I Awards for
Tipsy Muse Poetry Contest
And the envelope
The current Tipsy
Muse Poetry Contest guidelines
Topic #1: A dramatic
monologue of not more than 32 lines, with an ascertainable
rhyme scheme and meter, in the voice of our own
Tipsy Muse. The monologue urges editors to publish
more light verse.
the envelope please...
Awards Speech from Topic #1 Judge, A. E. Stallings:
Goethe reminded us on his death bed, what the
world needs is more light. This excellent series
of contests seeks to remedy the situation, and
is already off to a bright start. Virtually all
of the entries had their pleasures, and there
were countless memorable lines, as, for instance,
"Show me Poseidon in a leaky faucet,"
"Snigger, chuckle, chortle," and the
brilliant couplet, "And those who follow
classical callings/ To comedy like A. E. Stallings."
(Indeed, this last poem should get some sort of
prize for dropping the most names of potential
contest judges, and Alex Pepple's to boot.)
the two front runners both contained references
to Euripides, not usually known for his punch
lines, (and whose wry sense of humor is such that
even cross-dressing is an instrument of destruction.)
Despite my not being entirely clear that the speaker
is indeed the Tipsy Muse, and DESPITE the questionable
Tipsy/ Pepsi rime, I feel I must award first prize
to the brilliant "The Blot of Mustard."
The surreal update of Dickens made me laugh out
loud on the first reading (the biggest guffaw
at the heretical "Agile Snooze"), and
giggle on subsequent ones. I should perhaps confess
here, though, to a soft spot for fourteeners.
there can be only one first place, and no second,
"Terspichore (Tipsy) Addresses the Poetry
Editors" is relegated to one of the Honorable
Mentions. Nonetheless, I feel the witty and polished
poet who rimed "wacky" and "Bacchae"
deserves a special accolade.
honorable mention to "For the Birds."
Darker and sharper than the other offerings, it
managed to include reference to all my favorite
bird poems, and the pun on Shelley's blithe spirit
is worth a champagne toast. And as we know, any
poem that contains the word "darkling"
is destined for the anthologies.
last honorable mention to "Tipsy the Terrible,"
with its delightful bawdiness, non-standard grammar,
and drunken meter. Or maybe just for the coinage
wish I had more honorable mentions to dispense,
as there were so many I enjoyed. Give yourselves
a round of applause! Or maybe a round of drinks
is in order.
The First Prize Winner ($200.00)
Editors: Last night a fearsome figure, arms akimbo,
came right up to my barstool, moaning, "Literary
wretched prison! Tippling poet, you must not refuse
to pass this damned soul's message to the staff
at Agile Snooze!"
something like that; it was hard to hear with
all the clanging
of chains he dragged behind him and my head already
I had just been toasting one who'd labored in
till suddenly, while editing his zine, he'd died
say he'd started meetings with a prayer: "Now
let us bore.")
And then I realized it was he, more lifeless than
fact, quite dead. So he was pretty hard to understand;
he wailed and gnashed his teeth to beat the Famous
quickly saw that he could make their artistry
and dragged him up onstage to join their Flute
With Chainsaw Suite.
as he gibbered on, I thought I heard some comic
Euripides, if I recall, or maybe Phyllis Diller—
"Food for thought won't last till dinner,
brilliant lines must fade,
all hubris dies, and laughter is the highest accolade."
by the way, what witless clump decided I was Tipsy
for merely adding thimblefuls to sweeten up my
anyhow, if you should doubt my story, heed this
make them laugh and you might even get them to
to visit Susan Vaughan's start page.
Addresses Poetry Editors New York, March 21, 2001
— by Christopher Wagner
by Christopher Wagner in Real Audio)
gentlemen, you’ve been neglecting my offices,
I’m visiting yours to exact some respect.
My lightness of touch is no license to scoff—as is
Often assumed by your humorless sect.
Truth that you’re after—not laughs—no, not you!
And spring water makes me a teeensy bit liquory—
But suppose—just suppose—that the world is askew—
Reflecting such worlds is a job for Terps[hic!]chore!
no!—you’re too sober for Nashes or Suesses—
You plug earnest ears as you dash by my grotto.
But the graver the muse is, the worse her abuses:
I’m merely tipsy—Erato is blotto!
argument’s hardly good form for immortals.
At least when addressing you mayflies below,
A goddess should never defend why she chortles:
One sends a murrain—that’s more comme il faut.
that leaves the question of how I should plague
What punishment fits your excessive sobriety?
Cold sores or crabs? Warts, acne or ague?
I’ve got it! I’ll give you each other’s society!
taking my cue from Euripides’ Bacchae
(Absurdity too will return when repressed),
I’ll tangle your metaphors, make them sound wacky.
I’ll bury some puns and explode them in jest.
odes will turn odious, villanelles, vile.
Your rondeaus will lumber like Tian Tian, the
I’ll dictate your love-songs in high legal style—
Your sonnets will channel George Bush memoranda.
your hero is dashing, your heroine siren-y,
Your meter will moo—maybe squeal like bad brakes—
And your epic will crash against bathos or irony.
I’ll make your verse light, by inspiring mistakes!
to visit Christopher Wagner's start page.
sounded like the perfect sinecure
(shove an idea at a poet and call it art)
has turned into a job I can’t endure;
it’s not a business for the light of heart.
quit—this midnight dreary busying
myself with weighty words is too much work . .
the wines—I mean the lines—too dizzying—
except that, now and then, there is one perk:
a bit of levity saves the day.
There are times when I say to the Raven: Flit!
yourself. Fly off. Windhover, flap away.
Skylark, take wing—though bird thou never wert—
with the darklings, Nightingale and Thrush;
I swap the hemlock for the eau-de-vie.
The poets, reeling, wonder, Who’s that lush?
And the pallid bust of Pallas envies me.
your pages, dyspeptic editors.
I’m teaching my sober clients how to play
and earning my wages slinging them light verse
inspired by blither spirits: Chardonnay.
to visit Deborah Warren's start page.
can amuse a Muse in her booze
who's feeling a little bit tiddily?
A writer who writes with a bit of a bite
and ends all his poems quite wittily.
what I desires for lighting my fires
is simply some verve in the verse.
For that's what arouses in this madam's houses
—a quatrain that's stiff but still terse.
the size is, the meter that rises
will please me while downing a glass.
Unbutton your humor and come to my room for
light rhythm that rouses a lass.
I'm not for hire I sure can inspire
by making your funnybone sizable.
and I'll haunt some editors by posing as creditors
till they publish poetry risible
all of you blokes who won't publish jokes
and Viagra's the drug of your choice:
don't be so uptight; make way for the light,
or you'll droop at the sound of my voice.
you snooze you will lose says this Muse.
The Terrible Tipsy has spoke:
Forget all that free-verse and just publish glee-verse
and prove that you CAN take a joke.
to visit Sharon Kourous' start page.
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