May 19, 2020 (Tuesday)

Bad Poetry Contest!

For those of you juniors who are remaining, this will be our last week. Mr. Reynolds has given us permission to “take the foot off the gas,” but we’re already cruising downhill, so no problem.

Now that you’ve been exposed to good poetry, you’re far better adept to recognizing bad.

Think back to the 10 poems I had you look at a couple of weeks ago. I had you rate the poems and give me reasons why you rated them that way. Nearly all of you wrote down why you didn’t like this poem or that. Think back on what you did NOT like, and WHY you did not like those poems.

Your task this week will be to write a poem that you consider “BAD.”

In our Zoom meeting on Tuesday we’ll list first what makes a poem “good” then create a list opposite of that so you know what your goal is (so to speak).

“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” This classic book series and movie mentions the worst poet in the universe:

Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings[1] was a poet who wrote the worst poetry in the universe. In fact, her poetry is still considered to be the worst in the Galaxy, closely followed by that of the Azgoths of Kria and the Vogons, in that order.

She lived at 37 Wasp Villas, Greenbridge, Essex, GB10 1LL.[2]

Here is an excerpt of her poetry:

The dead swans lay in the stagnant pool.
They lay. They rotted. They turned
Around occasionally.
Bits of flesh dropped off them from
Time to time.:And sank into the pool’s mire.
They also smelt a great deal.

Bad poetry=essentially makes you say, “Why did I read this?!”
So specifically in this poem, what makes it “bad”?

Next, here’s a clip from the movie of Vogons reading their poetry to a captured earthling and his friend:

Here’s excerpt from the book:

“Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” is a poem by Grunthos the Flatulent, a Poet Master of the Azgoths of Kria.

                During a reading of the poem, four audience members died of internal hemorrhaging and the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been “disappointed” by the poem’s reception. This poetic reading was the direct cause of Grunthos’ own large intestine leaping up through his body and throttling his brain.


Putty. Putty. Putty.
Green Putty – Grutty Peen.
Grarmpitutty – Morning!
Pridsummer – Grorning Utty!
Discovery….. Oh.
Putty?….. Armpit?
Armpit….. Putty.
Not even a particularly
Nice shade of green.
As I lick my armpit and shall agree,
That this putty is very well green.

And this:

“Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits
On a lurgid bee.
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
And hooptiously drangle me
With crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon,
See if I don’t!”

– Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, HGTTG

So what in the poems above make them “bad”?


For THURSDAY I want you to write a bad poem. I need it turned in by Thursday MORNING at the latest, because on our Zoom Meeting on Thursday I will attempt to read your poem to the class in my best teacher voice. (We can also do them anonymously then let you guess who wrote what.)

I want your poem to be at least 6 lines, but probably more. You can do anything you want, just make it “bad” in some way.

THIS WILL BE OUR LAST ASSIGNMENT! So make it AWESOME! Some of you are trying to get caught up still, so this “ending” will allow those who are behind to get caught up over the next couple of weeks, and those who are caught up to just ease into summer starting on Friday.

Sometimes a “bad” poem has an odd subject matter. Consider these lines, which someone cleverly turned into an entire poem:


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