The Winner Is…

What do GK Chesteron, Lady Gaga, MacGyver, and Aaron Roughton have in common? They were all the subjects of clerihews in the Clerihew Contest. The response was overwhelming. Thirty-seven of you submitted eighty-eight clerihews on fifty different subject. We had a tie for the most popular subject, with eight clerihews each: GK Chesterton and Aaron Roughton. The proliferation of Aaron Roughton clerihews is attributable in part to the confusion regarding the pronunciation of his name (Dan Kulp wrote about five to cover every possible pronunciation) and in part to the fact that Aaron wrote one about himself. My thoughts on the Aaron Roughton matter may be summed up in a clerihew (using my preferred pronunciation of his name, which is not, as it turns out, Aaron's preferred pronunciation):

Aaron Roughton-- Who'd have though him A literary muse? Yet he inspired eight clerihews.

I suggested fourteen of the more colorful characters from this blog as possible subjects for clerihews. You wrote about all but one of them; strangely enough, Martin Amis didn't attract the interest of any clerihew contestants (though, if I'm not mistaken, he was the subject of this blog's first clerihew, by Dan Kulp (of course), in the comments section. I also wrote a clerihew about Mr. Amis, which you may have missed, buried as it was in the comments:

Amis, Martin, Had a part in Edifying millions-- None of them chilluns.

Mark the Spiderman fan/dog baptizer didn't receive nearly the attention I felt he deserved--only one clerihew, but it was quite a strong one by Patrick:

Mark the Presbyterian Baptizer Spider-man hologram hypnotizer Dunking dogs into Heaven is just as fun As swinging from webs catching crooks on the run.

I wrote one about Mark myself:

Third-grade Mark Turned off the dark* And started a one-man schism: Veterinary Calvinism.

*I hate to have to footnote a clerihew, but I would hate worse for anyone to miss the joke; the Spiderman musical running now on Broadway is called Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.

A number of Rabbit Roomers got clerihewn--the Peterson brothers, Randall Goodgame, the Captains Courageous, and Andy and the Andys, as well as figures associated with the original Rabbit Room in Oxford--JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and their forebear George MacDonald.

Not surprisingly, Chuck Norris was the subject of a couple of clerihews. BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck made use of the well-known fact that Chuck Norris rhymes with orange. Aaron Roughton's clerihew, like so many Chuck Norris-related amusements, ended with a roundhouse kick to the face. Which reminds me of my favorite Chuck Norris joke: When an episode of Walker: Texas Ranger aired on a Paris television station, the French surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side.

Hannah and Loren actually carried on a dialogue in clerihew, whereby Hannah corrected Loren's spelling of Tolkien and Loren retorted back. (She didn't actually retort, but that sounds more exciting).

A couple of you used the clerihewic form as the vehicle for groan-inducing puns. I had to read luaphacim's entry two or three times before I realized he was making reference to Frito chili pie:

Chito, who whispers to crocodiles, Made fancy pies for his reptiles. Those big brutes decided to increase their size By utterly demolishing Chito’s Frilly Pies.

Here's a very skillful pun from EmmaJ:

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Was enamored with wolkien; He never would stop it, For there’s no better hobbit.

John Slone, another punner, offered up this cheap clerihew:

Dr. Seuss Had his noodle in a noose. To paint his next picture should he dabble in blue, Peradventure a pale-green or cheap clarry hue?

John Slone also wins the dubious honor of "most obscure" clerihewist. No amount of googling revealed to me the identity of his "Cheese-paring Pam" or "Rick Roll." But the most rewarding obscure clerihew, I think, came from Michael Ramsay:

Marcel Bich was incredibly slick; with Edouard Buffard loosed countless poems untoward.

No doubt Bich and Buffard did turn all kinds of poems loose on the world. They were the co-founders of the Bic Corporation.

It was my intention to remark on each entry….but I had no idea there would be so many! So before we move on to the main awards ceremony, let me say that you once again delighted and impressed on Audience Participation Friday. Thanks for this outpouring of creative energy. If postage wasn't so high, I'd send you all a book. I tell you what: if you entered a clerihew, send me your mailing address in the "Contact" form on the right, I'll send you some Charlatan's Boy bookmarks. I know that's kind of a lame prize; you deserve better. But, as the saying goes, 'You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit.'

Anyway, the first award is the Lifetime Achievement Award. It goes to a man who first inspired this contest. Dan Kulp first introduced me to the clerihew in a comment on this blog, and he has been a devotee of the form ever since. He entered a whopping ten clerihews in this contest, not counting the two or three he had done in comments on earlier posts and two or three more on his own blog. I'm sure his wife and family are glad this contest is over so he can get back to earning a living. Dan, we all thank you. I'm sending you a signed copy of The Charlatan's Boy. Just send me your mailing address via the "Contact" form on the right.

For pure poetic merit, the best clerihew, I believe, came from Pete, who spoke of the Turtle Man in the voice of a turtle:

Turtle Man pluck me up by my tail if you can Loose your hoot in toothless bliss Grace me with your chainsaw kiss.

But I happen to know that Pete already has a copy of The Charlatan's Boy, so I had no qualms about bumping him down to honorable mention.

The winner of the Clerihew Contest demonstrated everything that makes a clerihew great: good scansion, clever rhyme, an interesting subject, playful language, and insight. On top of that, she added another layer of cleverness that almost made her too clever for

She wrote:

This entry is dedicated to Dan the Engineer:

01000111 01101111 01110100 01110100 01100110 01110010 01101001 01100101 01100100 00100000 01001100 01100101 01101001 01100010 01101110 01101001 01111010 00101100 00001101 00001010 01000111 01100101 01110010 01101101 01100001 01101110 00100000 01101101 01100001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01110111 01101001 01111010 00101100 00001101 00001010 01110100 01110111 01100101 01100001 01101011 01100101 01100100 00100000 01100001 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100100 01101100 01111001 00101101 01110011 01110001 01110101 01100001 01110100 00001101 00001010 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101000 01100101 01101100 01110000 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100101 01110110 01100101 00100000 01001010 01101111 01100010 01110011 00100000 01100010 01100101 01100011 01101111 01101101 01100101 00100000 01101001 00101101 01101000 01101111 01110100 00101110

She tried to post this several times, but the blog's spam filter mistook it for nefarious code and kicked it out. Finally she emailed it to me and I posted it for her. I thought it was funny that she would put binary code to honor Dan Kulp the engineer. What I didn't realize was that it was actually a clerihew, and quite a good one, about Gottfried Leibniz, the inventor of binary code. I finally got wise and put it into a binary code translator, and this is what came out:

Gottfried Leibniz, German math wiz, tweaked a one and a didly-squat to help Steve Jobs become i-hot.

Could there be any doubt? I hope you will join me in congratulating BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck for winning the clerihew contest. BuckBuck, send me a mailing address and I'll send you a signed copy of The Charlatan's Boy.