Competition no. 208: results

Although the instructions are a little hard to understand, Ivor Brown sets the first competition explicitly designed to twit experimental poetry. I think it’s pretty obvious that parody would have been better, but the competition has only dipped its toe into parody so far (although it is moving that way). The target here, I think, is Eliot, but more than Eliot, poets like Marinetti and Louis Zukofsky (explicitly mentioned, although mis-spelt), as well as the Sitwells. You can read a good article about Zukofsky here, and there are examples of his work (he spent his whole life composing a poem called A) if you scroll to the bottom of the article and click the links.

Zukofsky

Louis Zukofsky

The competition is for a rhymed epigram on a very modern poet, who ‘having written what he believes to be totally cacophonous, unintelligible and unprintable’ finds himself praised as in the lyric tradition. It’s not very logical. A competitor who has been mentioned in dispatches, N.W. Hester, has his epigram quoted as best of the runners-up, who include Alice Herbert and also a Richard Thesiger (whom I believe to have been a civil servant, after the war in the Lord Chancellor’s department)

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But the winners, who have the two and a half guineas split equally between them, so that’s 17s 6d each, are Michael Holland, Brice, and (it seems like a while since he’s won) Pibwob.

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