Text Box: Humour Verse Winners First Quarter 2014

First: Necromancer by Rob Mooney

Second: The Springtime of Our Discontent by Martin Parker

Third: Straight from the Horse's Mouth by Martin Parker

 

Click on the titles to read the three winning poems.

 

Judge’s Report for the first quarter of the humour verse competition 2014 from Barbara Scott-Emmett

Once again I've had the pleasant task of reading through a selection of humorous verses and as usual it has taken many re-readings to select the final three. Many of the poems in the shortlist were worthy of a place and as usual it had to come down to personal choice. My preference is for more gentle and intelligent humour. Wit and clever wordplay will always win with me over cruder humour, though I’m certainly not averse to innuendo.

Future contestants should note that ease of reading, proper scansion and clever rhyming will all help to give your poem the edge over others. Do make sure to check for errors – spelling and grammar are just as important in humorous verse as anywhere else.

It occurs to me that what stands out in these three winning poems is the evocation of character. We have a pompous and selfish Necromancer, a bloody-minded gardener and intransigent horse. Well done to all the winners for creating such interesting poetic protagonists.

Thank you also to the runners up for providing amusing reading matter – better luck next time!

 

1st: Necromancer

This stood out at the very first reading as a likely winner. The humour in this piece is of a more subtle kind and the kick is kept until the end with the mention of Nancy. 

At first the poem feels ponderous and serious but the use of strange language slowly builds the delight of the reader (this one anyway). The piling on of words such as  ensorcelled, theurgic, eldritch, cthonic etc produces a sense of ridiculous portentousness that leads the reader towards the point of the spell-casting which is the frivolous pleasing of the sorcerer's fiancée.

Each verse has a single rhyme and I particularly enjoyed the way 'penumbra' was part-rhymed with 'thunder' and 'tundra', and 'necromancy' with 'chancy' and 'fiancée. An excellent use of unusual words, rhyme scheme and subject matter.

 

2nd: The Springtime of Our Discontent

This was another one that made me laugh the first time I read it and continue to laugh at each subsequent reading.

The repetition of the word 'bloody' perfectly conveys the gardener's boredom and irritation and the sense of the pointlessness of the work is evident from the start. The character of the narrator is clearly shown from the first line and steadily builds up a picture of a grumpy, jaded and unwilling husband. I particularly liked the line 'Bloody knotweed bloody knotted' which seems to say all that needs to be said.

 

3rd: Straight from the Horse's Mouth

There were a couple of contenders for third place but in the end it had to be Straight from the Horse's Mouth because of its high-stepping pace. Though based on Hunter Trials by John Betjeman, this poem is not from the rider's point of view but from that of the ridden. The poem trots along nicely giving us the sense of a poor beleaguered horse putting on a fancy show while grumbling to itself and nurturing evil plans.

Though the rhyme scheme and rhythm are fairly straightforward, as in the original Betjeman poem, the writing is smooth and the verses can be read without the reader either stumbling or growing bored.

 

Shortlist in alphabetical order

 

A Message from the Palace by Sonya Pinto

Chronoclasm by Brian Allgar

Eden Chic by Mary Jones

Jack and Chill by Susanna Clayson

Necromancer by Rob Mooney

Observations on Underwear by Antonia Goss

Saddiction by Jenni Wyn Hyatt

Straight from the Horse's Mouth by Martin Parker

The Accountant – a Sad Tale of Unrequited Love by Deborah Jane Willimott

The Springtime of Our Discontent by Martin Parker

 

Long list in alphabetical order

 

A Message from the Palace by Sonya Pinto

A Tale of Two Titties by Tracy Davidson

Chronoclasm by Brian Allgar

Cleopatra by Mary Jones

Eden Chic by Mary Jones

Forty Years Ago by Susanna Clayson

Home Thoughts from a Broad by Adrian Shaw

Jack and Chill by Susanna Clayson

Man on his Head! by Samantha Trembaluk

My Writing Career by Elizabeth Tyrrell

Necromancer by Rob Mooney

Observations on Underwear by Antonia Goss

Radioactive by Andy Fawthrop

Saddiction by Jenni Wyn Hyatt

Seasonal Bleatings by Peter Wiseman

Shopping For a Conscience by Claire Baldry

Straight from the Horse's Mouth by Martin Parker

Ten by Elizabeth Devereaux

The Accountant – a Sad Tale of Unrequited Love by Deborah Jane Willimott

The On Button by Rob Mooney

The Secret History by John Whitworth

The Springtime of Our Discontent by Martin Parker

Too Many Cooks by Brian Allgar

Venus de Milo (on a Bad Day) by Michael Green

Where are the Shops of Yesteryear? by Brian Allgar