Friday, August 3, 2007

Poetry perspective

Sadly, the deadline for poetry submissions into Land Line Magazine’s poetry contest has passed, and I am left wondering what I will do with my mornings now that I won’t be greeted with mail or faxes from my “poetry peeps” left in my chair and inbox for me to find and read every morning. But what an amazing response we received from our Land Line readers – we received more than 500 entries since announcing the contest in our November 2006 issue, including many from children of truck drivers. In reading your poetry, I have come to respect what you do and the sacrifices you make out there on the road every day. Many of your poems made me laugh, including the poem one clever poet wrote using the catchy tune everyone seems to know – “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot (aka the “I like big butts” song). This guy’s poem started with the line, “I hate big bumps,” which I’m sure is true for many truck drivers out there, given the poor conditions of many of our nation’s highways. From truck drivers to wives of truck drivers to friends of truck drivers to children of truck drivers, you have all written on a different aspect of the trucking lifestyle. One of the more creative descriptions in the “occupation” section of the poetry entry form was from a guy who wrote and said he was a former trucker, but was temporarily “out of service due to personal problems.” After further investigation, it meant “temporarily incarcerated” after looking at the address on the envelope. That was one of the reasons I think we had the response we had – it allowed everyone who had something to say about trucking to enter. I feel I have gotten a glimpse into many of your lives through the poetry you submitted. Many of your poems were about the long hours you spend out on the road away from your families. I even transcribed poems for a couple of truck drivers who had great poems, but had a “hot load” and couldn’t stop to fax or e-mail them by the Aug. 1 deadline. I promise they are in the stack, too, ready to be judged. (But just for future reference, that was a one-time thing!) Many Land Line staffers helped sort, count or kept the fax machine “fed” with paper in order to get your poems to me. Until next time, be safe out there – and thanks for sharing your poems.