My sister recently told me about a poetry contest called the Floral Games, which was referenced in a commencement address by poet Billy Collins (alas, no relation, though I would take my brother, father, and grandfather — Williams all — over any other Billy Collins around).
I finally had the chance to do a tiny bit more research on the Floral Games today. Turns out they have a long history, going back to the 1300’s (at least according to Wikipedia… like I said, a tiny bit of research).
The more modern form of the Floral Games, held in the Basque region during the mid-1800’s, offered three main prizes. The prize for the most patriotic poem was a sweet briar made of gold, and for the best religious poem a silver violet was awarded.
But the highest honor of all, for the greatest love poem, was an actual rose.
Isn’t that just lovely?