At Dogfish Head we have always prided ourselves on our Off-Centered Ales for Off Centered people. As we have looked more and more at what we love to do, we have come to realize that we are, and have always been, much bigger than beer. In the spirit of revision we now refer to our offerings as Off-Centered Goodness for Off-Centered People. This idea of ours has deep roots in literature and comes from one of Sam’s favorite writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson. On the walls of all our locations is a quote from Emerson. It reads: “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore it if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” This comes from his essay “Self-Reliance”. This is where our Off-Centered Goodness is born from and it is something we strive towards every day in all we do. As a recovering English major like me, Sam has always found great inspiration in all art, so for Dogfish Head to sponsor such a robust and living poetry prize brings us great joy.
As the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize enters into its 16th year, we can’t help but take pause and give thanks to all of the writers who have poured their time, heart, and soul into the manuscripts that have been submitted. Without all of you, this prize would not exist.
Beer, like poetry, is a form of art. Countless hours are put into the planning, the crafting, and the delivery of the final product. That product is put out to the public to be interpreted as it will, to be scrutinized, to be held up, and we hope that it will inspire. While reaching for these lofty goals we fall short, but in falling short some of our greatest lessons are learned, and we come back to the table better for it ready to go again. So, if you are thinking your poetry is not good enough and don’t want to put in a submission then this is a call to action. Too many great writers sit on the sideline and don’t put themselves out there. Imagine if Sam didn’t brew 90 Minute IPA because he didn’t think people would like it. Imagine if Lawrence Ferlinghetti decided not to publish Howl by Allen Ginsberg. You don’t know the impact you will make until you put it out there. So please come with us on this journey in our exploration of goodness, and bring your great art to others. We will all be better for it.
Dogfish Head loves and supports the arts in all ways that we can because it contributes to the greater good. We hope to see your submissions by August 15th. We also hope to see you at the Dogfish Inn on December 8th when we announce the winner at our Poetry Reading at the Dogfish INN in Lewes.