Text Box: Humour Verse Winners First Quarter 2015

First: The Oysters' Revenge by Brian Allgar

Second: I Can’t Complain Or Still, Mustn’t Grumble, Eh? by Anthony Holmes

Third: Spoolchucker by Judgement Dave

 

Click on the titles to read the three winning poems.

 

Judge’s Report for the first (and final) quarter of the humour verse competition 2015 from Barbara Scott-Emmett

 

1st: The Oysters' Revenge

Top of this quarter’s list is The Oysters' Revenge which develops the story of the oyster feast in Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem The Walrus and the Carpenter. This time things don’t turn out so well for the Walrus and the Carpenter. Though the pair chomp and slurp with gusto they fall foul of the oysters and succumb to ‘maritime pollution’.

Following a similar rhyme-scheme to the original work, The Oysters' Revenge moves at a brisk pace and is faultless in its rhythm. I very much enjoyed the use of language in this piece, particularly the rhyming of ‘Rhenish’ with ‘greenish’ which inevitably makes the reader (this one anyway) say ‘grennish’ instead.  I also found myself putting on a silly voice (in my head) to mimic the “shrimp-like voice, but dafter” the oysters use when speaking. A work that can orchestrate the reading of itself is a gem indeed.

 

2nd: I Can’t Complain Or Still, Mustn’t Grumble, Eh?

In second place is I Can’t Complain Or Still, Mustn’t Grumble, Eh? The voice in this work is very distinctive and again encourages the reader to mimic the poem’s protagonist. Though written in a Cockney dialect it is easy to follow. Much of the fun comes from the way the words are spelled, for example, the use of ‘frob’ and ‘elf’ for throb and health. There are giggles aplenty here as we are taken through the litany of complaints and misunderstandings. The tone is conversational and the rhymes, though perfect, are unobstrusive. Another worthy winner.

 

3rd: Spoolchucker

Thirdly, I chose Spoolchucker for the way it mangles language while still being understandable. This poem tackles a problem of the technological age – the vagaries of spellcheckers and predictive text. The simple rhyming carries us through the poem as the words become more and more fractured and the reader is left to work out the meaning – which might be ruder than it looks.

 

As this is the last Humour Verse competition, I would like to make a couple of honourable mentions. The first is Telephone Belle written in the style of Hilaire Belloc which I enjoyed very much despite a misuse of the word disbursed instead of dispersed. The second is What’s The Best Poetry? (or Arguments For The Bestest-ever Poetic Form) a poem written in several different styles that was extremely clever but just didn’t make me laugh quite as much as the winners did.

 

Congratulations to the winners and well done to all those shortlisted. Also I would like to say thank you to all entrants to this and previous competitions; I have enjoyed reading the submissions whenever I have been in the judge’s seat. Last but by no means least, I have to thank Lorraine Mace for giving me the opportunity to be involved in the Flash 500 Humour Verse competition.

 

We have regularly received several hundred entries each quarter, so those making the long and short lists should feel very proud.

 

Shortlist in alphabetical order

 

Absurd Password by Susanna Clayson

Crumpets by Catherine Kemp

I Can’t Complain Or Still, Mustn’t Grumble, Eh? by Anthony Holmes

Off the Scale by Martin Parker

Racing Demons by Sylvia Fairley

Saying Yes by Catherine Kemp

Spoolchucker by Judgement Dave

Telephone Belle by Hazel Osmond

The Oysters' Revenge by Brian Allgar

What’s The Best Poetry? (or Arguments For The Bestest-ever Poetic Form) by Judgement Dave

 

Long list in alphabetical order

 

A Virgin's Tale by Liz Thompson

Absurd Password by Susanna Clayson

Are you sitting comfortably? By Esme Penrose

Baby Benefits by Helen Elliott

Bedtime Manoeuvres Or The Constant Battle by Anthony Holmes

Butter me up, baby... by Niki Pearson

Crack by Brian Allgar

Crumpets by Catherine Kemp

Elf 'n' Safety by Sylvia Fairley

Evening Class by John Wilkins

Great Expectations by John Andrew Nield

I Can’t Complain Or Still, Mustn’t Grumble, Eh? by Anthony Holmes

In Praise of Beards by Sylvia Fairley

New Year Resolution by Karen Hill

Off the Scale by Martin Parker

Racing Demons by Sylvia Fairley

Sales Fans from Sittingbourne by Martin Parker

Saying Yes by Catherine Kemp

Seaside Postcard by Christine Griffin

Size Matters by John Andrew Nield

Spoolchucker by Judgement Dave

Telephone Belle by Hazel Osmond

The Bare Necessities by Esme Penrose

The day Bill's Knob Fell Off or Never Drop a Clanger in Cyprus by Don Wells

The Fork of All Knowledge by Judgement Dave

The Oysters' Revenge by Brian Allgar

The Rise and Fall of the Trololo Man by Harriet Blake

Vocal Locals by Susanna Clayson

Walk On By by Patsy Goodsir

What’s The Best Poetry? (or Arguments For The Bestest-ever Poetic Form) by Judgement Dave