« on: August 21, 2009, 07:28:59 PM »
Having read a bit more of what people have had to say, it seems like this is a more basic issue. The issue of whether we are going to take this competition thing seriously. On one end of it, poetry can't realistically be assigned a point value, and even "qualified" judges might score a good poem poorly or vice versa because of their own experience/perspective. Saying that one poem or poet is "better" than another implies a level of objectivity that just doesn't exist.
However, we also have to consider that competition has it's advantages. It drives people to produce better and better work, and to push their skills to the limit. If poetry slam was just a community of open mics, I don't think that the quality of the writing and the performance would be anywhere near as high.
So with the advantages and disadvantages of competition in mind, we have no choice, but to find some sort of middle ground. I think that randomly selected, unqualified judges is that middle ground. It still allows a competition, and forced the poets to improve themselves, even if for no other reason than to get a chance to perform again. But it also is inherently, and obviously unfair. After all, why does this person we bribed into judging get to say whether my poem is any good? What makes his opinion more important than anyone else? Nothing! It's not fair, and that's the point. Applying numbers to creative expression is inherently unfair, and if we are going to be unfair, then we might as well embrace it.