It’s hard work being a poet. You have to have a huge vocabulary, a lyrical ear, a unique way of looking at the world … and a thick skin to protect you from the eviscerating comments of critics. So it’s no surprise that not all poetry is good poetry. The stress is enormous, and that’s for the lucky, talented few.
But what about us dull normals? Well, today is our day. August 18th is a special day in the literary calendar. That’s right, folks. It’s Bad Poetry Day!
The possibilities of this day are endless: raunchy limericks with rhyming issues; haikus written by the syllable-counting challenged; sprawling epics about the mighty caterpillar and so on and so forth.
Today, I thought I’d try my hand at some bad poetry myself. But bad poetry doesn’t just happen—it can take some real effort. I’m basing my offering on a few of my pet peeves, or what I consider to be some of the hallmarks of bad poetry:
- Vague images
- Poor rhyming and metre
- Ineffective line breaks
- Telling instead of showing
And now, without further ado … bad poetry:
An Ode to Bad Poetry
Oh! The poem’s a challenging form
And critics all are waiting
In the wings to tear it apart
In mental master debating. *wink*
For should we fail to rhyme a word,
Or metre should we ruin,
Readers will pounce like a cat on a mouse—
Our reputation will they do in.
And shall we, too, avoid clichés?
Well, only time will tell
Whether our words as old as the hills
Will all our reputations fell.
So now I beg you, gentle reader,
Please judge us not too rude,
Bad poetry has a function—
Without it, we’d be screwed.
We like to read the wannabes,
And unpoetic hacks,
Amusement yes, a couple laughs
Before we give the axe.
But how shall we appreciate
High art without the low?
To publisher’s it’d surely be
An unprecedented blow.
So world, keep writing shoddy poems
More underwhelming stuff,
For we persist in hoping for
One diamond in the rough.