November Competition Winners 2013

‘Write a Soliloquy for a Dramatic Character in Blank Verse – up to 20 lines’

We were pleased to welcome our adjudicator Dr Mark Rutter, a lecturer at the University of Winchester. Mark is no stranger to the HWS: founder members might remember him as one of the ‘Three Poets at Work’ at the December 2011 meeting. As well as being a poet he is active as a visual artist and fiction writer, and also a member of the British Haiku Society and the Haiku Society of America.

Mark’s Adjudication:

1st Prize: Celia Livesey (Pseudonym Joanne Ward) Soliloquy of One of the Trolls from The Hobbit

‘I enjoyed the use of an unconventional, “unpoetic” voice in this poem. A lively and original poem.’

I could’ve been anyfink – yes I could,

There’s loads of jobs an’ fings at wot I’m good.

I could’ve been a chef; it’s not my fault

They don’t like stew with slugs and lots of salt.

I could’ve been Pri-minister, but then

I’d ’ave to learn to write and spell – an’ it’s

All very well, but with snot on my chin

My image was wrong – I’m not even thin!

It’s tasty though, snot is, so I don’t care,

But I’ve got a feelin’ that life ain’t fair.

I tried to be an astro-nut, they sent

Me into space, but the helmet gave me

Allergies – an’ bumps all over me face.

I could make it big on telly, but I’ve

Always bin too smelly – but trolls can dream.

Now rooted to the spot, and turned to stone,

Far from the Misty Mountains, far from home,

I curse that Bilbo Baggins, he really

Is to blame, for since the sunshine hit me

I’ve never been the same. An’ that’s a fact!

2nd Prize: Robert Brydges Lines from 1594

‘I liked the way the poem managed to pack in a great deal of literary history and speculation about authorship without sounding like an essay. The rhythm never becomes bogged down and sounds convincingly like a voice.’

Wm. Sh: Blank verse, you say? I’ve had a go. My lines

Plod carthorse-like uphill: ka-PLONK-ka-PLONK.

But Marlowe’s soared! We heard his Tamburlaine,

In High Astounding Terms, defy the gods!

(He went to Cambridge, Kit did – not like me).

He’d had a string of hits, then – odd, this was –

He asked to ghost some Histories in my name.

Of course I see it now: he’d always planned

To ‘die’ and go abroad! Well, can’t complain;

I take the credit, so I keep the cash.

His Muse was killed in Deptford though, and now

He’s mostly doing chick-lit – that and farce.

He’s gone from writing Faustus and The Jew

To The Comedy of Errors and The Shrew!

Love’s Labours Lost! I ask you! Poppycock.

The man has lost his mojo. So perhaps

The brand of ‘Shakespeare’ needs another ghost?

Like Thomas Kyd? Or better still – George Peele!

A butcher’s feast of vengeance, rape and blood;

Say –Titus, for a title? That’ll do.

3rd Prize: Gwen Hobbis Dionysus Ponders the Cuts

‘This just struck me as an original take on the subject of the cuts, both amusing and to the point.’

I would never have believed it. The government’s last decree

on austerity. It applies to us deities too. Cuts all round.

I, Dionysus, God of wine, how can I make cuts? See,

junkets, festivals, civilization, happy eternal youth,

perpetual raving and more. It’s here in my job description.

I scarcely can make merry on vin ordinaire or breakfast tea.

And then there’s Zeus with his mighty thunderous boilings,

and Poseidon too. Must he also curb his awesome rages?

Are their displays to be confined to blustery showers

and volcanoes which erupt in well controlled displays?

Ares, God of manly courage, war and bloodlust,

Will his tumult shrink to mere argument and fracas?

As for Apollo, God of archery and music, I trust he won’t be asked

to cope with only peashooter and maracas.

Pluto, God of this world’s hidden wealth, he should be aware

the underworld of darkness is at risk.

And Hera, Queen of marriage, women, childbirth, must reject

pressure to downsize to hasty assignations or one night stands.

And so Zeus, King of Gods, I hope he’ll tell them ‘Nuts, it’s mere mortals,

the little folk, they are the ones who always get the cuts.’


Highly Commended: Sally Russell Tom’s Turmoil

Highly Commended: Sally Russell Demise of a Family Man


The prizes were signed copies by Ros Barber of The Marlowe Papers, and a Certificate of Adjudication signed by Mark Rutter.


In Conclusion: Our thanks to Mark for his adjudication – very much appreciated by the winners, and to all our contestants, 19 competition entries received in all – a tremendous response.

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