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The Tipsy Muse Hall of Light



Event IV Awards for
The Tipsy Muse Poetry Contest
Winter 2001

Contest Judge:
A.M. Juster


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



The Topic

Topic #4: A misguided love sonnet.

And the envelope please...
Here' the award speech from Topic #4 Judge, A. M. Juster:

I know judges are expected to say how strong the competition was, but I truly enjoyed reading all—well, almost all—of these, and I convulsed in laughter at many that I will not even mention here. Thank you, Alex, for this opportunity.

My winner is the very last entry—"Setting The Record Straight" (perhaps a lesson to us all to keep editing until the very last moment!). I had hoped for clever takes on the open-textured "misguided", and this fine poem lived up to that expectation. The opening quatrain faithfully captures our crude everyday language in a way that poetry usually avoids, and then oh so lightly despairs about it with the droll "Quote. Unquote." that concludes the quatrain. The following lines play with the cliches of love in an amusing though not raucous way that lulls the reader into complacency and sets up the splendid punchline—a punchline that somehow evokes the sweet blindness of Shakespeare's genderbending comedies. (pause for applause)

The honorable mention cut was extremely tough, and with great reluctance I cut the two fine parodies—"When you are old" and "My Mistress' Size" (with its clever title and wonderfully whacky off-rhymes). I have lingering doubt about having made the right choice, if that makes the two affected poets feel any better.

All three honorable mentions are terrific poems. "Beauty and the Beast" uses the premise cleverly and yet to a purpose. Its language is fresh, and the command of meter was top-notch. The humorous yet haunting conclusion guaranteed recognition here.

"Ladies, Never Love A Campin' Man" overcame my sense of dread when I first read the title, and skillfully lampooned a common type that somehow managed to avoid lampooning until now. I particularly liked the rumpus/compass and prompt/swamped rhymes, and the multiple levels of play in "backseat hike".

Finally, the brave author of "Pasiphae to her friend Daedalus" took on my well-known bias that no one except the great Alicia Stallings should be writing poems about classical mythology. Again, there were some inspired rhymes (grunts/once; wheeled again/field again; upon us/Adonis), and the only blemish was that the magnificent couplet at the end of the octet somehat overshadowed the closing couplet.
Admirable, and highly publishable, work all around!!!


The Winners' Circle

The Grand Prize Winner ($100.00)

The Honorable Mentions ($10.00)
Gail White
Christopher Wagner


Grand Prize

Setting The Record Straight
By "nyctom"

Dear Jo: That poem I wrote, the one I slipped
under your door…you wrote me back a note
and said that I was full of shit. You ripped
it up and said I sucked. Quote. Unquote.

My meaning you misunderstood. But I
must set the record straight. It’s love I’m in

I’ve all the normal symptoms: I ache and sigh
and can’t sleep nights. I’m even growing thin

(well that’s not bad). It seems that love is like
the flu
but better. Hey, I’m just a guy
in love. And we never covered Love in Psych.
Who knew how fast it all could go awry?

My poem was true. I'll never love another...
But you should know
I wrote it for your brother.


Honorable Mention

Beauty and the Beast
By Gail White

I disliked children even as a child
those vexing, nattering, excluding things.
Animals, on the other hand, were mild
and tractable. I loved the tapered wings
of birds, the softness of the household cat,
the slender flanks and melting eyes of deer.
Animals need our tenderness. And that
is why imprisonment is pleasant here,
where the rough beast attends my every need
and only asked to see me twice a day.
I brush his coat and warm his bed and feed
him chocolate drops, and I'm content to stay.
He's kindly natured, though his face is grim.
He won't risk children who might look like him.

Click here to visit Gail White's start page. 


Honorable Mention

Ladies, Never Love A Campin' Man
By "Rachel"

The moment that I saw him pitch his tent
I knew he'd be my Sherpa; but his compass
had bumped its needle loose, I found. He meant
to take me to the highest mount for rumpus
atop the Rockies, but he headed south
instead of north northeast and got us swamped.
He told me if I'd only shut my mouth
and quit my backseat hike, he'd find a prompt
escape. Yeah right. The guy was so confused
he fell into the loo he thought he dug
ten miles ago. To drag him out, I used
my grapplehook to nab the stupid lug.
Ticked off, he took off through a maze of trees
and left me here, alone, with Lyme disease.



Honorable Mention

Pasiphaë to her friend Daedalus (Inventor of the Cow Suit)
By Christopher Wagner

Fresh from the sea, his muscles hard and glistening,
He seemed the perfect man: so beautiful,
So masculine--and yet adept at listening…
When you said, “Dear, he’s just a big, white bull,”
I thought “he’ll open up in time”—-and grunts
Were all the dialogue I longed for, once.
So I played Hathor. (I adored the leather,
But that’s no basis for a life together.)

We’ve called it off, but madness comes upon us:
I find my suit is on. I’m being wheeled again
(Feeling a fool) to wait upon that field again.
But then, I catch a whiff of my Adonis.
Hide becomes gooseflesh! Lost to shame, I moo!
(Oh Daedalus! why couldn’t I love you?)

Click here to visit Christopher Wagner's start page. 

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