Gerald Bullet offers entrants the chance to write a sonnet seeing Michael Drayton’s famous ‘Since there’s no help, then let us kiss and part’ (see here for the whole poem), from a woman’s point of view. He garners 72 entries, and the list of commendeds is colossal. It includes F.C.Burgess, whose poetry appears in the London Mercury at about the same time, but a whole host of regulars, including the strangely titled ‘Seacape II’ (who has yet to make a decent comeback), Noel Archer, Valimus, Arthur Oliver, Little Billee, Pibwob, E.W. Fordham, D.C.R. Francombe, Guy Innes, T.E. Casson, David Holland, Alfred Holland, Ian Cranna, N.B., Prudence, Hassall Pitman, William Bliss, Obispo, Hilary and Lester Ralph. The only really new name here is Hassall Pitman, and he seems to have written a couple of poem for The Windsor Magazine in 1929, but also (no date given) to have composed this:
A cynical sage with a kink,
Said, “Between thought and deed there’s a link.
When I think what I thought,
I don’t do as I ought,
So it’s best to do nought, and not think.”
Three prizes are given as the B competition is living on borrowed time, and there must surely have been a debate about dropping it. New Statesman and Nation was to be ruthless in this respect. So it’s two guineas to Alice Herbert, one to Marion Peacock, and a left-over half to Pedestrian, a word that (so today’s newspaper tells me) was invented by Wordsworth. (Alas, it is quite a pedestrian poem.)
Good to see Alice Herbert win – a regular entrant who rarely comes away with even half-a-guinea.
This is what the B competition should have been: a pithy comment (150-200 words) on the events of the week. That’s to say, a mirror of what the WR did in its opening pages. No dice. Over to Mr. Bullett: