The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is flooded with poets of all kinds.
Serious, competitive poets are judged twice a year by the University of Texas-Pan American Press in Edinburg.
New Valley poets are often surprised to read “Most of the poetry we print is modern free verse.” So say the Poetry Guidelines for the RiverSedge, a journal of arts and literature at UT Pan American.
This confirms that rhyming words are no longer required, but can still be used. You can understand why, because rhyming words have been used for centuries by millions who copied love poems in school or college. Yet many older people and relatively few youngsters tend to use classic style for rhyming poetry to this day.
Now there are all sorts of new poetry to read at UT Pan American.
To understand modern poetry with few rhymes, remember what someone wrote: “Poetry should be foolishly simple, but divinely insightful.”
Some 41 poets qualified to reach the finals this year. There were also some contests for Prose, Art, and Photos.
Everyone who made the finals has their best poems published in the book. All these are well worth reading, and this wanna-be poet imagines he will write a memorable poem some day. Maybe it will happen, but don’t bet on it. Old sports writers rarely win at poetry.
Here is one of the strongest and most unusual poems this year, by Chet Taylor of McAllen, who had five poems accepted by the judges, more than anyone else. Most had one. They came with a few from some foreign nations and a surprising number of outsiders from many good poets from all over the U.S.
Taylor picked a short poem he has saved for next year, because all his five poems this year won something. Now he wants to show his new poem, “Lingering a Moment Longer.”
Here is the poem:
“A poem in the evening, just one,
Like a glass of red wine
With its taste of French summer coming
As expected, the second week in June,
Early enough to blend the tannins
With the sugars, for resonance is all.”
Anyone who wants to compete can enter. Perhaps this will help more Valley people hear about it.
Submission deadline for the Fall issue is Nov. 15 and poems can be sent to the University of Texas-Pan American Press, 1201 W. University Drive, Lamar Bldg., Room 9A, Edinburg, TX 78539-2999. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Two important people are retiring this Fall from RiverSedge, Mrs. Celia Trevino, after 25 years as editorial assistant and secretary, and Desirae Aguirre, after seven years as editor.