Limerick Cops Space Society Grand Prize (And an Extra, Almost Germane Lagniappe); Speaking of Vampires: Dracula 3D

At last it can be revealed!  Nine days in the knowing, but sworn to silence until this night, October 5, when it was revealed at FenCon X in Dallas/Fort Worth, which I was not at.  But then, I knew already.

Let us flash back to July 23 2013, September 22 2012, September 15 2011 . . . and the National Space Society of North Texas.  In 2011 and 2012 they held haiku contests on the themes of MOON:  THE EIGHTH CONTINENT and MARS:  THE NEXT FRONTIER, respectively, with chapbook anthologies to be published of the winners and other worthy entries.  And so it is I’ve been published in both (well actually not quite as the MARS book hasn’t been published yet, but soon, soon . . .).  And this year it has started to get big, taking on the Fort Worth Haiku Society as a co-sponsor and expanding the poetry to three divisions on the subject of  SPACE EXPLORATION:  DEVELOPMENT AND SETTLEMENT.

But wait.  Three divisions?  Yes, with a deadline of July 31 2013, one could enter in (to quote from the announcement) “Division one: Haiku/Senryu (17 syllables or less, no punctuation required, no capitalization required, titled haiku are accepted); Division two: intermediate length forms (Tanka, mondo, sedoka, limerick, cinquain, clerihew, sijo, 4 to 6 lines); [and/or] Division three: long forms (haiku sequences, renga, rengay, tan-renga, haibun, choka).”  But wait again.  Limericks?  And here I divulge a little-known secret:  that what I consider my first professional poetry sale was a limerick, “Axe Murder,” that won first prize in a contest by MIDWEST POETRY REVIEW and was published in their July 1984 issue.

True fact, yes.

And so, undaunted and at close to the last minute (getting into that pattern again?), I entered work in all three slots:  a senryu in Division 1, a limerick (ah, now) in Division 2, and a four-poem haiku sequence in Division 3.

The word came back on September 26  from Contest Coordinator Patricia Ferguson.  “Dear James, Congratulations!  Your limerick, ‘Future Plans,’ received the Grand Prize in the National Space Society of North Texas/Fort Worth Haiku Society poetry contest.  You also received Honorable Mention in Division 3 for your haiku sequence, ‘Quartet.’”  And, since I could not be at FenCon to receive it myself, “your prize of $50 and certificates will be mailed to you.”

Did I mention, the prize I won in 1984 from MIDWEST POETRY REVIEW was also $50?

And so it all comes around.  To read “Future Plans” we must wait until the SPACE EXPLORATION:  DEVELOPMENT AND SETTLEMENT anthology is published, most likely next year.  However, as an almost-germane lagniappe,  I can reprint 1984’s “Axe Murder” (the rules being to use the first line “Upstairs lived a [select choice from four synonyms for woman — I picked the jazz musicians’ term ‘frail’] named Millicent” or else a similar first line with the male name “Elliot”).


Upstairs lived a frail named Millicent
Who on gigs would pick up only 10%
So her road man, the cheater,
She fried with her gee-tar,
And then copped a plea — 9/10 innocent.

The National Space Society of North Texas, I might add, is an organization to promote interest in people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in space exploration and science including education in the space sciences, encouragement of commercial space enterprise, further probing of the “next frontier,” understanding the benefits from space exploration, and the creation of a spacefaring civilization.  More information on the NSSofNT can be found here.

And then, instead of making sure the above got posted before midnight October 5 instead of the wee hours of the 6th,  Saturday evening I went to the movies.  One of the perks of living in a university community is that film studies departments sometimes have rare or otherwise interesting showings the public can go to at cut rate prices.  This one was a premiere of Dario ArgentoDracula3DArgento’s DRACULA 3D, which the presenter himself admitted was no SUSPERIA and that we were allowed to laugh at when moved to, but which — despite some dismissive comments on Amazon as well — I found to be a pretty good movie even by 2D DRACULA standards.  And in 3D, sitting three rows back from a  full-size movie screen, many parts were spectacular.

On the down side some of the SFX were a bit silly, the most memorable probably being Dracula’s appearance in one scene as a giant praying mantis (but with the delightfully absurd realization that there’s no reason at all for him to take that particular form), and — perhaps a weakness in all 3D films — a bit too many scenes with pointy things being stabbed toward the screen.  But the story, while taking liberties with Bram Stoker’s novel (a proud tradition pioneered by such films as NOSFERATU and the Universal Pictures Bela Lugosi version of DRACULA), followed the gist of the story well enough, and possibly, dare I say, better than most (especially including the various Hammer films, fun as they may be on their own terms).  There is also gore, though relatively little by earlier Argento standards, plus some nudity (a bit of male, but mostly female) including a topless period-bathtub scene with Asia, Argento’s daughter, in the role of Lucy.

Be that as it may — some laughs, some gasps, some special effects that try too hard but others that work well, and, by the main, some very nicely done filming — I recommend it.


  1. This is wonderful news! Major congratulations, Jim!! Thanks too, for the movie review. I might try it myself.

  2. Marge, thanks. I just got an email this a.m. with the link to the “official” announcement with all the winners, which I’ll post when I get home (though probably not till lateish this evening).

    DRACULA 3D was fun and the dubbing on the version we saw seemed done well. I looked it up on Amazon after, though, and the only DVD available was in PAL format, in Italian (it was unclear to me whether a dubbed English version is on the disk too) with subtitles only available in French — and shipped to you directly from Italy. I’m guessing the film was released that way in Europe in 2012, and it’s the dubbed version that (I think I read somewhere) premiered in the US Friday Oct. 4th (so it was a two-day run here with me going the second night, day one being Fountain Square Poets day too).

    • Well, that cover color poster (whatever it is) is freakin’ great! Maybe I’ll just pretend I’ve seen it, as it’s for sure dubbed in English.

      Again congrats for being the most honored (for award categories) poet at Fencon!

  3. And the lady on the cover appears to be Asia, as Lucy, which may go to show that being the director’s daughter trumps even playing heroine Mina.

  4. As for the quality of the 3D, incidentally, I’m pretty in one of the scream scenes I spotted a filling in one of the actress’s (I forget which, now, whether it was Asia or the one of the others) upper right molar. (In that it was a modern filling, it would seem to be anachronistic.)

  5. You seem to return to upper molars & dental threads in your stories at times, Jim. Perhaps you are a repressed dentist at heart? 😉 Are you really pretty in one of the scream scenes, I spotted you not, but the filling you could be correct. 😀
    Modern filling, yet. I’d not want you to be my foreign film critic, were I to make a foreign film!

    • Ah, that’s “pretty sure in one of the scream scenes. . . .” Of dentists in stories, when BIZARRO BIZARRO comes out, I think my story in that is the one about a man who at one time had dreams of becoming a dentist’s hygienist (but had to settle for becoming a serial killer instead).

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