The 2010 Twittermantic Review
More than 600 entries flooded in to the 2010 Hallmark UK valentine writing contest. It was heartening to see the quality of entries strengthening as time went by. Hopefully, the judges’ tips helped aspiring poets realise that you can improve. Some of the verses could have been more effective if the writers had put in a little more time and effort to polish them.
I felt privileged to share the very genuine sentiments of sincere love and affection that people of all ages were expressing for the significant other in their lives.
There are a number of elements in a good valentine verse: sincerity, humour, clever wordplay, imagery, rhythm and rhyme. All contribute but you are looking for that special magic where everything comes together, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Personal identification with the subject matter brings an extra dimension of appreciation but in a judicial capacity you have to be objective — it might mean something to you personally but will it appeal to the general public?
The Twitter limit of 140 characters introduced an interesting discipline. I produced what I think must be the smallest standard-structure limerick ever: almost entirely letters.
Do u c a 22 4 2
4 I c a 22 4 u
A 22 4 me
B4 u I c
As 2 4 a 22 we q
The entrants handled text speak effectively and this enhanced the funny ones. I think that the more dignified, serious-sentiment verse perhaps loses something when chopped up, as in this example:
I sigh for the long days of sun
When through the cool grasses we’d run.
The birds and the bees;
The shingly seas;
Ah, those were the days we were young!
@hallmarkUK I sigh for t long days of sunWhn thru t cool grasses we’d run T birds & t Bs T shingly Cs Ah, those wer t days we wer young
Possibly the better alternative is to compress:
Long days of sun;
Cool grasses run;
Birds and bees;
Ah, the days we were young!
Oops, perhaps I have just invented a new verse structure: the mini limerick.
You read it here first, folks!
I also like using capitals for each word and no spaces.
When I LookAtYou
The most important thing, of course, is that the participants enjoyed the experience, and hopefully, we have awoken an interest in some who will go on to write more.
According to the rules after the my fellow judge, Christine Miller, and I have selected our picks the voting is thrown open to the public who choose the winner. One of Christine’s choice came out tops but the votes were fairly evenly spread.
So anyone can win, and taking part is so easy your grandma could do it – and probably does!
By Twittermantic judge, William Clark is the author of “700 Limericks and How to Write Them” and discoverer of the true origin of the word “limerick”.