Anthony Bertram firstly gives us a poem in the shape of a triangle or pyramid, which he ascribes to Drummond. There is more than one poet called Drummond, but I am going to hazard that this is a slightly modernised version of a poem by Shakespeare’s contemporary, William Drummond of Hawthornden. There is an article (as much about his being a bibliophile as a poet) about him here. Please let me know if you think I’m wrong. There is a nineteenth century Drummond who writes almost exclusively in dialect. There is a Brazilian concrete poet (the term ‘concrete poetry’ did not get used till the 1950s, although Apollinaire’s experiments with calligrammes in1915 were well-known – however, this poem, rather like George Herbert’s efforts, rhymes), but the Brazilian’s first collection did not appear until 1935. So I think it must be the earlier one. ‘Only the form need be imitated,’ says Bertram.
Since we already know that W. Hodgson Burnet likes anything that allows him to be visual, it’s no surprise that he’s the first honourable mention (ruled out regretfully because his entry did not rhyme) as well as Seacape, R. Mal (not a winner yet, but increasingly mentioned as a runner-up), H.C.M, Myra Verney, R.W.MacGoun, Henry Sharp – and, of course, running ‘close to prizewinners with the Pyramid of Cestius as his subject’ is T.E. Casson. Myra Verney, whose portrait can be seen here, was a well-known soprano, who died in the early 1990s, and whose life and career are commemorated by a recital prize. Her sister, Harriet Cohen, is famous not only as a singer, but as the mistress of Sir Arnold Bax, and also of Ramsay Macdonald; and as someone who put a huge effort into rescuing Jewish friends from Nazi Germany. R.W.Macgoun may be the reverend from Morningside, Edinburgh, whose daughter was a painter (but is more probably a son of his).
60B (where is the idea for this coming from?) asks for a four-line verse supposed written by (A.E.) Housman in a condemned murderer’s autograph book. Do condemned murderers have autograph books? Odd. Bertram also drops into the slightly schoolmasterly finger-wagging that a couple of other judges are prone to: ‘I did not ask for parody, but lines supposedly written by Mr. Housman. I think that we may therefore presume that he would not have employed whole lines out of his other poems, as many competitors do. I am afraid that some people do not know their Housman as well as they should …’ He’d like to give the prize to Guy Innes, but the rules forbid winning both contests, so he gives the prizes to two newcomers, Cumbrian and Mariamne (and not Marianne, as spelt):