Thursday, April 26, 2007

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be … Oh, Never Mind

As we await tonight’s announcement of the 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award winners, author Dylan Schaffer (Misdemeanor Man, I Right the Wrongs), who this year helped judge entries in the Best Novel category, has been kind enough to give us first crack at his poetic musings on the judging process:
Thoughts of an Edgars (Best Novel) Judge,
in the Form of 25 Haikus

Everyone has an
Opinion. But for better
Or worse, we decide.

To judge, to choose, to
Wake at three a.m. thinking:
Should I keep writing?

What makes a good book?
Maybe you have the answer.
If so, please call. Now.

Regrets, I’ve had a
Few, but then again to few ...
Well, more than a few.

One book was so bad,
And sold so well, I thought, geez,
Maybe I’ll write bad.

But then I obsessed
On that last adjective; ought
To be an adverb.

Seems to me the real
Geniuses are the ones whose
Books sell at Costco.

When I get there, I’m
Going to throw a party.
You’ll be invited.

Edgar judging rules
Are secret. But rest assured,
’Cause I’m a lawyer.

Once I saw Robert
Bork eat a tuna sandwich.
Which just goes to show,

I’m in a better
Position to judge if we
Were fair or not. Right?

And we were, we were.
The pay doesn’t exactly
Encourage big graft.

Anyway, we write.
So even if we are not
Harvard-trained chemists,

Or winners of the
National Book Award, we
Think we picked damn well.

Pardon me while I
Go make my lunch. That tuna
Reference caused hunger.

[One hour later]

The best thing about
Picking an Edgar winner:
So many good books.

The worst thing about
Picking an Edgar winner:
So many good books.

Seriously, it
Made me wonder what the hell
I’m doing writing.

I’m a much better
Cook than a novel writer.
Maybe Iron Chef

Will have me. Maybe
I could open a combo
Deli/launder mat.

In my humble view
My books should have been winners,
But for the others,

Which were much better.
I tell people I was on
The Edgar long list.

Anyway, some will
Complain and some will cheer us.
Then it’s back to work,

Writing, reading, more
Fighting the keyboard for the
Words, the damn words. But

Can you imagine?
Five hundred forty crime books?
Go on. I dare you.
By the way, Schaffer’s latest book is actually a memoir titled Life, Death & Bialys: A Father/Son Baking Story, which contains no out-and-out poetry at all.

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