RETURN TO STATS HOME PAGE

MASTER LIST OF ALL STYLE INVITATIONAL CONTESTS

Suggestions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

The Society wishes to thank Russell Beland, Chris Doyle, Kyle Hendrickson, and Pat Myers for their help in assembling the archive that is linked to from this page.

On the right you will see links to some representation of that Week's appearance in the paper:
Text file
Downloadable Microsoft Word version
htmlWebpage made from a Word file
HTMLWebpage from a search of the Post archives, or a scrape of an webpage findable with search engines
Webpage containing an image of the SI page
Downloadable PDF of the SI page
EDownloadable PDF of the e-version of the SI page

THEME: POE -- Poetry

PUB DATEWEEKTITLESYNOPSISEVENTUAL WINNERTHEMESREPORTLINKS
January 23, 199447 CAN YOU DO VERSE? Bad Valentine's Day poetry. Any rhyme scheme, any form of literary dysfunction. Michael Paulkovich POE  44  HTML   
September 18, 199479 TERROR-DACTYL Send us a double dactyl. The first line must be a nonsense phrase of five to seven syllables containing exactly two downbeats. The second line must be a name, in five to seven syllables but only two downbeats. The remaining six lines must contain four to seven syllables and two downbeats each, with Lines 4 and 8 rhyming. Somewhere in the poem, one line must consist of only one word. Kitty Thuermer POE  76  HTML   
March 12, 1995104 HERE, DOGGEREL Create poems so bad they thud. The first line must be a name. The second line can be as long or as short as you wish. The third line must sound the same as the first line, using the name as a verb or some other part of speech. Jessica Mathews POE  101   
October 8, 1995134 A SIMPLE CLERIHEW ERROR Revive clerihews. A clerihew is a biographical poem in four lines divided into tow rhyming couplets. The rhyme scene is aa bb. The first line of the clerihew must contain the name of the subject of the poem. The lines must be of disparate meter, the clunkier the better. Jerry Belenker POE  131  HTML 
December 10, 1995143 IT'S MY PARODY (& I'LL TRY IF I WANT TO) Rewrite any common jingle of theme song in the style of famous writer. David "Stockton" Smith POE  140  HTML  
May 19, 1996166 DOO WAH DOODY We are looking for really bad lyrics to real rock songs. Your lyrics must be from a reasonably popular song, and you must include the name of the singer or songwriter. Carolyn Armstrong
Scott Barney
Don Beale
Dave Ferry
Jane Hanna
Jessica Mathews
Dean Meservy
Arthur J. Murphy
Steve Rouzer
Sandy Tenenbaum
Jeff Wadler
Pam Wadler 
POE MUS  163  HTML 
May 26, 1996167 CRAPSEY Resurrect the "cinquain," a long-deceased poetic form, poems so ickily precocious and pretentious they make haiku look like Kipling. There are five lines, the first containing two syllables, the second containing four syllables, the third six, the fourth eight and the last, with grave finality and thunderous drama, only two. Your subject matter must be suitable for the 1990s. Christine Tabbert POE  164  HTML 
June 30, 1996172 POEDTRY An entire poetic form, making its global debut in the Style Invitational. The first line must contain only six words of one syllable each; the second line, three words of two syllables each; the third line, two words of three syllables each, and the final line a single word of six syllables. At least two lines must rhyme. The general subject matter should be mundane. Roger L. Browdy POE  169  HTML  
August 18, 1996179 A CLOCKWORK, UM, UM, ... ER Write single sentences containing no fewer than three examples of rhyming slang. Roy Ashley
Russell Beland
Kevin Cuddihy
Richard DeMello
Stephen Dudzik
Tom Green
Mark Greenblatt
Tommy Litz
Jonathan Paul 
POE  176  HTML 
September 15, 1996183 COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG II Create hawkers' rhymes for modern-day occupations like lobbyists, lawyers, talk show hosts, actuaries, etc., at a maximum of four lines. It must contain at least one rhyme. Elden Carnahan POE  180  HTML 
February 2, 1997203 CAN IT GET MUCH VERSE? Create Very Bad Poetry, containing banalities masquerading as profundities, overstretch metaphors, etc. Special attention should be paid to dreadful syntax and painful rhyme Charlie Steinhice POE  200  HTML 
June 8, 1997221 SONG SUNG BROWN Pick any song, pick a well-known line, and give us the discarded first draft. If it is part of a rhyme, you must maintain the rhyme. Lily Fu Swenson POE MUS  218  HTML 
November 9, 1997243 VERSE THAN EVER Write a rhyming poem of two to eight lines as a tribute to someone famous who died in 1997, the more awful the better. We will particularly value rhymes that thud, and extremes of emotion and sentiment. Charlie Steinhice POE  240  HTML 
May 17, 1998270 PALINODE--HAVE PUN, WILL TRAVEL Write a "palinode", retracting something said in an earlier poem. Your poem must be four lines long and contain at least one rhyme. Jon Chananie POE  267  HTML 
July 19, 1998279 TREACLE-DOWN THEORY Come up with a treacly and deeply moving piece of crap. It must somehow mine joy and goopy inspiration from the vicissitudes of life. It must also rhyme. Niels Hoven POE  276  HTML 
October 25, 1998293 THE VERSE OF AMERICA Take any story in today's Washington Post and create a poem or song by stringing together various phrases from that story. Each phrase must be a least two words long. Greg Arnold POE  290  HTML 
January 31, 1999307 IF YOU BOYCOTT THIS TASK / YOU WON'T WIN THE FLASK Come up with rhyming couplets to warn us about the perils of modern life. Howard Walderman POE CUL  304  HTML 
February 7, 1999308 GIVE US NO MO Write an update version of those old children's selecting rhymes. Your rhyme must (1) rhyme and (2) conform, at least loosely, to a point-and-shoot cadence that permits the elimination of one item from a group. David Genser POE  305  HTML 
March 28, 1999315 FERMENTING TROUBLE Write a rhyming poem, eight lines maximum, on the subject of cheese or any of the provided items. Niels Hoven POE  312  HTML 
June 6, 1999325 THE BURMA ROAD Propose welcoming doggerel for states or cities patterned after Burma Shave signs. Stephen Dudzik POE  322  HTML 
May 14, 2000349
(XVI) 
Orienting Oneself Produce a haiku using only words found in today's Washington Post. Your entry must have three lines, the first containing exactly five syllables, the second containing exactly seven syllables, the third containing exactly five. David Genser POE  345  HTML  
September 3, 2000365
(XXXII) 
Terse Verse Ask a question and then answer it with a rhyme. Your answer can be as many words as you wish, but all must have the same rhyme. David Genser POE  361  HTML 
March 18, 2001393
(LX) 
Things Could Be Verse Take any story in today's Washington Post and rewrite it into a rhyming poem of no more than eight lines. Geoff Shafer
Lindsay Shafer 
POE  389  HTML 
October 21, 2001424
(XCI) 
Osama Chanted Evening Write poems about Osama bin Laden. Patricia Helmetag POE  420  HTML 
March 24, 2002446
(CXIII) 
Poems Where the Heart Is Take any recent news event and summarize it in a rhyming poem of eight lines or fewer. Jennifer Hart POE  442  HTML 
May 12, 2002453
(CXX) 
Haiku 2 U2 Write a haiku summarizing the career of any American politician, living or head. A haiku is generally defined as a nonrhyming poem, of three lines. The first and last lines are five syllables; the middle line is seven. Daniel Horner POE POL  449  HTML 
September 8, 2002470
(CXXXVII) 
Czar Har Take the name of someone famous, rhyme it with a product, and describe the unholy union. Brendan Beary POE  466  HTML 
February 23, 2003494
(CLXI) 
Quote-idian Take any extremely banal piece of familiar writing and rewrite it in the style of a famous writer, poet or lyricist. Jeff Brechlin LIT POE  490  HTML 
April 27, 2003503 Doody and Muldoon Write poetry that out-Muldoons Paul Muldoon, the Princeton professor who won this year's Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Your poem must be a single quatrain, containing at least one rhyme and references to at least two body parts and one geographic name. Chris Doyle POE  499  HTML 
June 8, 2003509 Be a Real Card Come up with a greeting card rhyme for an un-greeting-card occasion. Joe Cackler POE  505  HTML 
October 26, 2003529 United We Stanza Summarize in four rhyming lines of verse any famous document, theory, principle or speech. Brendan Beary POE  525  HTML   
January 4, 2004539 Dead Letters Pay tribute in verse to someone who died in 2003. Bob Dalton POE  535  HTML   
February 8, 2004544 You Gotta Have Heart Write us some valentine sentiments from one particular person (real or fictional) to another. Chris Doyle POE  540  HTML 
July 4, 2004565 Anthem Is as Anthem Does Give us a verse for an alternative U.S. national anthem, set to any well-known tune. Chris Doyle POE  561  HTML 
August 8, 2004570 Timeline Rhyme Lines Produce colorful chronological couplets about some historical event. They must rhyme and be in good meter. Russell Beland HIS POE  566  HTML 
August 29, 2004573 Thine Ad Goest Here Propose biblical and other literary passage, poems, etc., that could benefit from product placement. Peter Metrinko POE REL LIT BUS  569  HTML 
October 31, 2004582 Perversery Rhymes Update a nursery rhyme or children's song with an edgier text. Joseph Romm POE  578  HTML 
November 21, 2004585 It's Parody Time Offer, in the holiday spirit of goodwill, some advice--as constructive and unifying as Loserly suggestions always are--to our nation's leaders (or the loyal opposition) as we prepare for the next four years. This advice will be set to the tune of some winter holiday song, either religious or secular. Barb Sarshik POE  581  HTML 
January 2, 2005591 Dead Letters Write rhyming poems about notable personages who have died in the past year. Brendan Beary POE EPI  587  HTML 
April 17, 2005606 The News Could be Verse Translate the fine prose of Washington Post articles into verse. Choose any article appearing in The Post of on its Web site from April 17 through April 25. Brendan Beary POE  602  HTML 
July 10, 2005618 Of D.C. I Sing Give us a song about Washington, set to a recognizable tune. Barb Sarshik POE MUS  614  HTML 
July 17, 2005619 WordCount Us In Write a poem of no more than four lines containing four or more consecutive words on the WordCount list. They must occur in the sentence in the order they appear on the list. Michelle Stupak POE WOR  615  HTML 
September 11, 2005627 Per-Verse Write a limerick or other short poem with comically awful rhyming. Jesse Frankovich LIM POE  623  HTML 
November 13, 2005636 A Song From Tex Arcana Write a verse of a song about sea urchin sushi or any of the other provided ostensibly unlyrical topics. Brendan Beary POE MUS  632   
January 1, 2006643 The Post's Mortems Give us a rhyming poem about some notable who died in 2005. Brendan Beary POE EPI  639   
January 15, 2006645 A Hearty Har Har Write up a Valentine's sentiment to any personage, or to someone in some generic category. Kevin Dopart
Chris Doyle 
POE  641   
February 12, 2006649 Across the Wide What? Give us some Virginia-appropriate lyrics for "Shenandoah." Chris Doyle POE MUS  645   
March 26, 2006655 Laughing Inside Take any article appearing in The Washington Post or online on washingtonpost.com from today through April 3 -- the more serious and/or mundane its headline, the better -- and write a funny poem or other passage using only words that appear in that article. Chris Doyle POE  651   
April 23, 2006659 Tell Us a Fib Compose a six-line poem with the following number of syllables per line: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. It must be about a person or topic currently in the news, and two successive lines must rhyme. Brendan Beary POE CUL  655   
August 27, 2006677 The News Gets Verse Sum up wittily in verse -- but not a limerick -- any article appearing in The Post or on washingtonpost.com from Aug. 28 through Sept. 4. David "Stockton" Smith POE  673   
September 24, 2006681 Ticket to Write Write a jingle for a business (or its product), organization or government agency, set to a Beatles song. Jay Shuck POE BUS POL MUS  677   
December 31, 2006695 Dead Letters Write a poem about someone who died in 2006. Chris Doyle POE EPI  691   
June 3, 2007716 The Hard Spell Write a humorous poem featuring one of the 75 words we've selected from this year's National Spelling Bee. Brendan Beary POE  712    E 
July 1, 2007720 The Course of Humor Events Sum up a historical event in a two-line rhyme or other clever and pithy epigram. Chris Doyle POE HIS  716   
July 29, 2007724 Abridged Too Far Sum up a book, play or movie in a humorous rhyming verse of two to four lines. Ellen Raphaeli POE LIT MOV  720   HTML 
October 6, 2007734 Turnaround Time Write a rhyming couplet containing two words that are anagrams of each other. Brendan Beary POE ANA  730   HTML 
October 27, 2007737 No River, No Woods Send us a funny parody of a well-known song, with lyrics that commemorate an occasion other than Christmas or Hanukkah. Brendan Beary POE HIS  733   html 
January 12, 2008748 Dead Letters Write a humorous poem about a well-known personage who died in 2007. Brendan Beary POE EPI  744   html 
March 22, 2008757 Gorey Thoughts From A to Z Send us some rhyming alphabet-primer couplets. Beth Baniszewski POE LET  753    html 
May 17, 2008765 It's Doo-Dah Day Write humorous lyrics commemorating any of the 50 states of the District, set to any of these Stephen Foster songs. Barry Koch POE POL  761   
October 4, 2008785 The Ballad Box Write a short, humorous song somehow relating to the presidential campaign, set to a familiar tune. Andy Pike
Barb Sarshik 
POE POL  781    
January 3, 2009798 Dead Letters Write a humorous poem commemorating someone who died in 2008. Jeff Brechlin POE EPI  794    
March 14, 2009808 Take Us At Our Words Create a humorous poem or other writing using only the words contained in this week's Style Invitational column or results. Russell Beland POE WOR STY  804    
June 27, 2009823 Wryku Compose a humorous (or at least wry or clever) haiku. Dave Zarrow POE  819      
July 11, 2009825 Disinstrumentals Write some words to music that has no words. Chris Doyle POE MUS  821     E 
November 14, 2009843 Prefrains Provide a sentence or two of lead-in to the first line of a well-known book, poem, or song. Stephen Dudzik LIT MUS POE  839    
January 2, 2010850 Dead letters Write a humorous poem about someone who died in 2009. Brendan Beary POE EPI  846    
February 6, 2010855 The news could be verse Sum up an article (or even an ad!) in any Washington Post print or online edition from Feb. 6 through Feb. 15 in verse. David "Stockton" Smith POE WAS  851    html 
March 27, 2010862 Be cheerful Send us a cheer or fight song for any pro sports team or any national team.  POE MUS ATH  858    html 
July 3, 2010876 Oilies but goodies Write lyrics somehow related to the oil spill, set to an existing tune. Mae Scanlan POE MUS  872    html 
July 10, 2010877 Quipped from the headlines Write a rhyming couplet about some matter in the news. Brendan Beary POE CUL  873    html 
January 1, 2011901 Dead Letters Write a humorous poem about someone who died in 2010. Christopher Lamora POE EPI  897    html 
May 1, 2011917 Wryku Write a haiku--a sentiment that can be broken into three lines with exactly five syllables in the first lien, seven in the second, five in the third--on any subject that's been in the news in the last couple of weeks. Danny Bravman POE CUL  913    html 
May 29, 2011921 Give Us Willies Write an original Little Willie poem, perhaps reflecting our current era. This is a venerable four-line genre in which Master W. does some nasty thing and doesn't tend to learn to be a Good Boy by poem's end. Kevin Dopart POE  917    html 
June 5, 2011922 A Banner Week Write entirely new, humorous lyrics to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner”; they can be on any subject. Gary Crockett POE  918    html 
July 10, 2011927 Drive-By Shoutings Write a very short four-line “poem” promoting a product or company, or offering advice to drivers; the poem must rhyme, in ABAB or ABCB rhyme scheme. A fifth, non-rhyming line may state the product name or a conclusion. Beverley Sharp POE BUS  923     E 
September 4, 2011935 The 400 blows Write a humorous poem--choose your form--about the Virginia earthquake, Hurricane Irene or another well-known natural event. Matt Monitto POE CUL  931    html 
January 1, 2012952 Dead Letters Write a humorous poem about someone who died in 2011. Stephen Gold POE EPI  948    html 
May 6, 2012970 Couple it Take a line from any well-known poem and pair it with your own second line to make a humorous couplet. Brendan Beary POE LIT  966    html 
July 1, 2012978 A reason to rhyme the news Write a short verse about something that's been in the news recently. Nan Reiner POE CUL  974    html   
August 5, 2012982 The parody line Set your own, humorous words to the tune of a well-known song--except that you must preserve one of the original lines. Nan Reiner POE MUS  979    html 
October 21, 2012993 Versus, verses Write a short "rap battle" between any two characters, real or fictional. Amanda Yanovitch POE  989    html 
January 6, 20131004 Dead letters Write a humorous poem about anyone who died in 2012. Nan Reiner
Robert Schechter 
POE EPI  1000    html E 
May 26, 20131023 Hai there, Martians! Write one or more humorous haiku that will greet the Martians or share a little nugget of what life is like on Earth. Rob Huffman POE  1019     E 
June 2, 20131024 Gorey thoughts Send us some edgy rhyming alphabet-primer couplets. The pairs are AB, CD, EF, GH, IJ, KL, MN, OP, QR, ST, UV, WX, and YZ. Jennifer Gittins-Harfst LET POE  1020   HTML   E 
July 14, 20131029 Ditty Harry Write a descriptive theme song for a well-known movie, set to a well-known tune. Mark Raffman MOV MUS POE  1025   HTML   E 
July 21, 20131030 The cinquain feeling Write a clever cinquain. The five-line form is straightforward: first line, two syllables; second line, four syllables; third line, six; fourth line, eight; fifth line, two. Nan Reiner POE  1026   HTML   E 
September 22, 20131039 Shookespeare Combine any of the words in Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, in any order, to create a humorous sentence or longer passage. Craig Dykstra WOR POE  1035   HTML   E 
January 5, 20141054 Dead letters Write a short, humorous poem commemorating someone (or maybe even something) who died in 2013. Gary Crockett EPI POE  1050   HTML   E 
March 2, 20141062 Scanning the headlines Write a rhyming poem about something currently in the news. Danielle Nowlin POE  1058   HTML   E 
April 27, 20141069 It's a small, small world Write a humorous poem of no more than eight lines -- it doesn't have to rhyme -- using only the top 1,000 words on Wiktionary.org's list of the most common among 20 million words found in movie and TV scripts. Ward Kay
Mark Raffman 
POE WOR  1062, 1063, 1064, 1065   HTML   E 
June 1, 20141074 Let's go parody-hopping Describe a stage or movie musical in a parody of a song from a different musical. Nan Reiner POE MOV  1070   HTML   E 
July 6, 20141079 Little piddle riddle Ask a question and answer it with a rhyme. Rachel A. Bernhardt POE QUE  1075   HTML   E 
July 13, 20141080 McGonagall with the windiness Memorialize a modern "tragedy" in a poem burdened with hilariously overwrought verse; lame, forced rhymes; and painfully uneven meter. Get the badness across in one verse of no more than eight lines. Thomas Blain POE  1076   HTML  E 
August 10, 20141084 Limerixicon XI: Fi-, fo-, go! Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "Fl-" through "fo-". Brendan Beary LIM POE  1080   HTML  E 
September 21, 20141090 Talk undirty to us Write a humorous poem in any form (no more than eight lines) that includes one or more of the provided words; the word must make sense in the poem in its TRUE meaning. Danielle Nowlin WOR POE  1086   HTML  E 
October 26, 20141095 TankaWanka! Write a TankaWanka about something that's been in the news lately. The poem must consist of five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables in that order. And it must include at least one rhyme. Nan Reiner POE  1091   HTML  E 
January 4, 20151105 A lit obit of fun Write a humorous poem of no longer than eight line about someone who died in 2014. Chris Doyle POE  1101   HTML  E 
January 25, 20151108 Hearts of dorkness Write a humorous Valentine's Day sentiment to someone (or to some organization), either real or fictional -- either from you or from someone else you name. Plus an all-new option: We'll also be willing to run at least one really funny, clever, well-executed graphic. Rob Huffman POE ART  1104   HTML  E 
March 1, 20151113 Our occasional parodies Write a song celebrating someone's birthday or other personal occasion (rather than, say, a holiday), set to a familiar tune. Nan Reiner MUS POE  1109   HTML  E 
May 17, 20151124 Heed! Indeed: Advice verse Write one of the provided reminders as a humorous poem of eight lines or fewer. Frank Osen POE  1120    E 
June 21, 20151129 Right in the pampootie Write a humorous short poem (eight lines or fewer) incorporating one of the 50 provided words. Chris Doyle POE WOR  1125    E 
July 19, 20151133 Are 'hew ready? A contest for clerihews A clerihew is a humorous four-line rhyming poem about a person whose name is mentioned in the first line; in fact, the name must be at the end of that line (or constitute the whole line) so that it has to rhyme with something. The rhyme structure (and we don't want "lazy" rhymes) is AABB: the first line rhymes with the second, the third with the fourth. Brendan Beary POE  1129    E 
August 16, 20151136 Gaah! It's Limerixicon XII Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "ga-". Nan Reiner POE LIM  1133    E 
November 8, 20151148 It's TankaWanka II Write a TankaWanka about something that's been in the news lately. The poem must consist of five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables in that order. And it must include at least one rhyme. Nan Reiner POE  1144    E 
December 20, 20151154 Tabby Road -- songs for cats Write a song for -- or about -- cats or other animals, set to a familiar tune. Stephen Gold MUS POE  1150    E 
January 3, 20161156 Dead letters Write a humorous poem of no longer than eight line about someone who died in 2015. Kathy Fraeman POE EPI  1152    E 
April 17, 20161171 What's my (next) line? Take a line from any song and pair it with your own second line to make a humorous rhyming couplet; the second line should match the rhythm of the first, rather than the second line of the song itself. Jesse Etelson MUS POE  1167    E 
June 26, 20161181 Put it in Bee-verse Write a short, humorous poem using one of the 36 provided words, all from the 2016 National Spellinng Bee. Chris Doyle POE WOR  1177    E 
July 31, 20161186 We're always happy to verse you  Write a humorous poem, of any form, about or “by” the anagram of anyone’s name.  Jesse Frankovich POE  1182    E 
September 18, 20161193 Poedtry Write a Poed, which consists of four lines: The first line contains six one-syllable words. The second line contains three two-syllable words. The third line contains two three-syllable words. The fourth line contains one six-syllable word (or a name totaling six syllables.  And at least two of the lines must rhyme.  Gary Crockett POE  1189    E 
November 20, 20161202 Don't be afraid of the dark Write lyrics to a song that, in some way, express hope. Nan Reiner POE MUS  1198    E 
January 1, 20171208 A RIP-roaring year: Obit poems Write a humorous poem of no longer than eight lines about someone who died in 2016. Melissa Balmain POE  1204    E 
February 5, 20171213 Punku Write a haiku that incorporates a pun. Jesse Frankovich POE WOR  1209    E 
March 19, 20171219 Cast your Bred upon us Write a Lik the Bred verse about someone in the news lately. David "Charlestown" Lewis
Jeff Shirley 
POE  1215    E 
May 28, 20171229 Gorey bits from A to Z Send us one of more edgy rhyming alphabet-primer couplets. Stephen Gold
Maria Zimmerman 
POE  1225    E 
June 11, 20171231 TankaWanka 3: Haiku Plus Tu Write a TankaWanka about something that's been in the news lately. The poem must consist of five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables in that order. And at least two of the lines must rhyme. Nan Reiner POE  1227    E 
July 9, 20171235 The Sound of Science Write humorous lyrics on the subject of science or technology, set to a well­known tune. Hildy Zampella POE SCI  1231    E 
October 22, 20171250 Poems of the year(s) Write a humorous poem incorporating three or more terms from a particular year or era listed on Time Traveler.  POE WOR  1246    E