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The Tipsy Muse Hall of Light



Event II Awards for
The Tipsy Muse Poetry Contest
Summer 2001

Contest Judge:
Rhina P. Espaillat


The topic
And the envelope please...
The winners' circle
The current Tipsy Muse Poetry Contest guidelines



The Topic

Topic #2: A limerick about a famous philosopher engaging in an activity, whether lofty or mundane.

And the envelope please...
An (open) letter to the Editor from Topic #2 Judge, Rhina P. Espaillat  [p.s. to Tipsy - I think you're also noted.]

Dear Alex,

While the limerick may not become, henceforth, the preferred vehicle for philosophical writing, it is—and the winning entries will bear me out—good for what The Tipsy Muse likes best: laughter.

But before I name those winners, I want to thank you for offering me the opportunity to assign limericks, of all things, to the gifted, learned and witty bunch that congregates electronically at Able Muse, and then to read all of this delightful stuff they wrote in response! It’s been great fun, and also work—the kind of work I love—to go back to this philosopher and that in order to follow up some reference. The experience has made me wish that I knew more, remembered better, and were capable of the kind of irreverent wit that animates many of these entries.

The list of philosophers caught in mid-action for their allotted five lines apiece is impressive: from Parmenides to Buckminster Fuller, with stops through the centuries at such familiar names as Aquinas, Descartes, William of Ockham, Spinoza, Wittgenstein, Hume and Nietzsche (in a variety of spellings!) among others.

First Prize must go to “Less Than Angels,” whose author clearly has a gift for the telling detail that reveals character, as we say in creative writing class. He also has the chutzpah to rhyme “Aquinas” with “fine ass.” Anybody capable of such a rhyme is Numero Uno in my libro.

Second Prize goes to “I Think, Therefore...” for the dead-pan directness and simplicity with which it illustrates the thought of the philosopher in question. I like, also, the fact that this pivotal moment hinges on a hypothetical beer.

The following entries are worthy of praise and would have won laurels had there been more of those to distribute:

“Edmund Burke and Fanny Burney,” with the understanding that the judge is not liable for damages under any defamation-of-character suit brought by the Burke heirs.

“Zarathustra Said,” which should get the “2001 Ubermensch Award for Fearless Verbal Risk-Taking,” for ending with “quietzche.”

“Geodesic Rights,” for closing with a pun so shamelessly awful it goes all the way around to good. I considered splitting the “Ubermensch” prize between this poet and the one above.

“Stubble Trouble,” for the touching homeliness of the suspenders-down-before-the-bathroom-mirror situation, and the refreshing irrelevance of the punchline.

And finally, “A Rasher Bacon,” for the cool references to our own time and the lovely image of a Great Thinker going “all wrinkly.”

My congratulations to all, and again, my thanks to you, Alex, for encouraging all of this smart narushkeit!

Love, --Rhina

P.S. - All the entries noted above by our Distinguished Judge as 'worthy of praise' are also published here following the winning entries' -- The Tipsy Muse.

The Winners' Circle

The First Prize Winner ($200.00)
Gail White

Second Prize ($20.00)
Mary Unruh

Worthy of Praise
Terese Coe
Jim Hayes
Lessandra Grimley
Tony Hoffman
Peter Earsman


First Prize

Less Than Angels
By Gail White

The angelic doctor Aquinas
Was seldom afflicted with shyness.
He would drink beer and eat
Sausage rolls in the street,
And pinch any girl with a fine ass.

Click here to visit Gail White's start page. 


Second Prize

I Think, Therefore...
By Mary Unruh

A barkeep on the Rue de la Mer
asked Descartes if he'd like a fresh beer.
For a moment, he thought,
then he said, "I think not,"
and he disappeared into thin air.



Worthy of Praise

Edmund Burke and Fanny Burney
By Terese Coe

Edmund Burke tried to bite Fanny Burney
In the course of a tedious journey;
“You’re some piece of work!”
She said. “Call it a perk
He said, “Just don't call in an attorney.”



Worthy of Praise

Zarathustra Said
By Jim Hayes

The famous philosopher Nietzche
spent all his life trying to tietzche
Zarathustra said;
the thought in his head
was that real men didn't eat quietzche.

Click here to visit Jim Hayes' start page. 


Worthy of Praise

Geodesic Rights
By Lessandra Grimley

There was an old fellow named Bucky,
Who yearned for a round house in Truckee,
So he built a home,
And called it a dome,
Remarking, "Gee-oh-dees-is ducky!"



Worthy of Praise

Stubble Trouble
By Tony Hoffman

Said William of Ockham, “Suffice
it to say my invention can slice.
But though it may trim
conjecture and whim,
what I’d give for a can of Old Spice!”



Worthy of Praise

A Rasher Bacon
By Peter Earsman

Now Bacon once lay in the sun
(Thought tanning would be lots of fun.)
Unlike Christy Brinkly
His skin went all wrinkly.
We had him with eggs (and a bun.)


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