the third-ever asinine poetry contest

asinine children's poetry

contest results!


Wow, we had quite a turnout for this contest. 10,000 entries! Okay, it was really slightly more than 23, but that's still impressive. And perhaps best of all: the winners got to go on Good Morning America (scroll down to read the interview). Even though Meatball Brown says he'd rather have done The View.

The rules were: ''Send unpublished bizarre/funny/strange poems about childhood and being a kid and/or poems for kids. A nonconformist nursery rhyme? A dysfunctional ditty? A conniving classic? Do your best. Be creative. Be therapeutic. Entries will be judged on originality and asininity.'' Last day for entries was October 15, 2002.

Editors Catty Marlboro, Richie Narvaez, Houghton Piker, and myself got together at Piker's house in Carroll Gardens. It took three nights, a case of Drambuie, and finally a box of mint tea to narrow the entries down to a digestable 12 finalists.

Then the list was turned over to a select group of volunteer judges (i.e., people with lots of love for asininity and a couple extra minutes on their hands): Lover Dudley, Elaine Tom, Spidalix, and Carlos Beltran (aka The Jackal).


  1. "Pieces of My Aunt, or My Aunt, in Pieces*" by Finny Deerfield ($75)
  2. "A Villanelle for Children*" by Meatball Brown ($50)
  3. "So There*" by Arthur Radley ($25)
  4. "Little Boy Blue*" by April Clinton
  5. "I, Child (A poem written in 26 seconds)*" by Adam Bulger
  6.  "Monsters and Destroyers*" by Robert McNamara
  7. "Two Asinine Kids Argue Over Who Is Stupid*" by Stephen Du Marais
  8. "Lava Days*" by Robert McNamara
  9. "Advice*" by Meatball Brown
  10.  "Other Night I Was Giggin'" by Casey
  11. "Hey Diddle Diddle*" by April Clinton
  12. "March of the Ding-A-Ling Robut*" by Robert McNamara

The honorable mentions were announced three per week over a four-week period, with the final prizewinners announced November 8. Why the big tease, the stretching out, the prolonged delay? Well, first of all to build suspense, but also, to earn enough interest off the entry fees to pay up the prize money — and buy me new shoes.

Scoll down to read about their prizewinners' appearance on Good Morning America.

For info on past contests and winners go here and here.

Thanks for playing, everyone,
Richard Cairo
asinine editor

interview with the contest poets

On November 8, 2002, the winning poets woke up bright and early to be interviewed by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. Here is a transcript of the segment.

DS: (In soft focus) And a little later on the program, how to make your own brioche, a review of the latest Harry Potter film, and President Bush's decision to dissolve the United Nations. With me today (smiling) are prizewinners for the much-anticipated asinine poetry prize. The highly contested, well, contest (laughs) is held every year at, which is on the Internet. The contest subject was children's poetry. Here with me today are the contest winners: Meatball Brown, Finny Deerfield, and Arthur Radley.
MB: (In sharp focus; camera pulls back) What did I win? A Porsche? Fuckin-A, I'm coming over to get it right now.
DS: (In soft focus; trying pensive look) So, you poets you, what inspired you to write your entries? Mr., uh, Meatball?
MB: A raw milk cheese I ate a few weeks ago before bedtime.
DS: (Looking alarmed) Oh my.
FD: I thought if I entered, Houghton Piker would return my calls.
DS: Didn't we all, sister. Is that gin you're pouring into your coffee?! Well, and you Mr. Radley?
AR: Ms. Deerfield showed me her poem ''Pieces of My Aunt,'' and I found it to be so enjoyable, well-done, and inspiring that I thought I'd try to come up with an entry as well. In other words, I feel like I'm in exceptionally good company. As for the content, when one of my children whines, it sometimes reminds me of how oddly comforting it is to whine in general. And then Mrs. Radley reminds me that I have a tendency to whine myself, on occasion. So I figured I'd whine in a poem. Oh — and I do like Charo.
DS: (Playing with her hair) What was it that Charo used to say, ''Sock it to me?'' (Singing) ''The Love Boat promises something for every one …'' Yeah, right! So, how does it feel to be a prizewinner? Ms. Deerfield?
FD: This award is my ticket to the late-night talk show circuit!
DS: Mr. Meatman?
MB: I cannot wait to be driving my new Porsche! I will, but that's only going to make me drive faster when I finally get behind the wheel. Maybe you should just give it to me now for safety's sake.
AR: It truly does not suck in the least.
DS: That's all the time we have. You guys are terrific. Any very quick advice for young asinine poets out there? Mr. Brownball?
MB: I don't have any advice for asinine anyones. But if you're a poet, and want to write in the asinine ouvre, never do any thinking above your own belly button. Now then, gimme the keys to my new Porsche.
FD: Poetry is a great way to say, ''Hey, It's All About Me!!'' There is no finer art for the truly self-absorbed. Bitterness, when applied correctly, can be profitable.
AR: Always write about what you know. That said, I'm off for another colon cleansing.
DS: (Smiling broadly) That sounds delightful. And now back to you, Charles.