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Category : Bad Poetry
Great news: The 2012 Bad Poetry Contest is here!
As you know, each day here on the blog we offer wisdom and thoughts on the business and careers of writing. And over the last six years, it’s proven helpful enough that Writers Digest has again named us one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. But one week each May (the week of my birthday), we take a week off from the business to continue a wonderful longstanding tradition of creating truly awful poems. All you have to do is go to the bottom of this post, hit “comments,” and leave your bit of doggerel. The rules are simple:
1. Don’t sent me a birthday poem. That’s not the point. Anyone who sends in “Happy Birthday o’ Chip o’ mine, hope this finds you well and fine” will be banned for life.
2. Write a truly bad poem.
That’s pretty much it. We want to see your poetic soul. The rotten rhymes, the horrible haikus, the crappy couplets, the stupid cinquains, the execrable epics. We’re after flatulent free verse, sorry sonnets, putrid petrarchan, rachitis rondeau, sickly sestina — um, okay, you get the picture. A quick view back over previous winners reveal such treasures as Blind Puppy on the Freeway, Walleye Eludes Me, and Krziette, which contains this memorable line: “Krziette, your love for me was like lowing of she-goats in spring, when bald sparrows alight on budding bushes.” It’s that sort of deepfulness that will cause you to win.
And there WILL be a winner, of course. Each year, we select a truly fabulous grand prize (previous winners have included a lava lamp, a home-tattoo kit, a 45 record of Neil Diamond singing “I Am, I Said,” and a copy of the immortal self-published tome “How to Good-Bye Depression”). This year’s collectible super-prize will be THE LADY GAGA STYLE BIBLE, which should hold wide appeal to all trampy girls,
While Chip is vacationing in Hawaii, look for posts from the rest of the MacGregor Literary staff. Not surprisingly, “Favorite Books” is the topic of choice for our crowd of book lovers. Don’t be afraid to chime in with your thoughts on these top picks.
Sandra Bishop is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary, Inc. and represents fiction and nonfiction authors in multiple genres and with varying levels of publication background. She was recently named Vice President of the agency.
When I was growing up, my grandmother always kept a copy of GONE WITH THE WIND by her chair. Always.
When she needed to put her feet up and rest from her work, she would grab it and read a passage—it rarely mattered where she’d left off. She didn’t use bookmarks. She’d just pick it up and “visit with Scarlett,” sometimes out loud.
I have a fondness and appreciation for the commercial success of Ms. Mitchell’s book, of course, but mostly my fondness is driven by how much the book reminds me of someone I loved dearly. I consider it one of my most fav-o-rite treasures, though I hesitate to leave it out in its condition. It lives on my bookshelf, its pages tattered and torn, and its cover made over with a scrap of wallpaper from Grandma’s last kitchen.
I’ve heard it said that if it were being sold today, it would never make it. Too much description. Pacing problems, etc. But that’s another blog post for another day, perhaps by someone who has read it more recently than have I.
I may not have inherited grandma’s everyday huger for tales of Tara, but I did retain her habit of reading a passage of a favorite book on occasion—just picking it up and thumbing to a random spot to read for a bit. It’s been awhile, though, since I’ve allowed myself the joy of stopping
The 2010 Bad Poetry Contest is now complete, and let me just state that this is further evidence of the rampant use of illegal drugs in this country. We have a number of weiners…
THE EVIL WIND AWARD goes to James L Rubart ("The Great Rudini") for this bit o' badness:
The wind came softly, like a cat crawling up on top of my head and settling down for the afternoon,
It wooed me from my complacency, from my depths of malcontent, from my moment of melancholious daydreaming,
It brought upon its unseen arms a dandelion spore which danced upon my ear, carrying with it the promise that spring had arrived and would not be leaving soon,
I stretched forth my hands and embraced my cousin, my brother, myself, my soul,
You read that, and you just realize Jim should never have broken that particular wind. Speaking of foul winds, Betty Castleberry won this year's coveted WORST WINDY CRUD AWARD with a doozy entitled "Life Wind"…
The wind blows life my way
And deposits stuff in my hair
Like molded sprinkly things on doughnuts
But not just in my hair
It leaves trash in my soul
In the deepest, most private part of my soul
Where nothing, not even the wind, should ever go.
But now it is there
Like some kind of armed intruder
With a big, evil weapon
A weapon that has spikes
And shoots bullets, too
A weapon that will not let me rest
And keeps me awake almost every night
My torment is awful
I just can't explain how awful
But it is a little bit like
Smelling a skunk
Or watching somebody
Self-pierce their navel
Will this black wind ever cease,
Or am I doomed to
Rancid skunk smells forever?
So here's your last reminder… Tuesday is my birthday, and the last official day to enter our annual Bad Poetry Contest. The next day we'll pick a winner, and go back to answering your questions about books and publishing. If you'd like to jump in, today's the day. Just jump to the "comments" section and offer your worst. -chip
Your entries are not being erased! At the bottom of the "comments" section is a small arrow in gold (looks like this: >> ). Just click on that and it'll take you to the next section of bad poetry. Sorry — I do my blog on typepad, and people always have a hard time figuring out why their comment doesn't show up. They think I erased them, but I erase nothing. Join in — go to the comments section and send us your bad poem! -chip
Bad poetry lives!
That's right, the time has come once again to put away childish things and break out with verbal arm farts. Stop the wordsmithing madness and start constipating on wrong rhythms and awful word choice. The 2010 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… and very stupid. 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 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.) Another year it was a very special book that had been sent to me in hopes of finding representation: Does God Speak Through Cats? 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
So today is my birthday — I hit the big Five-Oh, and I’m celebrating by holding my nose and pouring over all the really bad poetry that faithful readers have sent to my 2008 Bad Poetry Contest. My friends took me to J.K. O’Donnel’s Irish Pub for some inspiration, so let me offer some quick thoughts…
-Most of you really suck at this. I mean, really. You’re great sports for taking part, of course, but you need to know that poetry is not in your future. Trust me on this.
-A few rose above the badness and actually had nice rhymes and good images. You were immediately disqualified. (My son Colin sent in a 28-liner that actually rhymed and offered the image of "this violent reek in my nose hair." Sorry, son, but to craft truly BAD poetry you’d have skipped the rhyme and focused more on the cat poo.)
-Why is it that limericks make us smile? And why is it that nobody can really take a limerick seriously? I mean, Shakespeare never wrote limericks, did he? ("Forsooth and anon from Nantucket…")
-When will bad poets realize that rhyming couplets get really annoying after the first two lines? Egad. Once I got by the lines like "Happy Birthday Chipperoo, You are really full of poo," I wanted to smack the author with a stick. (Take note, Paulette Harris: "Happy birthday to you, woo woo woo" is not actually a "poem" — it’s more like a "bad idea.")
-While I’m at it, when will poets realize that most haiku is awful? I mean, the faux depth is laughable. Just creating the dumbest haiku imaginable will probably put you into the Poetry Hall of Fame.
-I’d like to point out that Kelly Klepfer offered us a rap. A RAP! Kelly will be mistaken for a rapper the day after PEOPLE Magazine names me to their list of "50 Sexiest Men." White
Don’t wait until the last minute — now’s your chance to show off that lack of talent!
Give us your wretched rhymes, your lousy limericks, your hurtin’ haiku. Every year at this time I celebrate my birthday by hosting the Bad Poetry Contest. We’ve got some absolute stinkers this year — poems about monkeys in cages, acrostics about casseroles, and "fearsome fanged sparrows from the cliffs of Aldu-Hazziz." In other words, these are bad. Terrible. Rotten to the core. Just the way we like ’em. We even had one woman reveal that the love of her life looked her in the eye and told her, "They look like big blue bowling balls." (Um… it should be noted she THOUGHT the guy was talking to her about her eyes.) And to top it off, two of my students took time away from their end-of-the-semster studies to rhyme "final" with "vinyl." Does my heart proud to know I’m discipling two young up-and-coming bad poets.
Last year’s winner was "Blind Puppy on a Freeway," which offered this inspiring chorus:
Love, love, love, love
Love, love, love
I don’t know. Whenever I read those words (sniff), there’s just something (sniff) that touches me (snort) RIGHT HERE (honk!). [For the sake of potential children reading this blog, we won’t be showing pictures.]
Anyway, here’s your chance. Rage. Emote. Show us your deepfulness. Greatness awaits. (So does a copy of Does God Speak Through Cats, which is this year’s Grand Prize Selected Especially For You.) My 50th Birthday is Sunday, when I hope to be picking a winner, assuming I can still read and I’m not overcome by the fumes.
No doubt you’ve been waiting all year for me to host my annual BAD POETRY CONTEST at MacGregor Literary. Next week is my birthday (a big one — I hit the big Five-Oh), 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. That’s right – You can be published! Right now! On my blog! Aren’t you just wetting your pants in anticipation?
It can be a crappy couplet, a crummy bit of 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.
Warning: This is not a "birthday blog." So don’t feel you have to write a poem about birthdays. It’s just your chance to share your true deepfulness and reflectiveosity. You’re an artist — go art.
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 you poets — in fact, I was once accused of being sensitive, and have occasionally been forced to reflect on something, until I could grow up and get over it. Therefore, I’ve set aside the next few days just for you. Write! Create! Sit and contemplate your navel! Do…um…whatever it is