Okay, the time has come… My birthday is coming up soon, and that means it’s time for our Annual Bad Poetry Contest! Yes, try not to wet your pants in excitement as you think about coming up with some deep and meaningful tripe. For those of you not in the know, there is a longstanding tradition with British novelists for turning out truly bad poetry, and the cool kids in publishing take a few minutes each year to participate in my annual contest. (Don’t be left out.) So this is your chance to create something truly bad and get away with it. I want you to send it in — your rotten rhymes, your horrible haiku, your crappy couplets. This isn’t just a chance for you to churn out some doggerel that will make others nod politely while thinking, “geez — was he drinking heavily when he wrote this?” No, this is your chance to give us something truly awful — a piece of crud that make others run screaming from the room. A bit o’ deep thinking that will show the world just how deep and sensitive you really aren’t. A chance to create a poem that will stick like a stone in the kidney of your mind.
We do this every year, and if you go to the categories (over there –>) you can check out all the bad poetry others have sent in over the years. They include bad imagery, faux depth, and LOTS of terrible word choices. Just consider some sample bad poems…
The bad opening lines from Ben Erlichman’s A Fruit Soliloquy:
Alas, the moose, she has taken my bananas
And I can hear the sound of the wailing wind no longer.
The bad comparisons, such as this from Damian Farnworth: “I’m spicy like taco meat”
The bad imagery, including Kay Day’s thoughtful, “Someday I will once again walk in the brightness
We even have bad fake ethnic poetry, such as “Krzjette” by Hajid Kirduz Mesechnohech, which begins:
Krzjette, your love for me
was like lowing of she-goats in spring
when bald sparrows
alight on budding bushes.
But where we excel is in the truly bad, self-indulgent, hey-look-at-me-I’m-a-poet-and-in-pain type of work that share the true deepfulness and reflectivosity of all poets everywhere, evident in John Upchurch wretched hunk o’ words:
You see those periods? That’s how
Serious I am (and even on separate
Lines). My thoughts are so deep
That whole sentences
Cannot contain them–not even
Complex compound sentences
With and after and, but
So yes, we do this every year, asking readers to participate in the “comments” section so we can pick a weiner… er, I mean, a winner. Last year’s weiner, Fifi, gave us these memorable lines:
Bleat. Bleat now! Before the day is done. Before the dawn
turns to gray. It is not too late. Huddled masses. Hoofs. Hollers. Hope. Bleat
before the clock strikes one. The tolling bell of ending desire. Doom.
Doom of the bleating ones.
You’ve gotta admit, that sort of poetry just makes you want to bleat. And, of course, the REASON behind all this is that you’re trying to win the Grand Prize — a genuine copy of what has been called “the worst self-published book ever.” The title is How to Good-bye Depression, and is the product of that great writing mind Hiroyuki Nishigaki, who added to its fame by creating this winning subtitle: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Every Day. Malarky? or Effective Way? (No, I’m not making this up. That’s the subtitle. Complete with punctuation errors.) Chapters of the book include Erase your bad stickiness and multiply various good feeling, Save sex energy and rotate vortex, and my favorite chapter, Stare, shoot out immaterial fiber, uceed in concentrating, behave with abandon-largess-humor, and beckon the spirit. (I checked to make sure I had that one exactly as published — right down to the word “uceed.”) Let me just point out that I’m not only a huge fan of this book, I’ve long been in favor of rotating your vortex. I’m not as big on shooting out immaterial fiber, unless you’re out-of-doors and wearing the proper headgear. Anyway, this book can be ALL YOURS if you win the this year’s Bad Poetry Contest. So don’t delay, start consipating now!
1. Go to “comments” and drop your bad poem for all to see.
2. Don’t send me a birthday poem, unless you want me to slug you. Yeah, this is my way of celebrating. But “Happy Birthday oh Chip o’ mine, Hope this finds you well and fine” gets tired in a hurry.
3. Um… I don’t know if there ARE any other rules. I mean, you create a bad poem and post it in the “comments” section of this blog. How hard can that be? Any kind of poem is fine. Free verse, rhyming couplets, limericks — the key is that it needs to be BAD. (And by “bad” we don’t just mean “sort of stoopid.” We mean “falsely deep,” “annoyingly awful,” and “please-shoot-me-before-I-write-some-more treacle.”) We’re looking for bad imagery. Incorrect word choice. Irresponsible concepts. Awful metaphors. Smarmy tripe. We don’t just want dumb cutesyness — we want mind-numbingly BAD poetry!
So put on your stinking cap, and think up something rotten. It’s a tough job, but SOMEbody’s got to create bad poetry. You have been chosen. Feed your gift. The contest starts… NOW.