Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest 2013
Congratulations to the winners of our 2013 humor poetry contest!
First Prize $1,000
Josh Lefkowitz, Saturday Salutation
Honorable Mention $100
- Scott Benner, I Like Your Profile
- Keith Casto, Peter Rabbit Redux
- Logan Ellis, Waiting for the Lions to Stop Texting Their Ex-Girlfriends
- Cassandra Kemper, Job Search
- Bruce McCandless, The Ballad of Hillary Snow
- Peter Schmitt, The Condom in My Wallet
- Gus Stadstad, Hobosexuality
- Sabine Sur, A Modern Wedding (with Monsters and Fights and Everything)
- William Upjohn, Captain
- Andrew Weaver, To Whom It May Concern
- Luke Archer, Lessons in Posh Fingering
- Marcy Campbell, Sestina to the Fox Hill Neighborhood Board Regarding My Lack of Compliance with the Holiday Decoration Guidelines as Outlined in the 10-13-12 Meeting Minutes
- Pat Coulter, Jillian Peet
- Tracy Davidson, Dance of the Devil Woman
- Carole Davis, Dear John Poem
- JoAnn DeLuna, Wanted: Heartbreaker
- Alexandria Gilbert, Exile in Dumpsville
- Stephen J. Kudless, Thesaurus Rex: Defunct
- Elaine Slater, My Lawyer
- Claudia Ware, To Squat or Not
Thanks to everyone who entered our 2013 Wergle Flomp Contest. Your brains are needed to keep alive the essential yet under-appreciated genre of humorous verse. We promise, this won't hurt a bit...
A record-breaking 3,281 poems were harvested in our laboratory this year, screened by the fearless Lauren Singer, who presented a shortlist of about 100 to final judge Jendi Reiter. We wish Lauren the best as she heads to graduate school this fall, and hope that the speed-reading skills and comprehensive knowledge of fart jokes that she acquired in our employment will translate into academic success.
A poem that makes its way to the top of such a large heap is a very special animal. It probably has suction cups on its feet. Besides that, it has to resonate with the distinctive Winning Writers sensibility, which combines radical political consciousness with a four-year-old's delight in rude bodily functions.
Simply put, we prefer humor at the expense of the powerful and pompous. We're turned off by ethnic stereotypes. We don't appreciate jokes that stigmatize certain body types, so we tossed a lot of poems that mocked fat and old people as sexually unattractive. Also, this stuff is boring. Parody, satire, and light verse have the potential to subvert conventional, oppressive ways of thinking. Don't waste it by repeating a gag from a Hallmark card.
Top prizewinner Josh Lefkowitz's "Saturday Salutation" pokes fun at the romantic conquests and near-misses of a Brooklyn hipster dude-bro. As the narrator gets carried away with his tribute to the girls he left behind, it's evident that he was only the center of the action in his own mind. This poem derives its humor from a well-realized persona, cleverly absurd metaphors, and the ironic contrast between the speaker's ego and his reality.
Refreshing follies abounded among our honorable mentions and finalists, too. Keith Casto's irreverent take on Beatrix Potter brilliantly rhymes "Flopsy" with "biopsy" and "autopsy". Bruce McCandless gives us a case study in narcissism, in the tradition of the eminent Dr. Seuss. Sabine Sur accurately reveals a side of modern marriage (or mine, anyway) that you won't see in the bridal magazines. Andrew Weaver shares a suicide note that has trouble sticking to the proper genre. Luke Archer teaches a secret sexual technique...just send your credit card details to 1-800-... No, don't worry, these and other glimpses into the netherworld are available for your free enjoyment on our website.
Speaking of things that are free, the 2014 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest is now open for entries through April 1, with a top prize of $1,000. Can you enlighten us and gross us out simultaneously? We know you can.
Jendi Reiter is vice president of Winning Writers, editor of The Best Free Literary Contests, and oversees the Winning Writers literary contests. Jendi is the author of the short story collection An Incomplete List of My Wishes (Sunshot Press, 2018), the novel Two Natures (Saddle Road Press, 2016), the poetry collections Made Man (Little Red Tree Publishing, 2022), Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree Publishing, 2015), and A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003), and the award-winning poetry chapbooks Swallow (Amsterdam Press, 2009) and Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). Awards include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists' Grant for Poetry, the 2016 New Letters Prize for Fiction, the 2016 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Fiction, the 2015 Wag's Revue Poetry Prize, the 2013 Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, the 2012 Betsy Colquitt Award for Poetry from Descant magazine, the 2011 James Knudsen Editor's Prize in Fiction from Bayou Magazine, the 2011 OSA Enizagam Award for Fiction, the 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize, and second prize in the 2010 Iowa Review Awards for Fiction. Jendi's work has appeared in Poetry, The New Criterion, Mudfish, Passages North, Cutthroat, Best American Poetry 1990, and many other publications. See their interview in RoundPier.
Lauren Singer is an assistant judge of our Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest and North Street Book Prize, critiques poems, stories, and essays, and is a past judge of our Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. She is a native New Yorker living in Western Massachusetts. Her poetry has been published in Nerve House, Bareback, Feel the Word, Read This, Kosmosis, One Night Stanzas, and other literary magazines across the country. In 2015 she received her MSW at the University of Chicago, is a graduate of Bard College at Simon's Rock, and an attendee of the New York State Summer Writer's Institute. She has self-published three chapbooks and received an honorable mention in the 2011 Wergle Flomp contest. In addition to her creative interests, Lauren works as a mental health clinician and therapist in Holyoke, MA. Lauren prides herself on her wealth of useless knowledge, namely of nineties R&B lyrics, and she can pretty much quote "The X-Files".