This competition, set in December 1930, is given special status by its judge – the redoubtable judge Naomi Royde-Smith, who is allowed to award one prize of three guineas for the first competition, and one of two for the second. This doubtless befits her status as the populariser of literary competitions in the Edwardian era.
38A allows 28 lines for one poem to be titled ‘Plain Thoughts about Parties’. As Royde-Smith notes, some of the competitors took ‘parties’ to mean jolly occasions, and others to mean ‘political parties’, and many sent in poems on each, to cover themselves. And then there was one who wrote about the Last Supper. Since 38B is connected with ‘Essay on Man’, the name ‘Pope’ seems to have popped into the cells of twenty competitors, who have therefore written in his style. But why, as Royde-Smith, would any judge want Popery (as it were) in both halves of the competition? The winner is James Hughes – an unusual, Gilbertian rhythm, using trios of rhymes.
38B asks for the first and last sentences of an ‘Essay on Man’. There are several commendations (yes, T.E. Casson gets a mention), but the winner of this really rather odd competition is C.B.M.Heywood with the following:
It’s such an odd thing to ask for! It seems to be an acceptable banality, but there you, it won two guineas.