×

Lucy Vickery rss

"William Archibald Spooner Vanity Fair 1898-04-21" by Leslie Ward - Published in Vanity Fair, 21 April 1898, as "Men of the Day" Number 711.Downloaded from http://www.antiquemapsandprints.com/scansj/j-20476.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Spectator competition: tips of the slung — or poems as the Revd W.A. Spooner might have written them (plus: an author’s acknowledgments page with a twist)

18 October 2014 9:23

The diminutive, myopic Revd W.A. Spooner was the inspiration behind the recent call for Spooneristic poems. The long-time warden of New College, Oxford bequeathed us such comic gems as ‘The… Continue reading

1 Comment
Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 12.16.54

Spectator competition: a magical realist shipping forecast (plus: a dialogue in verse between God and man)

11 October 2014 9:43

Since the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez earlier this year, I have been meaning to set a comp with a magical realist twist and I finally got around to it… Continue reading

4 Comments
By Rudyard Kipling (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Spectator competition: a final ‘if’ for Kipling’s ‘If’ (plus: compose an autumn villanelle)

4 October 2014 9:29

The call to add a final stanza to a well-known poem attracted an enormous entry. Nicholas Stone imagined how Coleridge might have continued had it not been for the intrusion… Continue reading

4 Comments
"William Archibald Spooner Vanity Fair 1898-04-21" by Leslie Ward - Published in Vanity Fair, 21 April 1898, as "Men of the Day" Number 711.Downloaded from http://www.antiquemapsandprints.com/scansj/j-20476.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Spectator competition: when prose and poetry meet (plus: verse in the manner of Revd W.A. Spooner)

27 September 2014 9:30

The challenge to pick a well-known poem and write a short story with the same title using the poem’s opening and closing lines to begin and end the piece drew… Continue reading

0 Comments
FASHION-ITALY-BLUGIRL-BACKSTAGE

Spectator competition: poets’ selfies (plus: liven up something mundane with a dose of magic realism)

21 September 2014 15:09

The latest challenge, to compose a poet’s elegy for him or herself, took you down a path trod by poor Chidiock Tichborne. He wrote his own elegy, the poignant ‘Tichborne’s… Continue reading

1 Comment
Regulars Enjoy A Traditional Black Country Pub

Spectator competition: why death is good for you (plus: add a final stanza to a well-known poem)

13 September 2014 10:30

The recent invitation to submit an imaginary feature from a newspaper’s health pages extolling the benefits to wellbeing of something traditionally thought to be bad for you drew a smallish… Continue reading

1 Comment
Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

Spectator competition: write a poetic short story (plus: Philip Larkin’s version of Humpty-Dumpty)

6 September 2014 9:30

The invitation to recast a nursery rhyme in the style of a well-known author attracted a large and lively entry that was evenly split between prose and poetry. In general,… Continue reading

1 Comment
Image: Getty

Spectator competition: compose a poet’s verse selfie (plus: what happens when the lights go out)

30 August 2014 10:30

Submissions to the latest competition, which invited you to provide a poetic preview of when the lights go out, were impressively varied and kept me thoroughly entertained. Honourable mentions go… Continue reading

0 Comments
506934215

Spectator competition: make the case for sugar, fags and a sedentary lifestyle (plus: how not to curry favour with US customs officials)

23 August 2014 9:30

The recent challenge to come up with misleading advice for British tourists travelling abroad produced a postbag that was infused with a spirit of sadistic mischief. As usual with comps… Continue reading

9 Comments
Little Miss Muffet cast in sand at the  Creepy Crawlies Sandscupting Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: recast a nursery rhyme in the style of a well-known author (plus pets who perish in unusual ways)

16 August 2014 9:28

I was prompted to ask for short odes on the death of a pet in unusual circumstances by Thomas Gray’s poem ‘Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned… Continue reading

2 Comments
Flanders Fields 100 Years Since The Great War

Spectator competition: write a preview in verse of when the lights go out (plus voter-repelling party political broadcasts)

9 August 2014 9:00

The recent call for off-putting party political broadcasts on behalf of the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens or Ukip drew a surprisingly small entry. But the Green party… Continue reading

6 Comments
Image: Getty

Spectator competition: provide snippets of misleading advice for British tourists travelling abroad (plus Margaret Thatcher’s secret love poetry)

2 August 2014 9:30

The recent challenge to unmask a secret poet among well-known figures from 20th-century history produced a postbag full of politician-bards, which included poignant lines from the pens of Edward Heath… Continue reading

3 Comments
A chicken smokes its final cigarette. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: write an ode on the death of a pet in unusual circumstances (plus what Leigh Hunt’s Jenny did next)

26 July 2014 9:30

Leigh Hunt’s much-anthologised mini rondeau ‘Jenny Kissed Me’ was the inspiration for the latest challenge, which asked competitors to take its first line, substitute another word for ‘kissed’ and continue… Continue reading

1 Comment
Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 10.43.37 1

Spectator competition: craft a voter-repelling party political broadcast (plus James Joyce and co. give Phil Neville a masterclass in football commentary)

19 July 2014 9:30

Unkind comparisons were drawn, after his commentary debut, between Phil Neville’s style and a speak-your-weight machine. One Twitter user speculated, when the England physio was stretchered off injured, that it… Continue reading

4 Comments
Estate Agents – how much longer will they be around? Image: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Spectator competition: unmask a well-known figure of the 20th century who is also a secret poet (plus elegies for postmen and headsmen)

12 July 2014 9:30

Estate agents, travel agents, publishers, record company executives; all have seen their livelihoods put in jeopardy by a brave new digital world. So it seemed fitting to invite competitors to… Continue reading

1 Comment
Yoko Ono. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: Decide what Leigh Hunt’s Jenny did next (plus oblique cooking with Yoko Ono)

5 July 2014 9:33

As if there weren’t enough recipe books in the world, the latest assignment challenged competitors to invent a title for yet another one, with a fresh angle, and supply a… Continue reading

2 Comments
At the end of the day it's a game of two halves. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: give Phil Neville a lesson in the art of World Cup commentary (plus oolite and ampthill redefined)

28 June 2014 8:52

The most recent competition invited you to incorporate the following seven words (real geological terms) into a piece of plausible and entertaining prose so that they acquire a new meaning… Continue reading

1 Comment
Cobblers. Endangered? Image: Getty

Spectator competition: compose an elegy for an endangered profession (plus Jack Kerouac gets the golfing bug)

21 June 2014 9:30

Competitors rose admirably to the recent challenge to step into the shoes of a well-known writer and submit a poem or piece of prose in praise or defence of something… Continue reading

0 Comments
Image: Getty

Spectator competition: provide a publisher’s blurb for a cookbook with a twist (plus your elegies for Jeremy Paxman)

14 June 2014 9:30

In Competition No. 2851 you were invited to mark Jeremy Paxman’s departure from Newsnight by supplying an extract from an interview with a politician or statesman in which the interviewer… Continue reading

2 Comments
The bigger the churn, the more the cheese. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: redefine ‘oolite’ and ‘ampthill’ (plus: your meaningless proverbs)

7 June 2014 9:30

The latest call, for proverbs that sound profound but have no meaning, attracted an enormous entry. It was a pleasure to judge, and cheering, too, to see lots of unfamiliar… Continue reading

13 Comments
Image: Getty

Spectator competition: defend the unexpected (plus: your tepid opinions about the BBC)

31 May 2014 9:30

The latest challenge, to supply a poem in praise or dispraise of the BBC, fell on somewhat stony ground. The entry felt a bit flat and you seemed to be… Continue reading

12 Comments
The Tay Bridge disaster. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: write an elegy for Jeremy Paxman

24 May 2014 9:30

The latest challenge to competitors was to submit a poem commenting on Scottish independence in the style of William Topaz McGonagall, the poet hailed by the TLS as ‘the only… Continue reading

12 Comments
Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: invent a meaningless proverb

17 May 2014 9:30

The latest competition, in which you were invited to compose a poem celebrating a famous duo, produced a colourful cast of pairings. Ray Kelley sang the praises of Flanders and… Continue reading

24 Comments
Image: Getty

Jeffrey Archer’s six rules for writing

9 May 2014 11:40

A tweet linking to George Orwell’s famous rules for writing (‘Never use a long word where a short one will do’, etc.) prompted me to invite competitors to come up… Continue reading

2 Comments
Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 14.27.07

‘Great’ books best left unread: Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, Catch-22…

6 May 2014 14:37

Martin Amis compared Cervantes’ Don Quixote to ‘an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies’, while Kathryn Schulz,… Continue reading

79 Comments