A justice with grave justices shall sit;
He praise their wisdom, they admire his wit.
After the best part of five days deep immersion in the top 32 contenders for the 2011 NZPS Haiku Competition, I’ve finally got my order sorted.
I now know which poems will be Commended, and which will be Highly Commended. It’s the final decisions that are causing me a few conniptions – which of three contenders takes 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, and which of three more will take 4th and 5th, and the purely personal “best of the next” place (and be awarded a Highly Commended). I think I can make fairly convincing arguments for all six, but that doesn’t really help. I’m trying not to pay too much attention to things like ‘is this a similar subject to others in this group?’ And I’m trying very hard not to think about the inevitable response to my decisions – some people will be delighted, some will be horrified. That’s pretty much guaranteed, regardless of what I choose. But I can live with that. I just have a nagging voice in my head telling me that I’m not allowed to choose the one I like the most. Which is slightly stupid, given how much effort I’ve put in to weeding out poems with flaws, regardless of how much I personally liked them. And I’m pretty sure I’ve covered myself with the six final contenders – I would be willing to argue their merits in front of anyone. But … can I be sure that the one I personally like the most is, in fact, the worthiest?
And the answer to that, dear readers, is no.†