Feb 012011

Numéro Cinq contest judges are in high demand when it comes to picking winners in literary contests.


Entries for the First Annual Numéro Cinq Erasure Contest are officially closed. As usual with NC competitions, the adjudication now splits into two streams. While the ancient & sapient judges retire to their secret meeting place in a former ICBM missile bunker deep in the Adirondack Mountains to drink Talisker and read the entries, you, THE PEOPLE, or the GREAT UNWASHED (a phrase coined by, yes, Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford — was there ever a less prepossessing title chosen for a novel?), or the HOI POLLOI (from the Greek). yes, YOU! get to choose the People’s Choice winner.

This is always a joyful and entertaining aspect of the contest judging. You get to read the entries, comment and vote or vote with commentary or just comment on the generally high quality, the wit, the arrogance, and the intelligence of the entries.

The official entry list is here.

Read the entries, kick yourselves for not having entered this esteemed and wildly popular competition (if you didn’t), and place your votes in the comment box beneath this post.

You have one week (Feb 1 to midnight Feb 7) to place your votes!

Don’t forget to actually read the entries before voting!



Running Tally (Midnight Monday Feb 7)

Minnow Class

Chirag 2

Adult entries

Anna Maria Johnson 5

Sera Yu 1

Meg Harris (2nd entry) 1

Glenn Arnold 1

Dorothy Bendel 1

Vivian Dorsel 3

Natalia Sarkissian 8

Rich Farrell 1

Sarah Braud’s “I have laid down the rules…” 6

Sarah Seltzer 4

Lynne Quarmby 4

Marilyn McCabe 1

Erin Lee 1

Melissa Fisher 1

Sheila Stuewe 1

Ian Bodkin 1

Martin Balgach 1

Kim Aubrey 2

Timothy Cahill 1

Jean-Marie Jackson 1


  1. Great timing: the AWP Conference, then the Super Bowl next day, then the People’s Choice vote…

    Where’s Miss Massachusetts? Did they leave me out of the picture?

  2. There are some wonderful recent entries, but I’m sticking with Natalia’s

    You must, you must! I say,
    Make telling one another your Rule.
    Formed to this method
    Gives room to the Parts (disposed to Art)
    To Practice Lightness, Suppleness and Vigour.

    Act with a good Grace.
    Fear the Blade of disorder.
    Avoid Prudence.
    Demonstrate that Enterprise procures Quality.

    Opposed by Time, Counter to Time:
    His Parade.
    Serve Order. Give Light.

    …because she so elegantly escaped the constrictions of the original, and came out with those excellent, pure instructions: Serve order, give light.

  3. I have to put in a vote for Anna Maria’s erasure, partly because she went above and beyond the rest of us scanning her erasure and uploading–using technology beyond clicking cut, copy, and paste. But mainly, and more importantly when I read her piece I enjoyed how she was able to make such a coherent shift from the adversary of the wall in the beginning to that of time itself. And you have to love the use of red ink as a medium.

    • Thanks, Ian. I should be honest here and give partial technology credit to Doug for figuring out how to put the scanned pictures into the comment box.

  4. I’m voting for 4 (or 5)…who can count?
    Minnow Class…Chirag. Hands down winner.

    In the Adult category, I vote for the following:

    Sarah Braud’s “I have laid down the rules…”
    Sarah Seltzer’s “Craft lecture”
    Marilyn’s “Time used you, Man”
    Lynne Q’s “When you have some time w/ a scholar…”
    Erin’s “Us”

    Okay…6 votes. I liked the clarity of these…the way they were accessible.

  5. Although my inclination is to cast another lot for Anna Maria, due to her visually artistic presentation, I feel a need to spread the glory of NC People’s Choice accolades. So I’m going with Meg Harris (2nd entry), also for her lovely visual presentation, as well as her blue highlights and musical accompaniment:

    “…follow the situation changing, whether by plain time or first light.”

  6. Although it is unclear what her poem is about, I do like the rhythm of Vivian’s entry. My vote goes to “I have laid down.”

  7. So many delightful entries, how can I choose just one? But I must? “You must, you must! I say,” and so I must choose Natalia’s entry by that title. I like how she instructs the reader to “make telling one another your rule,” and then she follows her own advice by posting such stories on this blog that, yes, serve order and give Light.

    Also worthy of mention, for their pithiness and good sense–Sarah Seltzer’s short craft lecture and Sarah Braud’s “Rules”.
    And Melissa, what a dear piece, with such gem-like lines as “Being Little.”

  8. I’d like to pitch my second vote in with Steven & Anna Maria – I was totally delighted by Natalia’s entry.

  9. Tough choices, all. But I’m going with Glenn Arnold’s entry or D. Bender’s. Good stuff, those.

  10. My vote is Rich Farrell, in part because he being so difficult in his selection, above.

  11. Sarah’s ‘I have laid down the rules’ gets my vote.
    Fabulous, in my newbie opinion.

  12. So many great ones, it’s hard to choose. But after much thought, I’m casting my vote for Lynne Quarmby’s “Timely” entry.

  13. Wow, this is hard! I have to go with both Natalia’s “You Must! You Must! I Say” and Sarah B.’s second one (you know, the one that almost got disqualified for the numbers). I would apologize for splitting my vote, but you guys should be thanking me for not voting six ways like Rich.

  14. I vote for Miss Maine (she never wins).

    No, I vote for the lady in black, sitting.

    I vote for Miss Maine and the lady in black.

    • Wrong contest, wrong planet, wrong universe. R. Mutt is seriously disengaged from reality. The sort of person who always goes up the down escalator. We love him though. Sort of a mascot.

  15. I vote for my dear Natalia!

  16. Throwing in my vote for Sarah B’s “I have laid down the rules.”

  17. Casting votes for two categories: One for humor; One for arrogance.

    In the humor category, I go for Beebee’s (Sheila’s right?). She’s a lover, not a fighter.

    In arrogance, its a toss up for me between Sarah Seltzer (2nd semester student already giving a craft lecture, such a harvard grad thing to do) and Anna Maria Johnson with her showy offy move of the brick wall.

    Nicely done, ladies!

    • Sarah-
      Was it humorous? Or were you just feeling sorry for me. I had to cut out so many words since I can’t stay within the lines and I chewed off all the erasers from the tips of my pencils. I shouldn’t admit to it, but I flunked coloring and erasing in eighth grade.

  18. Such clever people. Geez. I am enjoying my attention deficits today and decided to vote for JM Jackson’s entry (and Timoth’s if you are taking 2nd votes – the original and Emily D. approach). I just liked ’em (the sound/pacing/word selections).

  19. Close call, but my vote goes to Sarah Braud’s second entry, “I Have Laid Down the Rules,” for its minimalist efficiency and sly humor.
    Second place: Natalia Sarkissian’s “You must, you must! I say.”
    I also admire Sarah Seltzer’s short craft lecture, and Anna Maria Johnson’s lovely brick wall.

  20. natalia and kim.

  21. The one that made my wife ask me what I was grinning about in front of the computer screen was Vivian’s I Have Laid Down, so I’m going with that.

  22. Oh wait. Damn, I’m in Central time.

    • No, that’s cool. They are still voting in California. Orange County is going for Vivian, but the north of the state is heavily favouring Natalia and Sarah.

      • There’s a whole lot of California out here between the OC and the north which you’d know if you ever came out here.

        • I was speaking synecdochically.

          Wait a sec. Is that a word?

          • Exactly how does this work? If midnight tonight keeps moving west, at what point does it stop being midnight tonight. How come we’re not just caught in an endless cycle of todayness. I mean if it just keeps moving west then in 24 hours it’ll be exactly the same time here as it is now. I don’t understand.

            Perhaps, sleep is in order.

          • Sadly, yes. Los Angeles County concedes.

  23. I think you are okay Brad. As far as I can tell the polls are still open on the West Coast. There’d be riots in the streets here in Vancouver if word got out that NC had a time zone bias happening.

  24. And Hawaii still has to vote.

  25. Watch out for hanging chads.

  26. I almost forgot to vote.

    Well, I’m going to have to go with Rich’s form of voting (I think it has something to do with the electoral process).

    1. Chirag’s for the minnow category
    2. Anna Maria’s redacted post
    3. Sera’s
    4. Martin’s
    5. Lynne’s

    Okay, it’s exactly midnight around here … time to stop …

  27. Sleep is definitely in order. I’ll watch the results on TV tomorrow morning.

  28. Oops…I think I missed the chance to vote. So many good entries–the ones I particularly remember are Jill’s and Anna Maria’s. Sorry to be so distracted. I am languishing in Central Time.

  29. I know it’s too late, but I want to vote anyway. I’ll sleep better tonight.

    I liked just about every entry, but I loved Marilyn’s:

    I warned you, Art,
    turn stout and you are out.

    Also Mary’s and Melissa’s.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.