I suppose it happens to all of us. Most days we just go through our drab lives, writing LaTEX code, running dvips, staring at laser-printer output, arguing about XML; but then something cracks, our brain spins, and we pretend for whole moments at a time that we are, after all, the rightful poetic heirs to Shakespeare and Goethe. Luckily, we do not often get our masterpieces onto paper, but at the TUG'99 conference delegates were treated to a rare display of collective insane poetasting.
Ross Moore and Wendy McKay started it all, by setting up a poetry competition before the meeting, but they had the idea that people would take it seriously, and compose `masterpieces of the poetic art'. When it came to the line, though, entries were thin on the ground, so what to do? Appeal to people's worst instincts, of course, by reading doggerel to them between talks! This was proving amusing enough by the Wednesday of the conference that we had the idea of a public reading in the Rose Garden of the University Campus, overlooking the sea. It seemed an innocent enough idea.
TEX people are, however, nothing if not perfectionists. No, not just a
reading, it had to be a proper party; no, we could not just read
poetry, we had to dress up in bardic uniform; no, not just any
uniform, but like that wretched lion in The Book; yes, with the laurel
sigh, as they say on the Internet. Worst of all, people
The results, poetic and photographic, follow. Great art it ain't, mostly, but we hope you'll be a little amused by it all. Myself, I think the beer (illegal in a public place in Canada) helped; about the local mango cider, I am less sure. I wonder what the bemused passers-by made of it all?
Prizes? Yes, we had some winners. For unadulerated audacious stealing, Fred Bartlett's Hamlet bore away a token; for pure cool style, Michael Downes' haiku gained the wreath; for poetic talent, Pierre MacKay probably came as near art as anyone; and for his out-and-out politically incorrect (but hideously funny) `goodness gracious me' readings, Kaveh Bazargan surely got the most applause.