Attention, Aficionados of Fine Bad Poetry

Friday, May 08, 2009

As an adolescent, I wrote quite a bit of poetry that, even now, I look back upon as being several cuts above the, well . . . adolescent. I stopped writing poetry when I married. Subsequent soul-searching led me to the conclusion that my verse had been tied up in my loneliness. No longer lonely, my muse fell out of use. In my recently-completed program for a masters degree in creative writing, I produced nary a poem.

However, what my MFA professors could not draw out of me, a blog competition has. Literary agent Chip MacGregor runs an annual Bad Poetry Contest. I took a class from Chip at Mount Hermon, in 2003, and read his blog regularly. I’m still a little miffed at him for not recognizing the brilliance of my entry last year. The poem has been up since last May for the thousands who read his blog, but I figure it’s time to share it with the tens (sometimes twelves) who read mine. Chip threw down the gauntlet with the assertion that

    There are only four words in the English language that rhyme with love: "Dove" and "Above" are the popular choices. "Shove" and "glove" don't really count. Use of the baby word "Wuv" can get you shot. (British citizens who enter are allowed to use the word "guv," as in "guv'nor," but don't push it. We Scots have been pushed around by you people long enough.)

I thought I deserved at least an honorable mention for expanding his list 0.4-fold with this entry:


    like a lot
    in a pot—
    rice and mutton
    (nice for gluttons).
    It warms your innards,
    even for beginners.

    “Mazel Tov!”
    A reset button
    When I’ve hit bottom.
    It turns plain sinners
    into winners.

This year, I’ve decided I won’t wait twelve months to share my poem here. I won’t even wait to hear if I won the Grand Prize lava lamp. So here is my 2009 (untitled) Bad Poem:

    this post-modern poem is self-referential
    bad as i hope it will be

    it won’t rhyme
    any time
    except by accident

    forward or



    it phlaunts its phreedom to dephy conventions
    boldly going where no poem has ever gone

    read it and weep

And if this one doesn’t win, I’ll cultivate a new bad poem for next year.


Terrible poem! Terrible, hahaha.

You've inspired me to share a corny joke poem--in Spanish nonetheless, the title is, "El Caminante":

Caminó, por el laberinto de las calles caminó
sin rumbo, sin desvío
del centro de la ciudad, caminó
por un impulso incierto, caminó
bajo el turbio cielo nocturno,
kilometros de dolores caminó,
hasta que las calles se volvieron vías destapadas
caminó, siguió caminando
ya por sendas indígenas
hasta que el fulgor de un lejano amanecer
se intimaba gris en el horizonte

y dejó de caminar.
Un presentimiento le corrió como hielo por las venas.
Los gallos parecían estar cantando su nombre,
pensó el señor Kokoricó...

Anonymous said...
May 8, 2009 at 10:39 PM  

Why don't "shove" and "glove" count? The CMU pronouncing dictionary suggests about "of" and "thereof", as well as "belove" and what I assume must be proper names: "vanhove", "o'glove", "deneuve". And I think Americans can use "gov" too, just in the compound "dot-gov".

serapio said...
May 8, 2009 at 11:12 PM  

So Jon, why is it that after reading your poem, what's calling to me is a plate of pollo asado y papas saladas? :)

And Lucien, "deneuve" is sufficiently associated with actress Catherine Deneuve that she won a court case forbidding its use as the name of a magazine for lesbians. It doesn't seem to have any other meaning. But I love "dot-gov." I won't be able to rest until I've plagerized it.

Brian said...
May 9, 2009 at 10:23 AM  

I admire your persistence with the contest, Dad! And I also admire that you wrote a poem about p'lov. Do you remember my poem about snails? Maybe I will drudge it up for you.

caedmonstia said...
June 10, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

Little snail on my path,
You come and go in trails of goo
But when you join me on my jaunts
How oft’ I find you on my shoe!

How oft’ I hear a sickening crack,
While strolling in the autumn rains,
And glancing down upon my sole,
How oft’ I’m faced with your remains.

caedmonstia said...
June 10, 2009 at 3:29 PM  

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