Tamara Drewe, clerihew

click picture to read

Quick! While it’s still just a book!

I confess it: I’ve always loved Posy Simmonds. Here in Baroque Mansions we have a few of her books, going back years, and we used to read with great happiness the column in the Guardian where Tamara Drewe began (almost at the same moment as we moved into Baroque Mansions, as it happens). We used to read it even with bemusement: it was too quirky, too interesting, too witty a thing to be in the paper, surely? Too sophisticated? Based on Hardy – Far From the Madding Crowd, to be precise – it mashes up English literary tradition with Aga sagas, a schadenfruede-tinted view of writery gossip and cartooning – makes graphic novels a ladies’ game – and is both gentle and sharply incisive, with a dark streak, funny jokes, and naughty bits. You can still read the original columns, all 101 of them, online.

And now it’s going to be a movie! Frankly, we’re dubious. It opens on Friday and will be in a cinema near you, I’m sure.


But in the meantime, I’m going to set you a competition. The task is to write a clerihew on the name “Tamara Drewe” (which, as you see, very cleverly rhymes with “clerihew”) – or on some element of the story (which as above you can read for free online) or its relation to Thomas Hardy or the English countryside in literary tradition, or novels about writers. That’s not so hard, is it? I’m into clerihews at the moment, and I’m crudely using you, my readers, as a feed source.

Remember that with clerihews the keys are perfect rhyme, lack of metrical agreement, and not too much information. Here is a sample to get you going:

always wore a cardi.
Tamara Drewe’d
rather be nude.


Yes! We have a prize. I have been sent, by the very kind and generous Jonathan Cape, a signed copy of the book of Tamara Drewe, which I will send to the writer of the winning clerihew. It’s nice and big and full of Posy Simmonds drawings.

Clerihews in the comments box, please: I will nominate an impartial person, if I can find one, to choose the winner on Friday.


David W. Landrum September 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Here are two attempts, for what they’re worth:

would not fuck on camera.
Tamara screwed
but to allude.

Tiger Woods
saw her, though he could.
Tamara Drewe
refused to join his crew.

Simon R. Gladdish September 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Dear Katy

How about this?

‘Tamara Drewe
Was a damn good screw
But she couldn’t feel
Because she wasn’t real.’

Best wishes from Simon

Jammyshark September 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Tamara drawn
Is close to porn,
My thoughts
Are on those shorts

Simon R. Gladdish September 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Dear Katy

I think I’ve improved it slightly:-

‘Tamara Drewe
Was a damn good screw
But she couldn’t squeal
Because she wasn’t real.’

Best wishes from Simon

Tim Turnbull September 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Tamara Drewe
stood in some cow poo.
Happily the manure
only increased her allure

to dogs.

Simon R. Gladdish September 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

Dear Katy

I’ve just thought of a variation:-

‘Tamara Drewe
Was an ideal screw.
She made men swoon
Despite being a cartoon.’

Best wishes from Simon

anne September 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Tamara Drew
must have had a few
when she chose
to put peas up her nose

msbaroque September 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Thank you Anne – the first unpornographic one. Keep ‘em coming, everybody!

edwardmackay September 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm

If Thomas wrote what Posy Drewe…

If Hardy wrote Tamara,
he’d have left her nose unjobbed to mar her. Otherwise she’d be much the same
but with something like Bathsheba as her name.

edwardmackay September 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Not sure what’s happened to the formatting there – linebreak at “her. / Otherwise” (obviously)

Jammyshark September 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Tamara, first draughted,
Then shot and shafted.
My fears about Frears
Have lasted for years

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