Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Science of Bad Poetry

This may come as a huge shocker, but when the two of us aren't penning MSPaint comics about mentally deficient, breakdancing goats, we write fiction. We write humor, we write horror, we write literary - you name it. But one thing you'll never find us writing is poetry.

Even though we write fiction, we can't write poetry to save our lives. And yet it seems not many writers can come to terms with this. See, just because you can blog or just because you can write fiction doesn't necessarily mean you can write poetry, or vice versa.

bumblefuck thundertwat

So today we're going to delve into the 4 biggest offenders of shitty poetry and laugh at their terribleness, because let's face it, you probably know at least one of these goobers.

The Tries-Too-Hard-To-Rhyme Poet

This poet never got the memo that not all poems have to rhyme, and unlike those who have the talent for rhyming, this poet can't rhyme to save their life. They'll make some real stretches, too, like rhyming the same word with itself twice or rhyming something like "heroin" with "harrowing."

I would travel the globe like Galileo,
just to get a chance to say-o,
You've fallen my heart like a tree by axes.
Plain and simple, that's just what the facts is.
So let's celebrate our love and go buy a Kia.
My words fall out of my mouth like diarrhea.

Wow. Wordsmithery that's nothing short of enchanting, and without sacrificing the quality of the poem.


The Love-Lorn Loser


AKA whining about love using flowery metaphors. This type of poetry is more fit for 13 year old girls lamenting the hot guy who "totally just dumped them," and yet adults try to write this too. This poet has a heart the size and depth of the deepest ocean, or so they think. More likely than not, they're more "whiny bitch" than "scorned lover." Which is why their poems all sound like the aborted lovechild of Nicholas Sparks and William Shakespeare.

'Tis my heart that is bleeding and dead,
Hung skyward like the suicidal moon.
Of whence it was cast aside,
Now set to dangling, black-tongued.
Mine body, mine spirit,
Wiggles its legs for thee. 

Pee-yew. Did thou farteth? This is the kind of literary shart you wind up with when you write in your own blood.


The Hipster Poet

This poet wants to be Chuck Bukowski but without possessing any of the talent or life experiences. Even though they've lived comfortably in their mother's basement for the past 10 years (and without need to hold down any form of job), they strive to tell the tale of the struggling working class man who's revolting against the system.

Dancing corporate robot
Suckling oil from mommy's teat
My lips seek out the nipple
The robot, he is ME

Do you feel that? I feel a revolution coming on. Or maybe that's just diarrhea.


Oh, and please, hipster poet, continue to "fight consumerism" by writing bad poetry on your $2,000 Apple computer as you sip your third latte at Starbucks, because you're not the only one who appreciates some good irony.

The Verbose Elitist 

Let's face it, nobody appreciates snobbery. And yet this guy's turned it into an art form. He probably went to a famous school for budding writers where he learned he was more gifted than most. Now, having found that nobody gives a shit about poetry anymore (at least not anyone that pays money), he bitterly teaches creative writing at the local university while simultaneously cranking out gems such as these at night...

Gelatinous haunches precipitate textured spandex.
Colonel Sanders's declaration of egregious malevolence.
Staccato vibration illuminates cottage cheese.
Preferred physical architecture of porcine haunches.


And, like most poetry, all five people who read it did a great job of pretending they liked it! That makes every penny of your $100,000 Ivy-league MFA worthwhile, doesn't it?

Well, folks, we're not trying to knock poetry here. Some of our favorite classic writers are poets. It's just that neither of us should be allowed within a hundred yards of forming a stanza, and the same goes for a good many other writers not suited for poetry. There's still good poetry out there. It's just hard to find. So if you're feeling ballsy, steel thy nerves and head out to thine local cafe for open-mic night. You never know, you just might hear a poetry reading that doesn't make you want to pull a Sylvia Plath and stick your head in an oven.

Cheers and stay classy, folks!
-B&B

Beer: 90 Shilling
Music: New Ben Franklins

Get your shit together, Adam. I don't care if you're in second grade; this is still absolutely terrible.

77 comments:

  1. Little harsh on Adam there...
    Agreed. I couldn't write a poem if my life depended on it. I'll spare the world and not even attempt it.
    We've all encountered those poets. Both awful and confusing. However, your translations rocks.

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    1. Wee Adam knew what he was getting into when he entered the cutthroat world of poetry.

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  2. I write bad poetry (about wine and burritos, the important things in life). But I'm obsessed with rhyming. And I like haikus, because they are short.

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  3. Wear heart on sleeve is so old school, the first guy there, oh my "takes pants to the heart" "his fashion touched HIS heart" . That one graphic is enough, I swear not to swear at all those who wear their pants on their knees.

    adam's poetry is cool. Better than "call me maybe" gems. I remember when I wrote my first poetry comparing "car" with "hare" I imagined Wordsworth to ask me for a autograph and my teacher told me this "when you start for first time it is expected don't get discouraged and continue to write and one day you will write a better one" and guess what it only took 15 years. You always think that your poem is excellent until someone shows you the mirror.

    and Patt I wonder how he talks in real life , when someone's cuts him off in traffic

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  4. I'm a critical prick when it comes to poetry, partly because I'm no good at it and partly because 90% of it is a slew of complicated and lengthy words jumbled together to sound romantic.

    I made a post a while back that deciphered the formula to writing good poetry. Write something that makes no sense, and when someone asks you what it means, say, "It's up for interpretation," or "That's for you to decide." Then watch them break it down in the most ridiculous way possible.

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    1. That sounds remarkably like most modern art, except instead of writing something that doesn't make sense, just throw a gallon of paint against a huge canvas and then say it's "up for interpretation."

      "Ah yes, I see it now. This is a perfect metaphor for mankind's struggle with global warming."

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  5. There aren't really people out there still interjecting "thou" and "thee" into poetry, are there!?! Say it aint so. Also, Thundertwat? If there's not a rollerderby girl who has named herself that, I've lost faith in Rollerderby.

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  6. As usual, you guys make me chuckle!

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  7. Also... all feminist poetry. All of it. I would say all political poetry - or all agenda-driven poetry - but feminist poetry is the worst.

    I wish that wasn't true.

    I don't drink enough to be a good poet, and I am fully cognizant of that, so I never try...

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  8. I'm no poet by any means. Though I have tried to compose something worth reading here and there. But unlike most other poet wannabes, I am blunt and to the point. Big fancy words have no use in my poems. There is no interpretation required. If you don't get the meaning then you probably don't know how to read.

    I think I'll just stick to random blog rants! Someday I shall resume my online antics!

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  9. LMAO oh that first one just hurt my head, i think I just dropped a few iq points reading them. Mine my be utter nonsense at times, but I can be thankful I don't sound like that. I still consider myself a rhyming nut though and not a poet by any means, can do the non-rhyming stuff, but you have to think too much with those.

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    1. The Cat has a talent for rhyming? Splitting me in two is what he's good at. (HERE) It's a miracle I can still write. ;)

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  10. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou makest me clammy and my eyes run.

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  11. Sorry to be a completely pretentious douche-hole, but Virginia Woolf drowned herself. It was Sylvia Plath who stuck her head in the oven.

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    1. We actually appreciate your douche-holiness. Corrected, and thank you much!

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  12. I remember your member
    when we first met
    'twas full as the moon
    and made me quite wet.

    I wrote that for the Hubby and he jumped me in the shower the next morning. Cheap and slutty is very effective:)

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    1. Cheap and slutty is the kind of poetry I can get behind.

      (Get it? Get behind?)

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    2. I put forth a motion to replace star spangled banner with this. Shall a start a petition ? Hope no one starts a petition to deport me..

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    3. I would sign, though I think Anne claims this for Ireland. That was one hell of a poem. If that doesn't get you some action, check your partner's pulse.

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  13. What are talkin bout, Willis? Don't listen to phat cat Pat Hatt on this, that was some of the BEST poetry I've ever laid my eyeballs on. Of course I hate poetry so that quote on a dustcover means jack shit.

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  14. Absolutely brilliant analysis! Made me laugh so hard that verily, I doth farteth. And not to be nit-picky, but it was Sylvia Plath who stuck her head in the oven. Virginia Woolf waded into a river with rocks in her pockets.

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  15. Oh sorry. Disregard my Plath/Woolf correction. I see some other pretentious douche-hole beat me to it.

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    1. We're still happy to see some extra douche-holiness here, and really, we should have just combined the two and waded into a river with an oven on our heads.

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  16. Hahahahaha! Couldn't agree with you more. I once had to wait for my professor friend at the college she taught at. There, next to me was a cheaply bound book of poetry by some of the other professors. UGH! & PEE-YEW! When she came out, she saw I was looking at the book. "Great, huh?" "Yes," I commented, but thought, yeah great pieces of crap.

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  17. Have you guys heard of Ogden Nash? I'll bet you both a Shiner Blonde you can do something similar.

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  18. Ahaha, you guys will LOVE Tumblr. It's full of those heart-broken poets. 15 year old wannabe hipsters who think that they have seen the end of the world with the breakup of a 2 month relationship.

    I'm also sick of the "sexy" poetry - the ones that describe graphic sex. There is this one surrealist "poet" I follow on Tumblr, and he was really good before, but for the past few months, all he's been writing about is "gently pushing my face into her thighs". Hmn, nothing better than cunnilingus poetry!

    And this is why I never hope to be a poet or anything. It's something I like to do in my spare time for fun. I can never do anything technically sound. There are some good amateur poets out there, but I usually only enjoy poems by published authors.

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  19. I stay a safe distance away from poetry. I cannot write it. I like it when I can understand it, which is rarely. I LOVED this line "This poet wants to be Chuck Bukowski but without possessing any of the talent or life experiences" Ahhhh, music to my ears.

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  20. Funny mimicry and BAD it is. BADASS!

    Not really.

    As for Adam, the 2nd grader, the teacher may have asked students to conjugate verbs within the framework of a poem. That would make Adam very very bright indeed and with more shit together than those idiots Jay Leno interviews in "Jay Walking" segments.

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  21. " So let's celebrate our love and go buy a Kia.
    My words fall out of my mouth like diarrhea."

    That's beautiful.

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  22. The thing is that despite being satire those are disturbingly good. You guys just haven't found the right kind of poetry. I sometimes consider myself a bit of a poet but I do get way too caught up in some of this stuff actually. Especially the rhyming thing. I know that poems don't necessarily have to rhyme but dammit I just can't stop it.

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  23. You get bonus points for using the word egregious! That was my favorite word I learned in law school. I only write redneck poetry like the gem I wrote the other day about Randy Travis' tragic life.

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  24. I was trying not to laugh out 'cause I've got a guy downstairs fixing my old piano but this is really funny. I wonder if I could write a poem about you guys......nah!

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  25. *Snort* these are some true poetic gems here, gentlemen. Very inspiring. :)

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  26. Yeah, as with pretty much all art forms, there's always those that find lots of "hidden meaning" in something of which the author will say "nah nothing special". Can't people just write things for the fun of it without people raving about how deep it is?
    Being able to speak in rhymes is cool though, and I guess poetry in general is sort of okay? The usebase can be kind of dorky though, as you outlined, so that sucks.

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  27. One year in elementary school we were asked to write a poem for Remembrance Day. I distinctly remember being proud of the poem, even though I didn't know how to spell "sword". Turned out, they wanted to me to recite it in front of the whole school in the Remembrance Day assembly. I freaked the fuck out, called in sick to school and never wrote a poem again.

    Maybe it would have helped me get over my fear of public speaking, or my fear of being harshly judged in front of an audience. Maybe. But what I know for sure is that I don't fit into any of those categories. And for that, I'm grateful.

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  28. I think you guys already know my position on poetry. Trying to find anything worth reading is like looking for a lost engagement ring in the New York sewer system.

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    1. I have a lost wedding ring in the New York sewer system....

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  29. If it get's you laid I'm all for it!

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  30. Woah! I read your post as I am paranoid that I fall into one of those categories on the occasions that I write poems. I don't know any of the rules or the do's or dont's, and generally only write poems when I am stressed (strange huh?!)But reading the comments to your post is 10x scarier! I think I will just make sure I use a small font in future :) You have actually taught me something so you have been more successful than any teachers of mine! lol

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  31. I've pretty much accepted that I suck at poetry. I still try though... then I read it back and cry. But at least it's not as bad as any of these categories :P

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  32. You know Adam's mother told him he was brilliant...

    I can't write poetry but I can rock a dirty limerick after a few drinks any day of the week.

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  33. I'm still laughing at your poetic renditions - rhyming Kia with diarrhea, and giving Colonel Sanders such prominence. Weirdly and hilariously done.

    I HATE the elitist poet. I went to a poetry reading a month or two ago, and they were all snobs who thought they were about to put Emily Dickinson's name to shame. One said, "I just finished this an hour ago" and proceeded to read something very long and boring, full of four-syllable words, that made no sense. I grabbed a cookie and left.

    xoRobyn

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    1. So what I'm getting out of this story is... at least you got a free cookie out of it. That's more than I've gotten out of any poetry reading I've ever attended.

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  34. Phew! I seen you just posted on my blog, featuring, yes, a poem. Reading your post here, ALL I could think was Aw Shite! Am I going to be mentioned here???? Looks like I dodged the bullet this time around. Huzzah!

    If I tried, I may be able to come up with something to rhyme with bumbelfuck and thundertwat.... Give me a minute on that and I will see what I can come up with.

    Love this one. Great post guys!

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  35. Oh my goodness those hurt my eyes. The rhyming poetry always annoyed me. I always hated writing poetry but sometimes I still do it. I don't know why but sometimes when I sit at a blank page that's what comes out. It's never rhyming or structured...I would rather die than be a hipster "poet". I don't think even if I wrote it more I'd call myself a poet...just the title...ugh.

    LOVED this...so dead on.

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  36. Well, I've written my share, and some have said it's decent. They're really song lyrics anyway, and even the two volumes that were "published" by a startup managed to cost me almost as much as the four volumes I did myself at a Kinkos years later.

    Someone I worked with did once come across one of my books at a used book store. On one hand, that was cool (he paid money for it!), but on the other-I probably knew everyone who owned a copy of that book. Who among them sold it to a used book store?

    Aspiring poets ought to know that even if they are good and get published, the odds are you will not make enough to quit your day job.

    You guys have some stuff with potential up there (waxing soppy about farts and big butts should get you invited onto the Daily Show...)

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  37. This is a very funny post.
    One that I think I like the most.
    At poetry I have taken a stab
    But most of mine should be left on a slab
    At the morgue that is.

    Sorry - I just came from Pat Hatt's space and I couldn't resist. While I like 'good' poetry there is some pretty stinky stuff out there. I hate the pretentious poet and their buck fifty words. But there there is always egregious!

    Oh, and I never even got a cookie.

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  38. Yes! And thank you. This had to be said. I love poetry so very much...when it's good or great, but dang I can't stand it when it's not, which is sadly the norm. I cannot write it and I've accepted this. I wish I could, truly, but I sucketh at it. Why can't other people realize they sucketh at it, too?

    And I can't stop laughing at that first poet's camel toe :)

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  39. Gabsi isn't writing a poem. He's made a scientific discovery of a river that goes up. First up on roads, then to the moon. Nobel prize for sure.

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  40. >>… They'll make some real stretches, too, like rhyming the same word with itself twice

    >>… You've fallen my heart like a tree by axes.
    Plain and simple, that's just what the facts is.


    O Beer Boys, O Beer Boys, Oi
    Youse Makes Me Laugh
    And Youse Brings Me Joy

    This Blog Bit, It Be Funny
    Youse Makes Me Laugh
    ‘Cause Youse Be... Uh... Funny

    I Likes Crazy Songs By ROGER MILLER
    But Not Bad Rhymes
    By That OTHER MILLER

    This one had me laughing all the way through it. One O Youse Best!

    But I think the biggest laugh came right at the end:

    >>... Get your shit together, Adam. I don't care if you're in second grade; this is still absolutely terrible.

    Ha!-Ha! I am one-friggin’-hundred percent with youse! It’s time we stopped giving these children a free pass just because their young and dumber’n shit! How R thay supposed to get edgemucated if we doesn’t correct there crappy righting?!

    Hell, when I was Adam’s age, my doggerel verse was a Great Dane compared to his Chihuahua!

    WE LIKE CARS.
    WE GO TO THE CIRCUS IN CARS.
    SOME CARS R 1916.
    CARS GO AROUND.
    MY CAR IS 1967.
    I LIKE CARS.

    ~ by Stephen T. McCARthy; 1967.

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    1. I truly didn't think anyone would catch my homage to Steve Miller with that rhyme... bravo, Mr. McCarthy. Bravo. You are a special kind of musical Rain Man that is second to none.

      Definitely Steve Miller. Definitely, definitely Steve Miller...

      Also, young Stephen was such a master with words... what the hell happened?

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    2. "...a special kind of musical Rain Man..."

      HA!

      "...what the hell happened?"

      HA!-HA!

      I drank more then. Maybe I should go back to hitting the "sauce" harder.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  41. My guess is Adam is fucking with everyone. Thank you for making me laugh so much! You've totally hit these spot on. Funny enough, I just posted a blog referring to Sir Mix-A-Lot...and your post reminded me of the time I went to a bookstore without realizing they were having a poetry reading. So this guy is at the mike literally saying, "White, profuse drops on an ebony cock..." And that was our cue to leave before we burst into giggles and insulted his "art."

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  42. Hey! You took that from Reddit! :P

    But I agree, I can't write poetry to save my life and I can't appreciate most poetry. It just seems pretentious to me.

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    1. Actually, I took it from 9gag, who took it from reddit. It's all about the Internet chain of command.

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  43. Your version of Sir Mixalot's classic was both heartbreaking and inspiring. It brought a tear to my eye.

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  44. Viloets are blue
    Roses are red
    rhyming I cannot
    Bacon

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    1. That was awesome. Everything should end with bacon.

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  45. *sigh* A shout out to the cat? We'll never hear the end of it now! His ego will be so inflated. Just like his flea bitten head.

    I think you guys sold yourselves short. Your poetry skills are quite good. Well, pretty good. You might be able to sell some it to up and coming rappers.

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  46. Poetry elitists are the biggest assholes of the literary word. I write some poetry, and not that I'd call myself great but I don't think it's terrible, however I know that if I submitted it anywhere I'd be ripped to shreds.

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  47. The combo 'Kia' and 'diarrhea' does make perfect sense, fellas. Just saying...

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  48. Hilarious poetry analysis guys. And I'm flattered I could be the cause of inspiration to either of you in some small way!

    Although I have to admit you have yet to convince me that you suck at poetry. Because even though you are totally mocking it you still managed to come up with creative and fabulous stanzas here. Hmmm, maybe that's a whole new type of poetry you created. You can call it "Mocketry" Ha!! :)

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  49. Poetry is only bad if it lacks impact.

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  50. I actually love bad poetry if it has a catchy sing-song quality...iambic pentameter for you poetry purists out there.
    But overall, I hate the good stuff. The flowery adjectives, the symbolism...the WTF does it mean kind of poetry eludes me.

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  51. The last photo is basically the equivalent of throwing a rotten tomato at poor Adam but if he delivered a poem this dreadful in front of me I'd be more than happy to toss a few his direction! I used to get that a lot when I wrote poetry, constantly using words that just made it so obvious I was trying hard to rhyme, that usually just ends up being really cinge worthy more than anything.

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  52. 4-B OLD SOUL ~

    There is NO WAY anyone could slip that atrocious Steve Miller rhyme past me. I once wrote an entire blog bit about bad Rock song lyrics and, the “facts is”, I mentioned Miller FIRST!

    I think you might find this old blog bit amusing:

    Link:
    SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL STOOGE.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

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  53. I LOVE shitty poetry, it cracks me up, especially those ones that try to rhyme. Although my current favourite is Amanda Palmer's 'A Poem For Dzhokar' which is just hilariously bad.

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  54. I have tried my hand at a little poetry, but mine tends to be more a stilted stream of babble. Not so good. I have however been challenged to write Haiku this week...wish me luck

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  55. This post reminded me of my own shitty poet days, back in high school when I was the love-lorn loser. Didn't like it much (and I didn't want to sacrifice my own heartblood) so I stopped writing awful poetry and started writing awful short stories.

    You guys actually came up with some good ones here, especially the verbose elitist version of Sir Mix A Lot. Anne might have you beat though. Maybe you and Anne and Poke the Rock and Pat Hatt should have a poetry slam.

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  56. I actually write poetry about two or three times a year. Usually when I am EXTREMELY emotional about something. I never like it nearly as much two days later when I'm feeling better though. I wrote a poem about addiction around a month ago and I'm still scared to go back and read it. At least now I can pretend it was good, instead of lumping myself in with the four types of "poets" you described.

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  57. THIS. I used to write half decent poetry. Used to. I stopped practicing and forgot everything I'd learned and now I'm poop a good 99% of the time. Still, dealing with all the wannabe poets is a pain in the ass. If I can do as good on a regular basis, there's a damned problem!

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  58. I can write poetry. If I set my mind to it. Not sure what kind I would be. Definitely not rhyming.

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  59. I absolutely suck at poetry too. Except limericks... which I also suck at but it allows me to use the work 'scat' in a creative context x

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  60. In my opinion, the only good thing about rap music is listening for all of the ridiculously forced rhymes. Rappers like to say chinchilla a lot just because it rhymes, and never because chinchillas are relevant or necessary. When I was in elementary school (2nd grade) I wrote what was apparently an epic poem about a unicorn named Jake. It got published in the school paper.

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  61. "God, this blog was better before it had pageviews."

    Classic.

    But seriously, I used to be on the editing staff of a literary magazine, and you left out "emo as fuck." I can't tell you how many poems I disqualified for the phrase "pools of blood."

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  62. Goodness, is that all anyone can ever allude to Sylvia for? Why not say make like Sylvia and date a Dick (her first love who most likely Buddy Willard was based on)? Or "our foot is in the door"? Or i must have Mad Girl's Love Song stuck in my head because "I think i made you up inside of my head"? Make original allusions.... Referencing Sylvia only as a truce to the unbearable has turned to pitiful cliche... And I write fiction, though i am taking a break, but I have always preferred poetry... though I feel like I'm drying myself up. It's painful; perhaps I must die for certain this time so I may rise like Lady Lazarus and then I can write with life again.

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  63. Goodness, is that all anyone can ever allude to Sylvia for? Why not say make like Sylvia and date a Dick (her first love who most likely Buddy Willard was based on)? Or "our foot is in the door"? Or i must have Mad Girl's Love Song stuck in my head because "I think i made you up inside of my head"? Make original allusions.... Referencing Sylvia only as a truce to the unbearable has turned to pitiful cliche... And I write fiction, though i am taking a break, but I have always preferred poetry... though I feel like I'm drying myself up. It's painful; perhaps I must die for certain this time so I may rise like Lady Lazarus and then I can write with life again.

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