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 — the epitome of stupid cultural crud posing as something deep and thoughtful. Another year it was a very special book that had been sent to me in hopes of finding representation: Does God Speak Through Cats? And once it was a 45 record of Neil Diamond singing “I Am, I Said” (which contains these deep thoughts: “I am, i said, to no one there, and no one heard at all not even the chair.” Wow. Sing to me, Neil.) You see the theme here? We go for a mood of deepfulness and reflectivosity. And YOU need to participate.
This year’s Grand Prize? A copy of what has been called “the worst self-published book ever.” How to Good-bye Depression 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, of course, 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 2015 Bad Poetry Contest. So don’t delay, brethren and sisteren.
1. 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.
2. Use any form you want. This isn’t hard, people — you just 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-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.