Published on March 10th, 2013 | by msalt

The SymmyS Awards

I’ve written before about how a “little dao,” some tangible skill you master, can lead to the Big Dao. It doesn’t have to be something mystical like martial arts or Japanese tea ceremonies; Chuang Tzu talks about a lowly butcher, an archer, and a wheel maker taking this path.

Well, one of my little daos is the writing of palindromes, sentences that read the same backwards and forwards. This weekend, my long-running magazine The Palindromist is holding the first ever Oscars of reversible words, the fabulous SymmyS Awards for outstanding achievement in palindromy, in Portland, Oregon.

Every competitor in last year’s World Palindrome Championship is involved, plus a handful of talented newcomers who are making very strong showings — a computer technician from Indiana, a professional bassoonist from Salt Lake City, a high school math teacher, and a tap dancing saxophonist who will perform at the awards ceremony. The judges are basically every star we could think of with any connection to palindromes — Will Shortz, Demetri Martin, “Weird Al” Yankovic, comedian Jackie Kashian, John Flansburgh (half of the Grammy-winning band “They Might Be Giants”), journalists Jack Rosenthal and Ben Zimmer, and palidndromists Tim Van Ert (Timi Imit) and Jeff Grant (of New Zealand).

So here we have the finalists, 40 brand new palindromes, all of which debuted in 2012. You won’t find my name on the list of entrants, as I run the magazine that is sponsoring all of this. Besides, I’m already the World Palindrome Champion, according to Will Shortz, so it’s time to let someone else shine a while.

2012 SymmyS Award Nominees

10 finalists in each of four categories

Category 1. Short Palindromes

A. Untitled, by Martin Clear

To last six epochs in a den, one Danish cop exists a lot.

B. Untitled, by Ray Stein
Hell – it’s all an if, a final last ill, eh?

C. A slightly violent to-do list, by Jon Agee
Tape Roger.
Go “Bang!”
Get Cello.
Collect egg.
Nab Ogre.
Gore Pat.

D. Untitled, by Martin Clear
But as God lived to bore us silly, did a mad idyll issue robot devil-dogs a tub?

E. Musing, by Anne Tenna
I tan. I mull. In a way, Obama, I am a boy – a wan Illuminati.

F. Facebook Photo, by Lori Wike
Hag’s mug on net: torrid, a nadir, rotten, no gums, gah!

G. Untitled, by Martin Clear
I made Rihanna hirsute, familiar, frail: I’m a fetus Rihanna hired, am I?

H. Igloo dialogue, by John Agee
An igloo costs a lot, Ed!
Amen. One made to last! So cool, Gina!

I. Untitled, by Anne Tenna
“Ottoman Empire: We rip men!” (a motto).

J. Untitled, by Martin Clear

Category 2. Word Unit Palindromes

A) By John Connett

Fishing for excuses? No need. You need no excuses for fishing.

B) By Dave Morice (Poetry Comics, poet-activist)
There are treasures beyond dreams for you opening worlds of books
when you find and you lose yourself in time and space
where freedom of reading
reading of freedom
where space and time in yourself lose you and find you
when books of worlds opening you for dreams beyond treasures are there.

C) By Nick Montfort
“Pull the trigger, studly! Be her pick up man!” “Man up!” “Pick her!” “Be studly!” “Trigger the pull!”

D) By Martin Clear

“In men, epileptic fits show drama queens up,” charged some yet-to-confess idiots other idiots confess to, yet some charged-up queen’s drama show fits epileptic men in.

E) By Nick Montfort

You can lampoon Harvard, can’t you, but you can’t, Harvard Lampoon, can you?

F) By John Connett

Prick your finger? Mother your goose? No, Sir, No! Goose your mother, finger your prick!

G) By John Connett

Grub for work? You bum – you work for grub!

H) By John Connett

Park car (Model A) in a model car-park.

I) By Aric Maddux

You swallow pills for anxious days and nights, and days, anxious for pills, swallow you.

J) By Martin Clear

Wind broken clocks with those “have nots” … have those with clocks broken wind?

Category 3. Palindromic Poetry (title might or might not be part of the palindrome)

A) Moth ash, by Steven Fraser

Too sere moths
– Ah! To meld –
Arcing in ebony.
A sign?

I wish to melt
Till – little moths –
I wing.

I say ‘No!’
Benign, I cradle moth ash to
Mere soot

B) untitled haiku, by James Adrian

Enola draws dell
If Reed’s pool flows, as wolf loops
Deer-filled sward alone

C) A Moral Law, by Ray Stein

Trample hate.
Snub no pals,
Nor tamp March self Madness.
Yell, “avoid ardor”.
Track cars.
Soldier a Web.
Nix ale.
Redo considerable verse.
Sort egos.
Don a retro.
Poses repel amateurs.
Ref foe rift.
Fight a matador.
Plod in a passion.
Trade revered art . . no!
Is sap an idol?
Prod at a math gift.
Fire offers.
Rue tamale per se.
So porter an od.
So get roses.
Revel bared is no code.
Relax inward.
Beware ID loss.
Rack car.
Trod radio valleys.
Send AM flesh cramp matron,
Slap on bun.
Set a help mart.
Wall aroma.

D) Kayak, by Anne Tenna

Oh, ocelots impugn; I tan.
A meek Alaska yak kayaks a lake,
emanating up mist, Ole. Coho!

E) litigation can leave wounds, by Ray Stein

Wart I dialed is not new.
Wall life of data due.
Feud a tad, foe fill law.
Went on side, laid it raw.

F) Drome Poem 1, by Ray Stein

Revel costs a passel,
Less atoner ever.
I revere no tassel,
Less a past so clever.

G) Drome Poem 2, by Ray Stein

Moody memory ran
On a mate-melt tomb.
Mottle met a man,
O, nary Rome, my doom.

H) Internal Terrorism, by Anne Tenna

Doom? Reward?
A maniac ire made target.
Ah, a mix — a mania, terror on Ohio.
I honor or retain a maxim:
“A hate grated America in a mad, rawer mood.”

I) Images of Time, by Steven Fraser

Spools emit timed loop.
Metaverses rev−
A temenos
Till unmet system we defile:

Vaginae, coronae,
Code-born aminos in universes’ rev−
A tempo old.

…Lost in robe regal
…It raced, untended
…New as birth, gill, animal foot

…Oh photo of laminal light!…
…Ribs a wended net
…Nude cartilage
…Reborn, it’s old.

Loop metaverses rev in unison

…I, Man, robed ocean, or
…Ocean, I gave life.
…Dew-met system;
…Null, it’s one.

Metaverses rev
–a tempo old–
Emit time’s loops

J) Pure Veneer From An Enemy (a sonnet), by Martin Clear

“Ten nosy men, enamor-free, never upstir
Even satin opuses”, says some gal
Lips parted inside dire droops: award to her
USA’s award: nuts, goddess, I know I shall!
A wisp of UFO warding is all it sees
Zones I rate got some medic I used on mode
Robots sap some memos and see bees
DNA some memos pass to boredom node.
Suicide memos to get a risen Oz
See, still a sign I draw of UFO psi
Wallahs I won kissed dogs; tundra was
A sure hot draw as poor derided I.
Snide traps pillage mossy asses upon it
As never its “pure veneer from an enemy” sonnet.

Category 4. Long Palindromes (title might or might not be part of the palindrome)

A) STAR WARS, RAW? RATS!, by Nick Montfort

Wow, sagas!

Solo’s deed, civic deed.

Eye dewed, a doom-mood.

A pop …

Sis sees redder rotator.

Radar eye sees racecar X.

Dad did rotor gig.

Level sees reviver!

Solo’s deified!

Solo’s reviver sees level …

Gig rotor did dad!

X, racecar, sees eye.

Radar rotator, redder, sees sis …

Pop a doom-mood!

A dewed eye.

Deed, civic deed.

Solo’s sagas: wow.

B) On My Gym, by Ray Stein

Tall “Abes” abate, spun adages.
Sold as “ten animal’s” battle.
Bet a passel on pals, all ace.
Won, deep shots all in, eras gel.
Note, note, no tie.
Blast cider.
Press a play.
Old loft, safe nab.
Spots one lb.
Bird dog one man.
Stats, put up stats.
Name no “god dribble”.
No stops, bane fast fold.
Loyal passer predicts,
Albeit one TO.
Net on, legs are nil, last oh speed.
No, we call a slap, no less a pate belt.
Tab slam in a net.
Sad loss, egad an upset.
. . a baseball at my gym? No!

C) SUPER BOWL XLVI, by Barry Duncan

We now open: “O say” as is. So belt it now, hon, or if one more? Her! A rare KC. (I know.)
Had NE revenge, Bill, or no? W? On top? Same?
To get a flag: Ellis. Tip it! Won’t Osi? One to NY. (Name it now.) NE position: on one.
Curt et al? Aces all. It’s on! Turn a FOX on.
War day, eh? Din. Oh, sure. Now, as if it’s a Feb. 5 SB. Tame?!
Set. Is opposition we felt? It’s so. Two: NY v. NE.
(No risk, nor gain.)
I. Red. Now. Hut! I note: Ball up. No! Wide! Rah!
Seen Kraft (On), Mara (foot), ST (is a hero).
Tom era: W, an ad. Still? Or met Eli?
Madonna fan? Nod. Am I!
Let ‘em roll. It’s Dan (a Ware). Motor, eh?
As it’s too far? Am not far. Knee.
Shared? I won? Pull. A bet on it? Uh, wonderin’ –
I a Gronk, sir. On! Envy?
Now toss. Title? Few. No, it is opposites: EM, a TB’s 5.
Be fast! If I saw one rush on, I’d –
Hey, a draw! (No XO, fan.) Rut? No, still a sec.
A late truce? No, no, no! It is open. Won? Tie? Many note, no? Is OT now.
Tip? It’s illegal. (Fate got ‘em.) A spot. Now on roll.
(I beg: Never end.)
Ah! Won! Kicker a rare hero. Men of iron (oh!) won title, boss. I say: as one. Pow! One W.

D) Eric and Traci discuss the morality of watching cross-dressers, by Martin Clear

“Traci, to regard nine men in drag,” Eric (in a play or an ironic art spot) warned, “I am not so bad.”
“I’d never even seen knees … never even did a Boston maiden raw,” tops Traci, “nor in a royal panic. I regard nine men in drag – erotic art.”

E) (at a crossword tournament), by Barry Duncan

“7, no? Do! Past I? How? Oh, now I spat! Fired, no?
Will: a foe? Not! Ah, then a fair event now (i.e., solid).
One tilt on Sat (oh!), Sun. It is “7 across: Orca.”
7 sit in. Us. Hot as not. Lite. Nod.
I lose? I won’t! Never!
I: a fan, eh? That one, of all.*
I wonder if: Taps? I won? How?
(Oh, it’s “a pod” on 7.)”

F) VALENDROME, by Barry Duncan

Revere her, eh? Won’t eye? No.
On dew I sit.
I wonder how a rose so let a desire rule it?
‘Til lips met, solos.
I won kiss?
A plan: If a (red, no?) petal be, was sent, I was told…
Feb. 14.
1 be fond? Lots.
(A witness. A web.)
Late. Ponder a final pass.
I know, I so lost ‘em.
Spill it.
Tie lure. Rise. Date. Lose. (So raw.)
Oh, red? Now it is.
I wed no one. Yet. Now. Here. (Her.) Ever.

G) A Fall From Grace, by Ray Stein

Even on Eve …
Sin is as a sin is.

Set Adam, God, even Eve (nude man!).
Now lived all at serene den.
One drag, an evil to note lurks (ire note).

Go get Satan, Eve, to help pass a dab a red.
Now on, fool Adam. Sin is, do get all, a ‘Fall’ ate.
God’s in, is mad, aloof.
No wonder, a bad ass apple hot, even a taste.

Go get one risk rule: To not liven a Garden on Eden.
Ere . . stall . . a Devil won.
Named uneven, Eve dogma dates.

Sin is as a sin is, even on Eve.

H) ATTA, by Martin Clear

Evil … a den rubbed apart … animals!, I say,
Art roped in senile non-ideas I’ve ’til eons pass to fly from.
Sin, air a bra, be vile, rut! An edifice’s animals I’m raw forever of e.g. a minaret laid low, or got revenge.
‘My, a waste?’ – Joy!
An Arab animal sign is sideline storm, or fed ammo? Deer feed raw, an Arab not.
So banish a rot. Set ice, renotify American go-crews:
nab, muddle, harass, worry, trammel some who say “doom to Iran” in a bar!
USA saw her awe’s usury trample her US lair/totem.
A crew snared, lock radar off. Low, eh? Time to taste gall, ire – ugh!
Sit, urbane men in rut, as foretastes sure of aim are now on-delivered. Art, sure … Wotan art, I say. Doom.
Lo, dissent: I witness 767s to deliver enemy doom.
For I, a hero, open intense vile vastness.
God for one day.
Ransoms I get are power.
Can Woden, Ogre, Wotan I.D. evil, eh?
Net fools send a set: “is not felt I’m enemy” … ’til aerodyne uneven impact!
Ah, ten ODs! Deed deified. Erased.
I – a wolf at a demo, held dumb – bell a cat!
I – meek – over-awe!
Piled at a door, bodies.
O made-sure voodoo god, I, Atta, I do good!
O over-used amoral US nisei:
do brood at a deli,
plan race war,
emit a call,
Muddle home data flow, aides.
Are deified deeds done that cap mine?
Venue: NY. Do reality men emit, left on site, sadness? Lo, often.
He lived in a tower gone down.
A crew operate gismos: nary a den.
Or of dogs sent: save lives? Net nine … poor, eh?
Air of moody men, ere vile dots – 767s sent – I witness.
Idol, moody as it ran a tower: US trade reviled, now one ram.
I, a foe; russet sater of saturnine men. A brutish guerilla gets a totem: I, the wolf.
For a dark colder answer came to trial: sure, help martyr us. Use war, eh!
Was a sura ban in a riot? Moody as, oh, we Moslem martyr rows?
Sara held dumb answer cognac ire may fit.
One recites Torahs in a Boston bar; an awardee.
Freedom made from rot, senile, dissing Islam in a bar.
An A1 19yo jets away – Meg – never to grow old.
I alter an image forever of warm Islam.
In a sec, if I denature, live barbarianism or fylfots.
Saps, no elite, visaed in one line, snide, portray as Islam:
In a trap, a deb burned alive.

I) Four Clausal Views, by Barry Duncan
Santa as traveler, visitor, employer, and lover

Oh. Oh. Oh, a hero (N, S, W, E) freed.
I wonder: It’s an eve. One.
Nod, NORAD? A radar on.
Done? No.
Even as tired now (I, deer), few snore. Ha!
Ho ho ho!

Pace room, can I?
Saw a T. Nast Santa.
Was in a C. Moore cap.

Tense yet
Safe boss.
It’s a Claus,
Usual cast.
Is so, be fast:
Eyes net.

Harem? Missus.
I tire. Her?
It is us. Simmer. Ah.

J) Palindromic Conversation Between Annoying Little Kid and
Dismissive Father Who Is Trying To Read A Newspaper, by Martin Clear

Start now, eh?
A war of eponymy?
Never even a plus?
Can a Celt sop an anaconda, Dad?
Can an apostle can a consul, Pa?
Even eponymy?
For a war, even?
He won’t.

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About the Author

Mark Saltveit is a writer, standup comedian, skimboarder and dad based in Middlebury, Vermont. His improv show "Palindrome Fight!" will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Aug. 5-29th 2022 at the Kilderkin Pub, 67 Canongate, at 7:30pm each night except Tuesdays.

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