Our annual BAD POETRY CONTEST starts today!
May 2, 2014 | Written by Chip MacGregor
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 with rainwater needs to be wiped off, then used to haul manure. Preferably by someone else.) However, to the sensitive poetic types, that wheelbarrow represents life and struggle and solid American values like “the freedom to order both french fries AND a blooming onion” and “the freedom for junior high teachers to carry guns in the classroom, in case little Mikey pops off with more of his backtalk again.” You know what I mean, poets. Because you, like me, are sensitive and deep, thoughtful people. I’m filled with deepfulness. Sometimes I have so much thoughtfulosity that I make myself sick, just thinking up new metaphors for life. (Example: “Life is like a merry-go-round… they both have horses.”) And I want to share this gift with all of you, by inviting you to send me your bad poem.
The rules are simple:
1. There’s no birthday poetry allowed. This isn’t a chance to tell me how wonderful I am; it’s a chance to poke fun at yourself and others by giving us some truly awful art. So “Happy Birthday to my Nana, You are really top banana” will get you disqualified — and possibly wounded, if I ever run into you in a bar.
2. You take yourself seriously. (Check out the previous years’ badness by looking through the archives.) So if you send in “Roses are red, violets are blue,” the Poetry Police may show up at your door and beat you to a bloody pulp.
3. You write a bad poem and stick it in the “comments” section below. Um… that’s it. So what are you waiting for? Badness awaits!
Oh — this year, there’s another fabulous Grand Prize to the winner. Previous years have given us such great awards such as a lava lamp, a copy of the book HOW TO GOODBYE DEPRESSION (with the catchy subtitle “If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Every Day. Malarky? Or Effective Way?”), and once I actually gave away my copy of the Neil Diamond 45-record, “I Am, I Said,” since it contained the classic bad poetry lyrics: “I am, I said, to no one there, and no one heard at all not even the chair.” (Neil Diamond: Bad Poetry God.) This year’s fantabulous, not-to-be-missed Grand Prize? An actual printed copy of the novel MOON PEOPLE, which several people have said is simply the worst novel currently being sold on Amazon! If you’re interested, here’s how the author describes the book: “The story focuses on one Man by the Name of David Braymer and his adventures from High school teacher to 1st Science Officer on board the Lunar Base 1 Mobile Base Station and his encounters with Alien Life forms through out our universe and the space Battle of all battles David experiences.”
Who can resist that sort of temptation? And by the way, you owe it to yourself to go to Amazon and read the 81 five-star reviews of MOON PEOPLE. They are sarcastic, and they are a RIOT. Some of the comments include, “The truly astounding prose of this book seems eerily familiar to me. I think I wrote something like it when I was 13” and “After reading the heroic story of Captain David Braymer, 1st Science Officer of the space ship USS Lunar Base One, I feel as if I have been unbound from the restraints put in place by a dozen English teachers” and “I read and tears fell from my eyes. Only 2 other times my tears fell from my eyes. One, I poured a bottle of hot sauce into my eyes on accident and the other, my brother put a hook to my underwear and pulled it with his bike. This is the final tear that will come from my eyes after reading this book as I laying dying in my bed from syphilis.”
From one bad poet to another. Happy birthday to me — let the Bad Poetry begin!