the eighth asinine poetry contest:



*Available in cash or asinine merchandise.


YOU asinine poets surprised us here at the asinine offices. We were sure we'd only get two entries in the contest. ''Sonnets!'' someone screamed. ''No one wants to write a bloody sonnet!'' But this contest garnered the largest amount of entrants ever.

The rules were relatively simple: Write an asinine sonnet, any subject. We thought it would be fascinating to see people would come up with (and it was). We pointed you to an instructional site, and then sat back and waited and slept and drank and slept. The deadline was September 15, 2005.

Once we received the entries, we here at the offices whittled them down to a mere 13. Then I personally called, faxed, or scribbled a note to four judges--Susan Swartwout, PhD, publisher of Southeast Missouri State University Press Press; Dr. Daniel Thomas Moran, poet laureate of Suffolk County, Long Island, and frequent contributor to the site; Phil Hopkins, semi-established playwright; and Janice Wentley, gadabout poetess. We locked them all in a room and had them read and reread the poems.

Here first are the 10 runners up, who each received a $5 coupon to our asinine store:

13. ''The Holy Itch''by ern modern
The judges could only muster: ''One word: Cortaid.''
12. ''Driving By'' by Graham Everett
Judge Moran: ''Is this some kind of knock against Starbucks? If this person has $100 bills to toss around so freely they don't need your prize money. I'd rather see it go to the guy in the subway.'' And Judge Swartwout chimes in: ''No mere Wal-mart groupie this! Buy 'til. You die!''
11. ''Greedy Postal Worker''by Easter Cathay
Judge Moran: ''Hope he doesn't own an AK 47.'' Judge Swartwout: ''Bukowski would love this one. More than I.''
10. ''Blond Head Girls'' by P-Woody
Judge Swartwout notes: ''Refreshingly gross subject, vomit is stuck in my head, good pattern and rhyme.'' Yet Judge Moran says, ''I think what this guy was smelling was his poem starting to emerge.''
9. ''Oh What a Rogue and Peasant Slave Am I'' by Joseph Lewis
Judge Moran says, ''These sorts of displays of indulgence of the judges don't ever work as well as cash. Good job nonetheless.''
8. ''My Lazy Bones'' by ern modern
Judge Moran says, ''I like this one, but it collapses at the end.'' Judge Wentley: ''This poet's mind is so alert, discriminating, and uncompromising that he/she has singlehandedly restored integrity to the pursuit of bones, lazy and otherwise.'' Judge Swartwout: ''They're called underdogs for a reason, and somebody has to be it.''
7. ''College Grad, Oh College Grad'' by Kelly Chambers
Judge Wentley: ''This poet is clearly interested in the wild, eccentric human self -- untainted by, yet interacting with, the ruthless socializing force of 'higher education.''' Judge Moran: ''Well done and smart but not as funny as some.'' Judge Swartwout: ''Cute, good pattern and images, tired topic.''
6. ''To the Laundromat'' by Steven McDougal
Judge Moran: ''Very good but not the winner in my mind.'' Judge Swartwout: ''Adequate, but ultimately not fulfilling.'' Judge Wentley: "Was the notion of the sonnet something initial to and propulsive of this writing, or was it more of a 'retrospective' gesture, an after-effect sculpting of the material, one whose final form perhaps carries something of an ironic charge?''
5. ''Loose Ends'' by G. Nash
Judge Moran: ''Sounds like a Springsteen song gone awry. Bongs are so much less complicated.'' Judge Swartwout: ''So, your point is . . . .'' Judge Wentley: ''A marvelous agonistic stance vis a vis normative asinine syntax.''
4. ''Shake 47 to Prez 43'' by Michael Shaler
Judge Moran says: ''This one is very well done but just not funny enough. Anything with Karl Rove in it makes my skin crawleth anyway.'' Judge Swartwout: ''Impressive language, even if I'm not entirely sure what it all means.'' Judge Wentley: ''I first read Homer in prose translation, and I first read Dante in Ciardi's verse translation. I have now read asinine in asinine translation.''

And the top three prizewinners are:
3. "1983*" by Wade Christian
Judge Moran says, ''It's not the moustache.'' And says Judge Swartwout: ''Skillful and asinine; great run-on line endings; good pattern.''
2. "Much Ado about Nothing*" by Pam Moll
Judge Moran says: ''Frightening literate and capable. It might have gotten a 10 if some other guy had not already used the title for something.'' Says Judge Swartwout: ''Impressively loquacious, good rhyme, and pattern, I had to use my dictionary. That's asinine!''
1. "Platonic Ode*" by Hal Ackerman
Says Judge Swartwout: ''Good wordplay. Love the robe.'' And says Judge Moran: ''This one really seems to fit your bill, but I would avoid shaking this guy's hand at all costs if he wins.''

As Shakespeare wrote, ''That's all folks!'' Hope you enjoyed playing and reading our contest.