Investigation

Competitionrss

Londoner’s Diary

28 February 2015

In Competition No. 2886 you were invited to submit a Pepys’-eye view of modern life. Pepys’s candid and minutely observed diary entries hum with a seemingly inexhaustible lust for life… Read more

As you liken it

21 February 2015

In Competition No. 2885 you were invited to write a sonnet beginning ‘Shall I compare thee to a [trisyllable of your choice]’. A competitor emailed to ask if I’d meant… Read more

Hair brained

14 February 2015

In Competition No. 2884 you were invited to submit a poem in praise or dispraise of beards. The beard has been rehabilitated since the dark days of Mr Twit, Jimmy… Read more

Your problem solved

7 February 2015

In Competition No. 2883 you were invited to cast a well-known writer, living or dead, in the role of agony aunt or uncle and provide a problem of your invention… Read more

Election blues

31 January 2015

In Competition No. 2882 you were invited to submit a blues song written by a well-known politician contemplating the impending general election. The ghosts of Robert Johnson, B.B. King and… Read more

Lines on law

24 January 2015

In Competition No. 2881 you were invited to do as Carol Ann Duffy has done and provide an amusing poem about a piece of government legislation. The first line of… Read more

Hard sell

17 January 2015

In Competition No. 2880 you were invited to provide a publicity blurb for the Bible to sell it to a modern audience. Kieran Corcoran presents Jesus as a social media… Read more

Rehabilitation

10 January 2015

In Competition No. 2879 you were invited to follow in the footsteps of Hilary Mantel and provide a scene that shows a well-known villain from history or literature in an… Read more

New year haiku

3 January 2015

In Competition No. 2878 you were invited to submit a poem composed of three haikus that looks forward to the year ahead. The traditional Japanese haiku contains 17 syllables in… Read more

Season’s greetings

13 December 2014

In Competition No. 2877 you were invited to submit a Christmas round robin as it might have been written by a well-known fictional character. Most of the entries were bursting… Read more

It’s a rap

6 December 2014

In Competition No. 2876 you were invited to submit an example of an ill-advised foray by a poet laureate, past or present, into rap. Andrew Motion’s ‘rap’, written to mark… Read more

Verse Viagra

29 November 2014

In Competition No. 2875 you were invited to submit a poem about an unlikely aphrodisiac. Thanks are due to that legend of the comping world Stanley J. Sharpless, whose ‘In… Read more

Problem child

22 November 2014

In Competition No. 2874 you were invited to submit a scene written by a well-known children’s author of the past in which a character grapples with a 21st-century problem. Pamela… Read more

Concrete poem

15 November 2014

In Competition No. 2873 you were invited to submit a poem in praise or dispraise of a well-known building. It was a strong entry this week and Alanna Blake, Philip… Read more

Thanks but no thanks

8 November 2014

In Competition No. 2872 you were invited to submit an author’s acknowledgments page that contains subtle indications that no thanks at all are due to those mentioned. E.E. Cummings does… Read more

Two hander

1 November 2014

In Competition No. 2871 you were invited to submit a dialogue in verse between man and God. The tone of the discourse was far from cordial, ranging from boredom and… Read more

Autumn villanelle

25 October 2014

In Competition No. 2870 you were invited to submit an autumn villanelle. Stephen Fry likes villanelles. The form inspired him to write his book The Ode Less Travelled (subtitled Unlocking… Read more

Spooner verse

18 October 2014

In Competition No. 2869 you were invited to submit a poem on any theme as it might have been written by the diminutive, myopic warden of New College, Oxford Revd… Read more

Magic touch

11 October 2014

In Competition No. 2868 you were invited to take something mundane and filter it through the lens of magic realism. I have been meaning to set this comp since the… Read more

And another thing

4 October 2014

In Competition No. 2867 you were invited to add a final stanza to a well-known poem. Nicholas Stone imagined how Coleridge might have continued had it not been for the… Read more

Prose poem

27 September 2014

In Competition No. 2866 you were invited to pick a well-known poem and write a short story with the same title using the poem’s opening and closing lines to begin… Read more

Selfie

20 September 2014

In Competition No. 2865 you were invited to compose a poet’s elegy for him or herself. This challenge took you down a path trod by poor Chidiock Tichborne, who wrote… Read more

Hidden benefits

13 September 2014

In Competition No. 2864 you were invited to submit an imaginary feature from a newspaper’s health pages extolling the benefits to wellbeing of something traditionally thought to be bad for… Read more

Rhyme time

6 September 2014

In Competition No. 2863 you were invited to recast a well-known nursery rhyme in the style of a well-known author. The entry was evenly split between prose and poetry but… Read more

Dark thoughts

30 August 2014

In Competition No. 2862 you were invited to submit a poetic preview of when the lights go out. Submissions were impressively varied this week, and kept me thoroughly entertained. Honourable… Read more