Food & Drink

the fourth asinine poetry contest:

food & drink


Buongiorno! The food and drink contest was a delicious success. Deee-lish! The amount of entries (more than seven, less than 7,000) and entrants (more than two, less than 2,568) was impressive, a smorgasbord of asininity.

Poets were asked to send in unpublished poems concerning things yummy, tasty, gustatory, fattening, non-fattening, organic, greasy, salty, sweet, baked, tossed, carmelized, deep fried, braised, poached, delish, and/or smooth, quenching, hits-the-spot, refreshing, heady, microbrewed, iced, chilled, carbonated, poured, mixed, blended, shaken-not-stirred, bacchanalian. In other words, about food and drink. Last day for entries was April 15, 2003.

Despite the call for food AND drink poems, most of the entries were about food. Perhaps ''drink'' is perceived separately and should be another contest altogether — something like ''Cocktails, Coladas, and Coolers.'' Aaaaaanyway, no one did an ode to mint juleps, which just means I will have to someday. Ah, the mint julep . . .

The many entries were whittled down to a top twelve by the asinine editorial staff, including Richard Cairo, Catty Marlboro, V.S. Frimmit, and yours truly.

Specially invited guest judges were then chosen: Scott Barwick, April Clinton, Finny Deerfield, i am water, Paul Ling, and Grace Ventura. Holed up in an IHOP booth in southern Brooklyn, the judges read and re-read the finalist entries, out loud and increasingly louder as they sipped at bottomless coffee urn, annoying even the stalwart truck drivers who just wanted to eat in peace. At last, the votes came in, the truckers were content, and the judges left, a bit shaky and covered in strawberry syrup.

And the main course of prizewinners:
"Pottage Canticles 1 and 2*" by Jim Tyack ($50)
"It Goes Back*" by Arthur Radley ($25)
"On My Day Off*" by Ray Freed ($15)

And the following deserve honorable mention:
"Spam Myth" by Jim Tyack
"Delovely" by Arthur Radley
"The Cannibals" by Vernon E. Krieber
"Paper Is A Poet's Best Friend" by ern modern
"Eggs Bad" by P-Woody
"Down Aisle Three" by ern modern
"Lost Marbles No More" by Aaron Earl Short
"Road Kill Stew" by Vernon E. Krieber
"Alcohol: What a Wonderful Thing" by Pam 99

One of the best things about our contests is how many new poets get suckered, I mean, brought into the fold. Several newbies filled our first course of honorable mentions. New to the site, poet Pam 99 tells the truth about the veritas vice in ''Alcohol: What a Wonderful Thing.'' Judge Finny Deerfield called the poem ''charming and fun'' and said it reminded her of how she meant her last two husbands and almost put her off drinking — for a full five minutes. Writing from the Sunshine State, Vernon E. Krieber (also new to the site) concocts the mouth-watering ''Road Kill Stew.'' Judge Paul Ling noted, ''This little ditty might have gotten a [higher] score of if not for one fatal factual error — road kill is fucking tough no matter how you slice it.'' Newish poet Aaron Earl Short handed down a perfectly asinine recipe in ''Lost Marbles No More.'' Judge April Clinton felt the poem ''suggested something scatalogical,'' and perhaps because of this it made her laugh out loud. And old-hat poet ern modern swung to the supermarket to scribble ''Down Aisle Three.'' Judge Scott Barwick called it ''short and sweet'' and adds, ''Been there.''

The second course of honorable mentions had the judges quite divided. Poet Arthur Radley's first entry, ''Delovely,'' is a ditty on salaciousness and salad. Judge April Clinton called it ''de-vine, de-vilish, and de-something else.'' But, in his best Simon Cowell voice, judge Paul Ling noted, ''You could hear this at a hundred bar-mitzvah poetry readings around the country.'' Poet Vernon E. Krieber explored families and feasts with ''The Cannibals.'' Judge Finny Deerfield thought it ''funny, though I saw the ending coming.'' But judge Scott Barwick called it ''another short, simple asinine treat.'' Poet ern modern's ''Paper Is A Poet's Best Friend'' earthily deconstructs creativity. Judge Barwick said, ''Ah, yes this is exactly what I'm looking for.'' But judge Ling noted, ''I don't think the word 'shat' works well in poetry, asinine or not.'' Poet P-Woody's anti-ovular "Eggs Bad" also scrambled the votes. ''I don't really like this at all,'' says judge Barwick, who voted low on this one. But judge Grace Ventura gave it high marks. She notes, ''Maybe the other judges really like eggs.''

Our main course of asinine contest winners arrived with some melancholy. Scholar and poet Ray Freed, who wins third place with his "On My Day Off*"; judge Scott Barwick said, ''The line about Truman Capote gets it [high marks].'' Poet Arthur Radley, who was a prizewinner in our last contest, wins again, this time with his narrative poem "It Goes Back*"; judge Finny Deerfield called it ''well done.'' Finally, poet Jim Tyack won our last honorable mention as well as the top prize. His "Spam Myth" scored so close to the top three he deserves a special mise en place with the winners. Of it, judge Paul Ling said, ''It did have that (perhaps undefinable) asinine quality permeating it.'' His omnivorous ''Pottage Canticles 1 and 2'' impressed all the judges and won the contest handily. Sadly, Mr. Tyack died earlier this year. We award him his prizes posthumously and with a hardy ''Huzzah, aloha, and vaya con dios!'' salute the passing of a kindred spirit. And thanks to everyone for playing!