We Have Some Winning Clerihews!

On his way out of Blogtown, Oronte Churm launched a contest promising prizes. Steve Davenport has finished his judging.

March 13, 2012

As promised, Churm has prizes to distribute. Being a real Tom Sawyer-type, he got someone else to do the work for him. We get the scoop from Steve Davenport, Churm's colleague, and Assistant Director of Creative Writing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and author of Uncontainable Noise.

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Judgment by Steve Davenport

What to do here at the end of the chapter that closes this part of Oronte Churm’s life?  I’ll tell you. Clean up the clerihew closet for him. Uh huh.  And without pay. Please write that in your Diaries of Getting Even. I have. I have whole pages devoted to the scores I will settle with one Mr. Churm, which, future  generations of clerihewists will discover, rhymes nimbly with “germ” and “worm.”

Drum roll, dammit. Third place goes to Daniel Leonard  for his set of five. The two that stand out for me are the Romney and the Santorum because they strike my ear and dancing (cowboy) feet as more tightly written, more musically adept,  than the other three. Truth is, though, my favorite thing about the set is the author knows nothing about Churm, the guy who doesn’t pay me.

Second place goes to Unemployed, who, now that I think  about it, probably gets an unemployment check and therefore makes more money than I do. Unemployed’s three clerihews, with their deployment of  writerly tricks, takes a cowboy poet’s beef-jerky  breath away. Unemployed may be that rarest of poetry birds, the clerihew savant. If forced to pick one of the three, I’ll go with “I also learned that self-deprecation” because of the last line, “(again--me, not you--you're making money),” which cascades  in tiny breaks courtesy of all three tricks: parentheses, dashes, and commas. Plus, you know, the reference to Churm’s money is money.

First place goes to intheheart, who serves up the clerihew as it was intended. Simply. She leads with the right target, advertises the next chapter in the target’s life (McNeese), and nails the form with wit in that perfect last line about  excess, about Churm getting fat on the state dollar down Louisiana way. Plus, come on. “Boudin balls”?  That would be funny even if I didn’t know what it means. Eat up, Churm.   


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