points, there is something , i think, that is very powerful about this poems "simplicity". is it from the eyes of a child? and the poem does work in the way , in a few simple lines, it catches, at least a bit, lives, loves, dementia, and passing.
one test i use (though not the best, i know) , is "can i write this?"

it's all cool. lets be kind, too, in our comments, including to each other.
we are not the enemy.
tom.


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael McKinney I have to agree with you Thomas and I do have some regret that my initial comment set this, or at least help to set this in motion. I noticed that Simon the originator of the poem did not jump into the fray. It shows a maturity and grace that I would be wise to learn from. My apologies to any that were offended.


message 33: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Fiero it's cool, michael.
you even got me to write here, for my first time...
the saddest thing (well maybe not the saddest), is that there is so much incredible stuff out there, and not enough time to explore..
and i just recently happened upon "slates audio book club", where these super cool (i think) literary folk discuss books, some of which i have read... (like ferrante, and atwood, roy, and yanagihara,) and its fun to hear their thoughts. and a million more i still need to read.

ciao.
be well.


message 34: by Richard (new)

Richard Lee In my time as a university teacher of Creative Writing, a poem such as this was called "Free Verse". I found it pleasingly well crafted, and very moving. And has a great turn at the end. I really liked it. Richard


message 35: by Richard (new)

Richard Lee Everson wrote: "Richard wrote: "In my time as a university teacher of Creative Writing, a poem such as this was called "Free Verse". I found it pleasingly well crafted, and very moving. And has a great turn at the..."

I taught in the States. Total of 13 years. Then went on to another career. See my books on Amazon, by Richard Lee Van Der Voort


message 36: by Richard (new)

Richard Lee Let me see... Yes, it will be the Best Poem in the opinion of the judges. And, readers will enjoy playing the "Comments" game.


message 37: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Fiero jeez, richard. you have 16 books published. very exceptional.

i have a question... how does one enter the poem of the month contest?
i have written a few , and am considering.
and you, dear everson, have lived in laguna beach. that must have been lovely (just visited dillon beach up the coast last week). dissent all you wish, everson. though constructive criticism might be more helpful, dissent and naysay away. its all cool.

ps: i just came upon "angle of repose" by wallace stegner, a gift from a very close friend. surprisingly cool novel.

ciao, bookclubbers.
tom


message 38: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Fiero and Nadine, of comment 35... very sweet, and i agree.


message 39: by Richard (new)

Richard Lee Everson wrote: "Richard wrote: "Let me see... Yes, it will be the Best Poem in the opinion of the judges. And, readers will enjoy playing the "Comments" game."And your thoughts on Trump are?"

I like the conjecture that President Trump may become the greatest president EVER! But, like others, I fear assassination before the end of the first term. Let us hope NOT. May he continue to serve effectively all two terms and retire in good health. The VP I believe is also very good.


message 40: by Richard (new)

Richard Lee Thomas wrote: "jeez, richard. you have 16 books published. very exceptional.

i have a question... how does one enter the poem of the month contest?
i have written a few , and am considering.
and you, dear everso..."


Thomas wrote: "jeez, richard. you have 16 books published. very exceptional.

i have a question... how does one enter the poem of the month contest?
i have written a few , and am considering.
and you, dear everso..."


Everson wrote: "Chris wrote: "Everson wrote: "Richard wrote: "Let me see... Yes, it will be the Best Poem in the opinion of the judges. And, readers will enjoy playing the "Comments" game."And your thoughts on Tru..."

When writing, I believe it is best to understand that it, the process of writing, is first for the writer's own personal development, and the good feeling or state of mind while in the act of writing. Publication, etc., is secondary. In any case, reader response is difficult to get. But then ALL our activity in life, I believe, is about our personal evolution.

Of my 16 books since 2005, many are short, only 100 pages or so. 4 or 5? full-length. All self-published on Amazon these past two years. I consider it a productive and pleasing way to finish my life.


message 41: by Marsha (new)

Marsha I thought it was an awesome poem. So touching in the end. The image of memories running down his arms is very close to heart.


message 42: by Diana (new)

Diana Thurbon I want to enter2 poems I have written (when l find out how) I used to write shorg stories for publication and contests but poetry just for me. l like these 2 poems of mine equally. One is "well writen" internal rhymes and so on. The other is simpler with shorter lines and of course end rhymes. Both emotional, both encourage visulisation. I,d love to see them compared. Of course there are great poets in both styles. Im probably not either. Anyway well done David. Your poem is simple but with depth and very visual. Sorry you had to read such uninformed criticism.


message 43: by Diana (new)

Diana Thurbon Sorry l mean Simon not David.


message 44: by Iris (new)

Iris Halbert Let me tell you


message 45: by Iris (new)

Iris Halbert My brother told me that how to change text size in windows 10 now i can do it now.


message 46: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 04, 2019 08:53AM) (new)

Anyone can pen low-grade verse like this. And anyone can praise it. It takes talent to see it for what it is: tripe! And it takes courage to say so!


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