Percy French Prize for Witty Verse 2020
William Percy French (1 May 1854 – 24 January 1920) was born at Cloonyquin House, near Elphin Co. Roscommon, only a few miles from Strokestown. He was one of Ireland’s most popular songwriters and entertainers in his day, writing primarily in comic verse. He is also well known for his landscape watercolours.
Writers are invited to compete for the Percy French Prize at the Strokestown International Poetry Festival. This is the category where humour is prime. The poems here are intended to be recited to a live audience, so they need to be easily understood on first hearing. And they need to have a lightness of touch combined with a wry take on life. If you want to get a flavour of the sort of tone the judges will be hoping to find, you should read through some of Percy French’s well-loved verses, or listen to his songs.
Some examples: Are Ye Right There, Michael, Are Ye Right? Abdul Abulbul Amir. Eileen Og. Shlathery’s Mounted Fut.
We don’t want you to ape Percy French, of course, but we hope to find a confident and original entry that raises a laugh and raises the spirits.