R.M. Engelhardt

Metroland’s Readers’ Poll, March 8

An early harbinger of Spring, like that first crop of dandelions, is Metroland‘s Readers’ Poll, from Best Car Wash to Best Poet. After years of dumpster diving, bribery & computer hacking to find out the actual final tallies for Best Poet (Metroland just tells you who wins, not how many votes anyone gets), I decided to make my life easier & do something different this year.

Metroland’s Best Poet RM Engelhardt

But first — Metroland‘s Readers Poll Best Poets for 2012 are: Colin Halloran, RM Engelhardt & Gary Murrow. Engelhardt has been on Metroland‘s Readers Poll as Best Poet since the category was created, & deservedly so for not only reading his poems at the occasional open mic, but for years of hosting his own open mics throughout the community, currently at the UAG Gallery on the third Monday of the month.

So then who are the other 2? My personal theory of this poll is that one becomes Best Poet the way one becomes Best Pizza: get the most votes. There is no criteria other than getting everyone you know to vote for the candidate of choice. One does not even have to be a poet to win Best Poet, or even to have ever read a poem in any of the Capital District’s many poetry venues. I had planned for the last year to make this point, with the help of others in Albany’s art community, with Gary Murrow, but  Colin Halloran snuck in & stole my thunder.

I go to lots of poetry open mics in the area; you can know exactly where I’ve been simply by following this Blog. But I have never heard of, or heard, Colin Halloran at any of the venues here. I do not have a photo of him in the 15,000 plus photos I have of unknown poets. There may indeed be a poet “Colin Halloran,” & if so he’s got a lot of friends in the Capital District, or at least enough to muster up at 1 more vote than RM Engelhardt. But if he’s around here in April he can be one of the featured poets at AlbanyWordFest.

Now, as for Gary Murrow — who is he? He is no one, he does not exist, but was “born”, or at least his name was conjured up, last year after the Readers Poll came out, to prove my point about Best Pizza/Best Poet. His is a made-up name touted throughout the poetry & entertainment community solely for the purpose of getting in the Best Poet list on the Readers Poll. “Gary Murrow” may be on the Best Poet list, but he is not a poet, not even a person, he is just a name on a ballot. Want to be Best Poet? Don’t waste your time writing poetry, just get all your friends to vote for you.

& thank you Colin Halloran for doubly helping me to make this point.

Maybe next year I will make up a fictional pizza place to win Best Pizza!