Home > Lankville Daily News > The Five Mistakes You Made at the Epic Poetry Recital Contest

The Five Mistakes You Made at the Epic Poetry Recital Contest

By Pa-hinn Cruikshank

By Pa-hinn Cruikshank

Lankville’s epic poetry recital scene is, well, epic. Ever since Ulf Egilsson emigrated from a foreign place to the Lankville Partial Icy Regions many generations ago, carrying his father on his back along with household gods and the songs, poems, and dirges of his homeland in his heart, Lankville has prided itself on maintaining the tradition: The tradition of epic poetry recitals that last eight days and usually end with several deaths and a new “Scop König” (poet-king) being crowned. But entering the recital contest is not for the feint of heart; we have compiled these common rookie mistakes to help you survive with your head intact and your sagas successfully sung. Herewith, the mistakes you made:

1) You decided to recite the challenging “Lankvillüngen Cycle.” With its complex contrapuntal rhythms, its erotic theme of incestuous bestiality, and its famous “middle section” composed of nothing but Old Lank-vowel sounds spat out in a syncopated staccato, the Cycle is a popular recital choice. But it requires a good deal of fortitude – not to mention a practiced tongue and, often, a cleft palate, to perform just right.

Don't wear one of these to your epic poetry recital

Don’t wear one of these to your epic poetry recital

2) You tried to do a “call and response” thing. Another common pitfall for neophyte recitalists: attempting to rouse an audience sedated by hours of grog, mead, and mutton to follow along and shout back alliterative lines of epic verse. Good luck with that – and get ready to duck, as the “response” is likely to be a half-eaten turkey leg hurled with great gusto from the back row of the hall!

3) You laughed during Rocky Dalrimple’s recital. This didn’t seem like a mistake at the time; after all, Rocky’s epic poetry is unquestionably hilarious, full of uncanny doppelgängers, unexpected scenes of exploding eyeballs and gullets, and sexually active septuagenarians. The problem is that it’s all true. Every last word is something that Rocky (or his illustrious but star-crossed family) personally experienced. Laugh about the Dalrimples’ misadventures in the privacy of your own home – but never, ever let a guffaw escape during the epic poetry recital contest.

Don't wear one of these to your epic poetry recital either

Don’t wear one of these to your epic poetry recital either

4) You used props. Newsflash: No one has been able to pull off the “scarab-encrusted horned helmet” look since at least Snorri Egilsson, great-grandson of Ulf and master epic poet. And while you thought it was clever to bring along that cross-section from the Old Pondicherry Square Oak, representing the ephemeral life of man and the ever-expanding ripples of the universe, the subtlety of the metaphor was a bit lost on the boys in the back row. Perhaps you decided to “go big,” and actually dig up the head of Uncle Billy to illustrate the gruesome conclusion of the “Bönkersaga,” that familiar Lankville favorite. Still a bad move – you never want your prop to overshadow your poem.

5) You went home with some epic poetry groupies. Congratulations! You survived your first epic poetry recital contest, and while you weren’t crowned Scop König, you endured the endless toasts and challenges and blood sacrifices and emerged with your dignity intact. Until those strapping ladies who hang on every syllable, with long golden tresses and names like Hilgar and Ůnferth and Wealhtheow, took you aside and flattered your recitation of the Lankvellir-round, with the result that instead of reporting dutifully at your job in the Office of Financial Interests at Southern Lankville University, you found yourself waxed to the gills and going on “raids” up and down the Partial Icy Regions coastline.

And yet – like almost any new initiate in the ways of the Lankville epic poetry recital contest: you’ve made it! The hard part is over, and next year you can come back better than ever, thanks to experience and lessons learned.

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