Waugh’s Upper Lip in Poetry Competition

In this week’s Spectator, Lucy Vickery posts the results of a competition she set for a poem relating to an author’s body part. This was inspired by John Sutherland’s recent book entitled Orwell’s Nose. Several entries are displayed but, with one exception, their creators do not match the winners listed in Vickery’s article. Here’s the one inspired by Waugh’s upper lip which was written by Alanna Blake:

Vile bodies may have spared the Brideshead set —
No defects in their body parts as yet —
But take the upper lip of Evelyn Waugh,
The most expressive lip you ever saw.
Though masterful with words upon the page,
In personal relations he’d engage
Eye contact, twist of lip, while with no speech
Demeaning all who came within his reach.
Occasionally one small nasal twitch
Would underline the cynicism which
Was his default emotive attitude
As he looked down on anyone who stood
Their ground against his egocentric stance.
Few critics waited for a second chance
To undergo his wordless high disdain,
See the raised lip decline and fall again.

Alanna Blake

Other entries included poems on Shakespeare’s skull, Rimbaud’s right flank and Byron’s genitalia. The winning entry by D.A. Prince was about some otherwise unnamed writer’s lung, might it be Keats? The other published entries, including that relating to Waugh, may have been runners up.

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