Text Box: Humour Verse Winners Fourth Quarter 2013

First: On Watching a Re-run of Taggart by Jane Seabourne

Second: The Sum of Richard's Bones by Lynn Roberts

Third: Front of the Queue by Richard Barker

Click on the titles to read the three winning poems.

 

Judge’s Report for the fourth quarter of the humour verse competition 2013 from Barbara Scott-Emmett

 

This quarter’s selection of humorous verse was truly delightful. There were many excellent poems which were deserving of a place in the top three. As always, though, difficult decisions had to be made to whittle down the list.

 

1st: On Watching a Re-run of Taggart

This was an early choice. On the first reading it made me laugh from the very beginning of the poem. When subsequent readings still produced chuckles of delight, there was no doubt it had to be a contender. I like the way it starts in the middle of things, using the literary technique of in medias res, as if the poet is responding to someone else’s incorrect summing up of the plot in question. As we read on it becomes clear why such confusion may have arisen, the convolutions of the plot making us laugh both at the attempted explanations and at our recognition of them. I’m sure we’ve all seen tv programmes that left us in just such a bewildered state.

I enjoyed the way the poet steps out of the world of the programme by mentioning the actress by name. Though there is nothing inherently funny about Blythe Duff’s moniker, it takes on a humorous quality when used in this way. Humour is also injected by phrases such as ‘the parrot-loving hypnotherapist’ and ‘the haggis-boiler’s house’. It’s little details like this that make the whole verse amusing and a pleasure to read again and again.

 

2nd: The Sum of Richard’s Bones

Another early contender because of the originality of the subject matter. I don’t believe I’ve ever come across a verse about Richard III’s bones before. Indeed the topic is so new, said bones having only recently been discovered, this may well be the very first. So full marks for freshness of content.

This poem scored on others points as well, one of which being its rhyme scheme. The Sum of Richard’s Bones uses a mono-rhyme scheme, with a different rhyme for each verse until the last one, which reverts to the original rhyme. This makes for a more unusual and therefore more interesting rhythm throughout. Any verse that can avoid the usual tum te tum te tum rhythm is likely to be a big hit with me.

I also liked the cleverness of ‘what a boar’ (the white boar being, of course, Richard’s personal badge) and the use of words not often found in poetry, humorous or otherwise, for example: un-blue-placqued, disemparked, remonarched and suchlike. This inventive use of words adds a more subtle humour to the piece which is, to me, very pleasing.

 

3rd: Front of the Queue

What amused me about Front of the Queue was the way it led the reader on through a tale of woe only to hit us with a twist at the end. In some ways it follows a familiar pattern with its wry look at a situation many of us have no doubt been in and the gradual increase in tension as the frustration of the driver rises. It is, however, the surprise of the ending that gives this poem its edge and which made me laugh out loud.

The format is fresh, with a middle and an end rhyme to each line providing a varied rhythm and it employs an intelligent use of language. Also, a poem that is able to tie together Medusa, Agincourt and the Green Cross Code has to have a place in the top three.

Well done to all three winners and heartfelt commiserations to those short-listed who didn’t make the final cut. I enjoyed all the poems very much.

 

Shortlist in alphabetical order

 

Front of the Queue by Richard Barker

Mary had a Little Lamb by Adrian Shaw

Mature, gsoh, wltm … by Martin Parker

No Wi-Fi by Jenni Wyn Hyatt

On Watching a Re-run of Taggart by Jane Seabourne

Post-Haste by Sylvia Fairley

Strictly Come Dancing by Adrian Shaw

The Fall by Adrian Shaw

The Sum of Richard's Bones by Lynn Roberts

The Wrong Keys by Jackie Snowman

 

Long list in alphabetical order

 

A Piece of Cake by Norman Male

Age Concern by Graham Sherlock-Brown

Autocorrect – A Poem by Terri Smith

Care in the Community by Adrian Shaw

Christmas Wrapping by Jenni Wyn Hyatt

Coming Out of the Closet  by Caroline Sposto

Couch Fledgling by Victoria Raftery

Dear Santa by Jenny Neill

Forever Young by  Susanna Clayson

Front of the Queue by Richard Barker

Hard Times by Norman Male

His'n Hers Birthdays by  Susanna Clayson

I Love Spoonerisms by Norman Male

Mary had a Little Lamb by Adrian Shaw

Mature, gsoh, wltm … by Martin Parker

No Wi-Fi by Jenni Wyn Hyatt

On Watching a Re-run of Taggart by Jane Seabourne

Passion by Adrian Shaw

Post-Haste by Sylvia Fairley

Strictly Come Dancing by Adrian Shaw

Taking the Plunge by Martin Parker

The Candidate by Adrian Shaw

The Fall by Adrian Shaw

The Sum of Richard's Bones by Lynn Roberts

The Wrong Keys by Jackie Snowman