This afternoon I have been invited to act as a judge for Poetry Slam under the banner of "Faith and Unbelief". My credentials are, I assume, being a minister type person and quite liking poetry. I do feel a bit of a fraud though... last year someone announced they had written a sonnet, and specifically such-and-such a type of sonnet... all I knew was that sonnets had 14 lines. Likewise I know that a Haiku is three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables, but not a lot else. Grade A for 'O' level English literature back in 1979 is a pretty poor qualification for this, I fear!
But what strikes me is that, whilst I remember almost nothing of their content, I still recall the themes and 'feel' of the pair of poems we awarded the prize to last year. A reflection on standing in a cliff top chapel and another on the birth of a first child.
I think that has to be my basis for judging... does the poem move in such a way that I will remember why I liked it in a year's time?
I will enjoy being there; I will still feel a fraud; I look forward to hearing people's work.