2015 April PAD Challenge: Poet Laureate

As mentioned with yesterday’s prompt, the 2015 April PAD Challenge list of winners is finally complete. Check them out here.

However, the purpose of this post is to unveil the current Poetic Asides Poet Laureate!

2015 April PAD Challenge: Poet Laureate

Actually, I’m going with the Poets Laureate this year: Nancy Posey and Jane Shlensky!

There are a few reasons why I chose them:

  • Both poets combined to write five of the winning poems.
  • Both poets helped screen poems for the challenge.
  • Both poets share encouragement and advice with other poets on this blog and on social media sites.
  • Both poets hosted the first ever Poetic Asides face-to-face poetry event.

When I think of a Poet Laureate, I think of someone who combines exceptional poetry writing while being an advocate for poetry and other poets. In both cases, I think Nancy and Jane are wonderful examples of who should be considered a Poet Laureate.

Please join me in congratulating Nancy and Jane on an excellent effort to write and help promote poetry!


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A Few Other Notes

I still remember the night before the first April PAD Challenge on March 31 and talking with Tammy, who I would marry later in the year. I remember wanting to do something to encourage people to write poetry and wondering if anyone would even participate. Of course, people did, and it’s only continued to grow.

The turnaround on the winning poems this year took much longer than anyone expected or wanted, especially me. There are many reasons (or excuses) why it took longer, but the main thing is that I tried a new process that proved not to work out the way I expected. So I accept full responsibility for the delay and apologize. The 2016 April PAD Challenge (yes, there will be one) will have a better process and turnaround.

Also, I’ve noticed (and I know this happens every year) some poets on the blog and on social media who’ve expressed angst over not being selected as a winner or finalist in this year’s challenge. As a poet who is often rejected myself, I just want to remind everyone of two things: 1. Judging poems is a super subjective process (and meant to raise poets up, not tear them down); and 2. There were hundreds of poets (nearly 900 poets, in fact) who participated in this challenge on some, if not all, days.

The process of crafting poems should always be the main thing, and any awards or acceptances should come after. In other words, whether I win or lose, there’s still another poem to write. And that’s what keeps me going. I hope it keeps you going too.

Thank you to everyone who made it through last April, and I hope to see you again this April!


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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31 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Poet Laureate

  1. KarenAWK1

    Congratulations to both of you, Nancy and Jane! Although I don’t know either of you, I am privileged to be in your company of poets!

    I look forward to receiving my 2015 April PAD ordered book! (Is there a projected release date yet just to have an idea to be on the lookout in the mail?)

    I also look forward to 2016’s April PAD challenge. And hope to be more involved with the weekly challenges too.

    Still very new to this process, can anyone share their expertise with me on contests and submissions? When a contest or submission specifically indicates ‘no published poems/stories allowed to be submitted…’ does this mean that any of my poems that I post on websites such as this, WD Poetic Asides are not eligible to submit since they are published publicly? I appreciate any thoughts on this! I’m learning my way around this writing and poetry world baby step by baby step!!

    Again, Congrats to all of the April 2015 PAD winners and to Jane and Nancy! And thank you, Robert, for this opportunity to motivate the poet inside of me!

  2. LCaramanna

    Congratulations, Jane and Nancy! Your wonderful poems and outstanding participation in the challenges make you both most deserving of this honor.
    Thank you, Robert, for the PAD Challenges – from year one to 2015 and beyond. I use this blog as a place to post my words, read the poems of others, be inspired, and encouraged to write on. I appreciate the time and effort Robert puts into his work. I look forward to April and the poems that will burst forth from under the winter snow and blossom in the sunshine of spring.

  3. Nancy J

    Congratulations, Jane and Nancy! I always enjoy your wonderful poems. You comment kindly and genuinely on so many of our poems, you inspire us to write on. You both deserve this honor.

  4. lsteadly

    Congratulations Jane and Nancy! What a perfect choice made by Robert. The two of you are truly an inspiration, and indeed wonderful teachers, for i have learned so much by reading the beautiful poems you each create. And Robert, thank you again for hosting the challenge. The opportunity to share words with so many poets is such an incredible experience. I am so looking forward to a new round in April!

  5. dandelionwine

    Congratulations, Nancy and Jane! We all plant poems here, but you two wear the beautiful wide brimmed hats and tend the garden with such sincerity and insight. Right about now we’re all perusing the seed catalog for April. Here’s to another prolific season!

  6. Marie Elena

    There could not have been a more perfect choice! Congratulations you two! “Well deserved” is an understatement. 🙂 The only thing that would make this announcement even more satisfying would be to see Jane’s smiling face along with Nancy’s.


  7. TB3

    Congratulations Nancy and Jane. Looking forward to seeing all poets, not just the popular, afforded the opportunity to blossom and be recognized on this blog and beyond.

    1. Marie Elena

      I see that as the beauty of Robert’s poetry blog and challenges. This is already, by nature, a place for all of us to be recognized and to blossom. That’s the intent and, in my way of thinking, the beauty of this space. How amazing is it that there is a place literally at my fingertips where I can read, appreciate, and interact with approximately 900 poets? Not to mention that those 900 can view and comment on my humble offerings, if they choose. AND that all of us out here had the opportunity for our poems to be seen and judged by poets who are recognized in the field?

      Thank you again, Robert. The time and effort you put into encouraging us and making this work is very much recognized and appreciated.

      Marie Elena

  8. Jane Shlensky

    Friends, I have no idea what became of my comment. Perhaps I waxed poetic ;). Anyway, it suggested that it will take two to equal the one fabulous Bill Preston, expressed thanks and amazement, and reminded you all to submit to the Well-Versed Reader by February 20. For further information and questions, go to http://www.wellversedreader.blogspot.com. The note said my comment is awaiting moderation. I don’t have an ounce of the stuff. Love to you all and thanks, Robert.

  9. Nurit Israeli

    A wonderful choice of a remarkable duo! Congratulations, Nancy and Jane! I admire your creative minds, poetic talent, generosity of spirit, and very special friendship. Looking forward to seeing a dream team in action…

  10. Michelle Hed

    When I was wondering yesterday who you were going to pick for Poet Laureate two names popped into my head – Nancy and Jane. I thought wow that’s a hard choice. They are both such excellent writers. 🙂

    So, great choice Robert! Congratulations Nancy and Jane! So happy for you both.

  11. Nancy Posey

    I’m just blown away. Nothing could be better than sharing this with my friend Jane. I assure you, we are more pleased than if the governor himself had picked us (and anyone from North Carolina will get that little joke). Is this a good time to mention that we are close to picking time and place for next year’s Fall Face-to-Face in the Foothills? We want to meet all of you! Thanks, Robert!

  12. Sasha A. Palmer

    Nancy and Jane are different poets, with distinctive poetic voices.
    I cannot help thinking though, about this wonderful poet “Nancy Posey and Jane Shlensky” — so happy she was chosen as a poet laureate.

    Congrats, Nancy and Jane!

    Robert, thank you for the Poem-A-Day challenges. Here’s to many more Aprils and Novembers!

  13. De Jackson

    So much YAY to this! 🙂 I have admired Jane and Nancy’s work for many years, as well as felt myself lifted up in their encouragement. Reading both of them makes me a better poet. CONGRATULATIONS, Jane and Nancy. You’re a poetical dream team!

    And Robert, thank you again for ALL you do. 2009 was my first April PAD, and I plan to be around for as many of ’em as you choose to lead.

    Poeming on, with admiration and gratitude.


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