The votes have been tallied, and congratulations go out to Kelly Robinson, winner of our 2013 Ode to a Dead Salmon contest, with "This is Just a Text to Say." Thanks to all for reading and voting in this fishy competition!
Our judges have spoken, and now it's time for the public to decide which Ode to a Dead Salmon represents the best of the worst.
From the three finalists below (in reverse alpha order by author), cast your vote in the sidebar poll. Hurry - voting closes at midnight Alaska Standard Time on Monday, Aug. 19. We'll celebrate the winning entry on Aug. 22.
Here's to dead fish!
RIME OF THE ANCIENT TROLLER
by Lesley Thomas
It is an ancient Mariner,
And she stoppeth one of three.
“By thy long grey locks and putrid coat
Of slime from ten days on a boat,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?”
A tipsy party on the way
from happy hour on the quay,
Blithe and donned in rich array,
No thoughts of Salmon on this day,
Landlubber jobs far from fillet.
She holds him with a skinny hand,
“There was a Fish,” quoth she.
“Hold off, unhand me, grey-haired loon!”
Eftsoons her hand dropt she.
She pierced him with an eagle gaze
Marked by chase of countless days,
Of midnight sun, and fog and haze.
“What is your saga dire to tell?
Let me by, you scaley hag –
The socioeconomic role you played
Under our eight-starred indigo flag
Of lengthy tale no Fish is worth,
So keep it quick and give us berth!”
“Water, water, everywhere – “
“No, about the Salmon, please?”
She fixed him with that glittering eye,
His comrades muttered, ill at ease.
Unhappy guest, he beat his breast,
Yet cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient witch,
The bright-eyed Mariner:
“My hooks are empty now of King,
Bottomfeeders are the thing,
In nets made out of plastic string,
Whilst circus ships as big as towns
Teem with prostitutes and clowns,
On decks the million tourists cram
To snap a pretty Instagram,
My troller now quaint museum piece,
I’ll sell it off, or maybe lease…
But an Ode to Salmon I can sing.”
“Let me by, you fearsome Dame!”
She held him yet with eyes of flame.
“Or prophesy of doom I’ll give
Fast forward from the times we live
Two decades hence, acidification
Prevents the tiny shell formation
Of the foodchain bottoms’ krill,
And thus the mighty Humpy kill.
“On DHA the world was fed,
Until the last Sockeye was dead.
O Paean to Salmon I can chant,
Of poisoned waters I can rant,
Though I see you are a shill,
Who came to live here post oil spill!”
“Unhand me, Crone, I have no time,
For odes or rants or any rime. “
“Then, Brother, can you spare a dime?”
He went like one that hath been stunned
By gaff hook on the deck forlorn,
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
THIS IS JUST A TEXT TO SAY
by Kelly Robinson
that wr n
4 KT’s thing
4 give me
they wr delicious
& so salmony
O SALMON, MY SALMON!*
by Geoff Kirsch and Libby Bakalar
O Salmon! My Salmon! Your fateful trip is done;
Spent all your milt on every egg along your salmon run;
The end is near, your stench is clear, some would say
With hollow eyes and languid tail, mottled scales a-molting:
But O fin! fin! fin!
O king, silver, chum, pink, red,
There on the banks my Salmon lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Salmon! dead Salmon! Rise up and take my bait;
Rise up—for you the table’s set—and I must put something on
For you briquettes and marinades—for you some cedar
For you they call, my dinner guests, hungry now from
Here Salmon! dear Salmon!
This hook inside your head;
I’ll pass it off that at my hand
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Salmon does not answer, his hump is pale and still;
My Salmon does not feel my snag, he has no pulse nor will.
Manhood anchored safe and sound, the voyage closed and done;
From angling trip, I still return a victorious fisherman;
Relax, O self-respecting Alaskans (who wouldn’t dream of
serving spawned out salmon, not even to out-of-towners)!
I’ll just bring back the head,
For in the cooler store-bought decoy Salmon lies,
Filleted and cold and dead.
* With apologies to Walt Whitman and inspired by this past
summer’s release of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” a real dead fish if ever
there was one
in full swing, the fish are running, and you know what that means: the
hugely popular "Ode to a Dead Salmon" bad writing contest is back for
its fourth season.Take a look at last year's finalists, sharpen your pencils and follow that smell. We want your best worst writing, submitted to email@example.com July 23 and August 5, 2013. The idea for the contest, which began in 2010, came froma 49 Writers interview with Alaska's former Writer Laureate Nancy Lord,
who said that in her early years of writing she realized that she
needed to get beyond mining the same myths - 'odes to dead salmon,' poet
John Haines once called them. This year, the good folks at 49 Writers have bequeathed the Ode to a Dead Salmon bad writing contest to us at Running Fox Books.
We think it's a perfect fit. Our office is in Alaska, and we like to
think we have a nose for bad writing, since it's what we've set out to
conquer with a venture that aggregates quality books. In past years, the Ode to a Dead Salmon contest has attracted bad writing from all over the world. No matter how stinky, every submission gets its day in the sun, posted here for the world to enjoy. And our rotten winners have gotten some great press, including a write-up inAlaska Magazine. So it's
time to do it all over again. We want your best tongue-in-cheek "Ode to
a Dead Salmon" bad writing, poetry or prose, fiction or non. We'll
publish all entries at ourOde to a Dead Salmon webpageso the world can read them, and we'll post the finalists here, with links from the Running Fox website and all the usual social media places. And yes, there's a prize: the winner receives a Ray Troll t-shirt of their choice. But the main goal, of course, is to have fun. The rules:
1. We reserve the right to exclude entries deemed unfit for posting. (But if you don't receive an email confirmation of your submission, do let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.) 2. We need your real name and real email address. If you want your entry to be posted under a pseudonym or left anonymous, make that clear in your email. 3. No more than three entries per person. 4. No more than 800 words per entry (shorter is just fine with us: limerick, haiku, opening lines). 5. Entries must be your own original work. 6. You keep the copyright, of course, but by entering you're giving us permission to post. 7. This is our contest. We make the rules (that's the beauty of blogging, folks), and the rules may change as we see fit. We'll let you know if they do. 8. We accept only Word documents or submissions embedded in the email text. Submissions MUST be single spaced, Times New Roman, with NO paragraph indentations; instead of indenting, please space between paragraphs. If the formatting is not correct, your submission will not be considered. 9. All entries must be emailed email@example.com midnight on August 5, 2013. Finalists will be posted on August 12, and voting ends August 19, with official recognition of the winner on August 22..