October 2013 Poetry Judge’s Report

THE entries are of a range of themes, lengths and rhyme schemes. To generalise, each pursues a line of humour, as required for the competition, and each has its internal there certainly is some humour. How does one select winners and runners-up from this fairly wide-ranging entry? First of all there is the quality of their humour. Is it really funny? Then one thinks of the humorous poetry of writers such as Edward Lear, Ogden Nash and ee cummings. One thinks also of Shakespeare’s line in Hamlet: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” In a competition of this sort, one surely then looks for the deft twist in a relatively brief

piece. Using these criteria, I arrive at the following rankings:

1. THOUGHTLESS, by A. Hubby. (This is grim humour but humour it is).

2. ST VALENTINE’S DAY MASCARA, by Maverick. (The title itself is funny).

3. THE WITCH AND THE WIZARD, by Quadriga. (This is nice off-beat treatment of a very traditional theme).

Highly Commended (i): THE MAGIC TREE, by Mariposa. (This neatly captures a feature of our suburban life).

Highly Commended (ii): PARADOX, by B. Eaton (This, as I say, broke the rules of entry but in an amusing way, to make itself legitimate).coherence.

Vocabulary, syntax and rhyme scheme produce clarity of meaning, even if that is deliberately hidden until towards the end. The rules of the competition exclude free verse, yet one entry (Paradox) briefly introduced free verse, deliberately and to some effect, to make the writer’s point, a diversion which is to my mind amusing and wholly forgivable.

Several entrants used as a vehicle the difficulties of composition, especially in poetry. While this is legitimate within the internal coherence of the poem itself, I have always found this approach (whether writing prose or poetry) limiting and self-defeating. It’s a bit like a pianist deliberately playing wrong notes and chords to demonstrate to his listeners how difficult it is to get it right.