Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: mischievous Valentine acrostics

In Competition No. 3335 you were invited to submit an acrostic poem for Valentine’s Day whose acrostic contains an unValentine-ish sentiment. The prize winners, printed below, pocket £20 apiece. Venus, darling, gorgeous snuggly-wuggly, Apple of my ever-loving eye,  Let me kiss you, squeeze you, honey-bunny,  Ever-treasured sugar, sweetie-pie, Nuzzle me, my gorgeous, hot stud muffin,

Spectator competition winners: poems about conspiracy theories

In Competition No. 3334 you were invited to submit a poem about conspiracy theories. Trawling the net for examples, I found, alongside the more familiar ones – a reptilian elite, JFK’s assassination, commie fluoridation – whispers of chemicals in the water to turn the frogs gay and that Finland is a myth. In a hotly

Spectator competition winners: Dylan Thomas changes his tune

In Competition No. 3332 you were invited to supply, in verse form, a retraction of beliefs previously believed in passionately. You weren’t obliged to step into the shoes of a real poet but many chose to and some smart, entertaining about-turns included Robert Schechter’s ‘Palinode on a Grecian Urn’: ‘Truth is beauty,’I said smugly,but lived

Festive villanelle

In Competition No. 3329 you were invited to submit a villanelle on a festive theme.    Artistry and variety abounded in a most enjoyable entry. Hats off, everyone, and thank you for your brilliance and versatility over the year. The winners below earn £30. Happy Christmas, one and all. It seems it was a century

Double time

In Competition No. 3328 you were invited to submit a poem on a topical theme in which the last two words of each line rhyme. Some competitors were unsure whetherI meant that the last two words in each line should rhyme with each other, or with the next line. I meant the former, but given

Spectator competition winners: Mrs Malaprop’s Julius Caesar

In Competition No. 3327 you were invited to submit a rough resumé of the plot of a Shakespeare play such as might have been attemptedby a well-known fictional character of your choice. Literary sleuths featured prominently in the entry, with Poirot, Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes all making eye-catching appearances. A commendation to George Simmers

Spectator competition winners: Bertie Wooster meets 007

In Competition No. 3325 you were invited to describe an encounter between Bertie Wooster and James Bond in the style of P.G. Wodehouse. The seed for this popular challenge was Ben Schott’s much-praised 2018 homage to P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the King of Clubs, in which Jeeves and Wooster enter into the world of international

Spectator competition: autumnal nonsense poems

In Competition No. 3324 you were in-vited to submit nonsense verse on an autumnal theme. W.J. Webster confessed that ‘sense kept breaking in’ to his entry, but the line between sense and nonsense is not always clear. As Anthony Burgess observed, in a review of Geoffrey Grigson’s Faber Anthology of Nonsense Verse, Mr Grigson ‘wisely

Spectator competition winners: finding love in unlikely locations

In Competition No. 3321 you were invited to provide a love scene from a novel set in a location that might not be considered conducive to romance. There was a distinctly scatological flavour to this week’s postbag. Rubbing shoulders with the abattoirs and morgues were sewage treatment plants and waste-contaminated waters. Adrian Fry’s description of

Spectator competition winners: Epicureanism vs Stoicism

In Competition No. 3320 you were invited to submit a poem extolling Epicureanism over Stoicism or the other way round. Stoicism is enjoying something of a revival, embraced by everyone from billionaire tech bros to self-help devotees. But Mary Beard is no fan of Marcus Aurelius and has said that she finds it ‘mystifying’ that

Spectator competition winners: pen portraits of Seamus Heaney

In Competition No. 3318 you were invited to provide a verse portrait of Seamus Heaney by any other poet, living or dead. This challenge marks the tenth anniversary, last month, of Heaney’s death. Once asked if anything in his work struck him as appropriate as an epitaph, the Nobel Laureate quoted from his translation of