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Category : Bad Poetry
Like watching a kid you don’t like fall down a set of stairs, all good things must come to an end. And we here at your Bad Poetry Contest Headquarters are facing the end of the line — our time for sharing deep thoughts and showing off our sensitive side is ending. We can now go back to being arrogant, know-it-all agent jerks. With that ending, we must select one wiener from the bunch (er… “winner”) and proclaim him or her the Bad Poetry King or Queen (or, if like so many people in North Carolina, they don’t know their gender, we’ll name them “the Bad Poetry Quing” — since we want everyone to feel comfortable).
The poems have been posted, the wisdom shared, the emotions emoted. There were some wonderful entrants this year. We had Stephanie Yuhas (who in real life works for “Mystery Science Theater”) mulling her old keys. Marie Prys, a wonderful editor, pondering the deep mysteries of a dog park. And Jim Gullo, sniffing feet while ruminating on the smell of “Earth Mother Bisquick.” Who can forget Lydia revealing she is “100% certified lonesome and there is no remedy; my weepful-juices are sloshing off my cheeks.” That’s right. Weepful-juices. Brilliant. And Tricia, who noted that she could “smell the inside of her head,” then gazed into the bleary eyes of her lover, only to find them “blue. Blue as toilet bowl cleaner.” That brilliant image sticks with me, like the tissue that just won’t go away no matter how many times you flush.
Those are all truly Bad Poems, offered with grace and, frequently, the use of heavy medication. I believe all of these entrants deserve you to look them in the eye and say, “Yes. You’re sensitive artists. Now go away or I’ll call the police.”
But, of course, we wouldn’t have been able to bring you our Bad Poetry Contest for ten years (TEN
It’s your last chance… If you’re a Bad Poet, you can achieve some small measure of fame by entering our tenth annual Bad Poetry Contest. But it ends this week!
A bit of history: Every year, on the week of my birthday, we take a break from talking books and publishing, and we focus on Bad Poetry. The lousy rhyme schemes, the faux depth, the aura of “look at how sensitive I am,” and we just let it all hang out there. So if you, too, are a Bad Poet, I extend my personal invitation to go to the comments section and let us see your worst. Lousy limericks, crappy couplets, horrible haiku, freaking-lousy free verse… it’s all there, waiting for you, like a warm glass of milk at the end of a hot day.
So don’t delay — start emoting now! Drop in and share some of your Bad Self. This year’s winner gets a huge prize: a genuine, autographed edition of my Y2K Family Survival Guide (the book that saved western civilization as we know it). What do you have to lose except your Monday morning blues? Stop in and dump your deep thoughts, people!
I know you’ve been waiting all year for me to host my 10th annual BAD POETRY CONTEST at the blog — so here is another reason to go on living. One week from today is my birthday, and I always try to celebrate by inviting all the bad poetry my friends can muster. Just go to the bottom of this blog, hit “comments,” and post some lousy piece of doggerel as your way of joining in the celebration. It can be a crappy couplet, a crummy free verse, a lousy limerick (let’s stay away from rhyming with the city of “Nantucket”), or any other ditty you create that shows what a sensitive and thoughtful artist you are, when you don’t happen to be worrying about your lack of a book contract or whining about the bad job of marketing your publisher is doing for you.
For those not in the know, this contest grows from my belief that every poet has the same message, which can be subtly summed up this way: “LOOK AT ME! I AM SENSITIVE AND REFLECTIVE AND NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME! SO I’LL SHOW THEM HOW DEEP I AM BY WRITING POETRY!” (Feel free to edit that statement if you’re truly deep and meaningful.) I want you to know that I’m here for all you poets. In fact, I was once accused of being sensitive, and have occasionally been forced to reflect on something — that is, until I could grow up and get over it. Therefore, I’ve set aside the next week just for you. Write! Create! Sit and contemplate your navel! Do…um…whatever it is you poets do while the rest of us are out earning a living. Then send in your bad poetry! There are no rules, except that you don’t send in “birthday” poems. This isn’t a celebration of me aging — it’s a celebration of terrible writing, of faux depth, of deepful meaningness.
Bad Poetry rules. One day those weenies who run the Pulitzer Prizes will wake up, realize they’ve been wasting their time with serious poets who want to write about stuff like “meaning” and “loneliness” and “reconciliation,” and instead they’ll realize there are a BUNCH of bad poets out there. People with no discernible skill. People with the depth of a potato chip. People who want to write bad poetry about squelching a slug with salt, or washing the dishes at mom’s house, or shooting zombies. In other words, my kind of people.
So this year I’m not quite able to convey a Pulitzer to the winner… but I do have a copy of Hiroyuki Nishigaki’s celebrated self-published book, How to Good-bye Depression: If you constrict anus 100 time everyday. Malarky? or Effective way? (Look it up. That’s the correct title and subtitle, complete with errors.) Many people in publishing believe it may be the worst self-pubbed title ever sold on Amazon. One chapter is titled “Erase your badf stickiness and multiply various good feeling.” Another has this surefire title: “Stare, shoot out immaterial fiber, ucceed in concentrating, behave with abandon-largess-humor and beckon the spirit.” (A favorite chapter of mine. Complete with the word “ucceed.”) Anyway, this year’s lucky winner will receive their own fabulous copy. Try not to be jealous. (oh… the photo. That is a sandwich grilling machine that embeds the face of Christ into your sandwich. It’s called the “Grilled Cheez-ez.” It has nothing to do with the Bad Poetry Contest, but seemed somehow appropriate.)
In third place is this bit of deepfulness from Christ Eleiott, how much pizza, which he notes is to be read in a breathy tone, with annoying peaks and valleys:
Children walk on the moon.
Why will we never see Jonathan?
Why does grandma eat cake for breakfast?
Pino key can unlock
This week is a special, heart-touching time of year, when all young writers turn to thoughts of bad poetry. That’s because, each year at this time, we take a week to celebrate my birthday — not with cards, not with songs, not with cutesy memes on Facebook that will make me want to gag. Instead, here we do the more creative thing… we create bad poetry. The badder, the better.
A note about bad poetry: Some people just don’t get it. They seem to think we’re making fun of great poets. No indeed. We’re making fun of ALL poets. Those who think they are deep. Those who want to show they’re smarter than you. Those who rhyme “love” with “dove,” “glove,” and “above.” And most of all, those who call out, “Hey, look at me! I’m sensitive!” So the time has come once again to your bad poems. Stop the wordsmithing madness and start constipating on wrong rhythms and awful word choice. The 2015 Bad Poetry Contest is here!
For those not in the know, we deal with books and publishing 51 weeks out of the year, answering questions and offering insights to writers and those interested in the world of publishing. But one week out of the year (my birthday week), we set aside the topic of publishing in order to share something much deeper… much more meaningful… much stupid-er. In the old British tradition of offering something falsely deep yet with a veneer of thoughtfulness, we hold a Bad Poetry Contest. Each year the readers send in truly horrible poetry, then a team of experts (me…and sometimes Mike, if he’s sober and I can convince him to help) offers a thorough evaluation of each piece (“That sucks… but this sucks worse.”). Eventually we come up with a winner, who is presented with a truly fabulous Grand Prize. One year it was a lava lamp
This year’s Bad Poetry contest brought to light some truly terrible talent. Writers who spend their time creating thoughtful, sensitive novels can suddenly go all dark when trying to create something awful. So it’s tough to pick a winner when you’ve got so much Badness to sort through.
For example, Susan M Watkins’ Ode to Loade included this brilliant rhyme:
The Richter scale dost measure,
Like yon crashing chandelier,
Nary less support around me,
Than a 3-hook Sears brassiere.
And my buddy Eurovision provided this fantastic piece of bad poetry:
We’re Slavic girls, we know how to use our charming beauty
Now shake what your mama gave ya!
Clap your hands to this music
This is our nature, This is our call
This is our hot Slavic blood
Unfortunately, we had to disqualify the entry, since it turns out these are ACTUAL LYRICS TO A SONG on Eurovision (the European version of “America’s Got Talent,” it serves as sort of an Olympics for Bad Poets). Look for this from a finalist on American Idol soon.
Continuing the bad lines, Moon People Unite2 offered:
Lacerations are red,
contusions are blue,
a cliff, and a push,
and a fall from view.
It questions the validity of friendships.
Ya gotta admit, she makes you think. And The Emprys, in a truly bad poem, offered this:
You are like my table–except you have two legs, not four.
My table is aged, dented, and useful. TREASURED.
Shellacked glitter, cookie sprinkles, and leftover Mac-and-cheese linger.
Its face is a window to its soul. Like you.
You are like a poet, except you aren’t. And those aren’t even the winners! Sensitive artist Sandy Begtur gave us this big dollop of dross:
If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium.
Or piano lesson day.
Or spaghetti night.
It can’t be Wednesday
Or I’d remember where I am
Or what I ate, or what I did.
And I’d remember you,
So here we are on a Friday, and we’re going to wrap up our annual Bad Poetry Contest tomorrow. (In case you’re not part of the in-crowd, we do a Bad Poetry Contest the first week of May every year — my way of celebrating my birthday. And yes, I was born on Mother’s Day. My mom got twin boys that year, which is either a great or a terrible way to celebrate being a mom, I guess… but by the time we came along, she was already a mom a half-dozen times, so maybe there wasn’t that much celebrating left to do.) If you’ve not entered yet, you’re missing out on some great deep and wonderful crud. Examples from this year include this really bad poem from Sharyn:
She smelled like fried brisket
In effervescent chars of chicken finger
Good night to dreams of broken
Madness. And frustrated taste buds
She couldn’t control after
All we believed and never stopped
Tricks minds and melts hearts.
Farewell sweetness and salty old
She doesn’t smell like brisket
As far as I know.
Or this from MoonPeopleUnite:
Lacerations are red,
contusions are blue,
a cliff, and a push,
and a fall from view.
It questions the validity of friendships.
It’s that sort of deep and meaningful tripe we all want to attain in the contest. There’s also thisfrom Bad Poet Gina [WARNING: FOR MATURE BAD POETS ONLY]…
Oh love, forbidden love.
Like a forgotten camp fire that smolders in the forest
because you forgot to extinguish it.
Smolder, ignite, BURN
Fast and free… wild… FIRE
Burn, burn, burning across the meadow of my loins,
no chance to stop and quench the fire,
or I will burn, burn, BURN.
Just reading it makes me want to burn my computer screen! And there’s much more like that — Bad Poems about Alphonse the
So I got some great news today — I don’t have cancer. Yay! I’ve been waiting (semi) patiently while the labs were running their tests, but I got the news this evening — a nice phone call to get during one’s birthday week. It was a hard day — people fighting over blog posts, haggling with a contracts person, arguing over a movie project, and having to say some very hard things to someone we’ve worked with several times. Frankly, it was looking like a lousy day. But then, BANG! The phone call, and suddenly the birds are singing, the sun is shining (um… except that it’s night), God is in his heaven, and all is right with the world. Amazing how one’s perspective can change in an instant.
And what could make me feel better than a steamin’ pile o’ bad poetry? If you don’t know, we do this every year the first week of May — invite writers to send us their worst. Some of it rhymes, some of it is free verse, some was clearly written by people with drug dependencies. This is my unique way of celebrating my birthday. But don’t send me a birthday poem, or you’ll be disqualified (and possibly roughed up by the Poetry Police). Instead, we want poems that offer deepfulness, that reflect your struggling artistic side, that brings your true bad self out and parades it around for everyone to gag over.
And this year we’ve got a fabulous Grand Prize — an actual hard copy of MOON PEOPLE, the book voted as having the best reviews of any bad novel. (Check it out. I mean it. Go to Amazon and look up the 81 five-star reviews of MOON PEOPLE. They are brilliantly bad.) So what are you waiting for? Go to the COMMENTS section and give me your true bad self!
So HarperCollins is buying Harlequin, a couple people are claiming Barnes & Noble is going belly up soon, F+W Media is getting totally remade, the royalty reports for everyone are giving us hard news on publishing numbers, my friend Amanda is being raked over the coals for daring to reveal the dirty secret that some lawyers pad their numbers when working on book contracts, and Author Solutions is being sued by, um, nearly everyone in the Western Hemisphere, apparently. In the midst of all that noise, you know what you need?
That’s right… Bad Poetry. So thank goodness it’s our annual Bad Poetry Contest, which goes on the first few days each May, as my own little celebration for my birthday. Glad you’re here, and hope you’re coming to add to the badness. Just take a look at yesterday’s introduction, them jump into the comments section and offer your own heaping’ hunk o’ haiku. The winner will receive a fabulous grand prize of the worst-reviewed book on Amazon — which, you have to admit, is another reason to go on living. So get your coat and grab your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep. Just direct your feet, to the Bad Poetry side of the street!
Okay, everyone, set your questions for agents aside for a week, because THE MOST IMPORTANT WEEK IN THE PUBLISHING YEAR IS HERE AGAIN. I’m speaking, of course, about our annual Bad Poetry Contest — the time when writers, editors, agents, and publishers all come together to share their true inner selves, which are all bad. This isn’t just art. It’s a chance to reveal your true badness, by writing a wonderfully awful poem. (Let’s pause for a moment of silence.)
It’s my birthday week, and we celebrate on the blog the first week each May with bad poetry. So bring it on — your
horrible haiku, lousy limericks, terrible tankas, smarmy cinquains, awful acrostics, crappy couplets, dreadful diamontes, appalling acrostics… You get the picture (even if it’s clouded by my atrocious alliteration). For those not familiar, I’m a poet on the inside. Unfortunately, those poet genes seem to have decided to reside in my colon, so all the poetry is crappy. However, there’s a rich history of great writers creating awful poetry. Ogden Nash was wonderful at it. Dorothy Sayers tried her hand at it. PG Wodehouse once wrote, “With a hey nonny-nonny and a hot cha-cha, and the sound of distant moors…” (He did. Really.) You see, rather than droning on about the meaning of life, they understood that people who love great writing tend to take themselves too seriously. So every once in a while we need to sit down, relax, and let somebody whack us on the side of the head with a board. Here’s your chance to do some whacking.
This is all done because I don’t actually represent any poetry, since it can’t make me any money. And also because I’m just not deep enough to understand why someone looking at a stupid red wheelbarrow drenched with rainwater is supposed to be some sort of damn metaphor for life. (To me, a red wheelbarrow drenched