Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Shakespeare on vaping

In Competition No. 3304, you were invited to submit Shakespeare’s reflections on a pressing issue of your choice. In BBC Radio Four’s Taking Issue With Shakespeare, which prompted this task, Michael Gove discusses levelling up with reference to King Lear, Will Self reflects on toxic masculinity in Hamlet, and Gordon Brown draws parallels between a

Spectator competition winners: a liquid lunch with Dante

In Competition No. 3300, you were invited to describe in verse a meal of your choice with a well-known poet, living or dead.  The entry was a whopper, with too many star performers to name individually. Hats off, all round. The winners, which include David Silverman’s account of going on a bender with Dante, take

Spectator Competition Winners: haiku book reviews

In Competition No. 3298, you were invited to provide a book review in three haiku. When I saw that the unofficial poet laureate of Twitter Brian Bilston had tweeted some haiku book reviews, I thought I’d challenge you to do something along the same lines. The traditional Japanese haiku is a snapshot of a moment

Spectator competition winners: poems with multisyllabic rhyme words

In Competition No. 3296, you were invited to provide a poem whose rhyme words are all at least three syllables. You riffed off W.S. Gilbert, Wordsworth and Dylan Thomas,among others, in limericks, double dactyls and villanelles, about subjects ranging from Gary Lineker to sex dolls. Philip Roe, Barbara Jones and Chris Ramsey shone, but the winners

Spectator competition winners: odes to unglamorous vegetables

In Competition No. 3294, you were invited to provide the first 16 lines of an ode to a turnip or another similarly unglamorous vegetable. This assignment was prompted, of course, by Thérèse Coffey’s suggestion that we respond to shortages in salad vegetables by embracing the turnip. But I also had in mind the wonderful odes

Spectator competition winners: poems for Betty Boothroyd

In Competition No. 3292, you were invited  to provide a poem to mark the death of Betty Boothroyd. The formidable Lady Boothroyd – the Guardian obituarist’s description of her exuding ‘warmth and wit’ and ‘a whiff of glamour’ was spot-on – brought out the best in you. There were neat acrostics from David Silverman and

Spectator competition winners: the Lord’s Prayer as a sonnet

In Competition No. 3290, you were invited to recast the Lord’s Prayer as a sonnet. The late Frank Kermode reckoned that any schoolboy can write a sonnet, but this challenge was a deceptively simple one; as Nick MacKinnon observed: ‘the Lord’s Prayer is very efficient’. Nonetheless, it drew a large and witty haul, in which

Spectator competition winners: toe-curling Valentine poems

In Competition No. 3286, you were invited to submit a toe-curling Valentine poem to Harry, or to the love object of your choice. Meghan and her frightful poems were the inspiration for this assignment but perhaps we should cut her some slack; as Carol Ann Duffy has said, love poetry is the hardest to write.