The other day I was reading some bad poetry. In other words, like at least 80 percent of the poetry that’s out there right now. See, while there are many people who think they can write prose that can’t; there seem to be even more people who are not poets and do not know it. Prose and poetry aren’t the same. Poetry is much, much harder – if you do it right. I don’t, which I why I only write stupid poems. Thing is, I do it on purpose and other people . . . don’t.
Now there are some awesome poets out there, like Merbear for instance, and several others. Being a good poet does not disqualify you from being in the Society, though. Even good poets can be bad. All a person has to do to join is write the worst poetry they can. Or if you’re like me, just write poetry. For some ideas, I have collected a list of the most obnoxious (in my opinion) poetry faux pas.
1. Seuss-i-fying your poetry
I love Dr. Seuss. But there’s only one Dr. Seuss, and unless you are writing poetry for children, having it rhyme in a sing-song every other line sort of way makes your poetry sound juvenile no matter what your subject. For example:
I have a stalker
He is really strange
He follows me always
And has lots of mange
See? Serious topic = stalking. But I want to take that poem and add goofy drawings to it. Like Marmaduke creepily staring in someone’s window or something.
This is not to say that you can’t rhyme in a poem. One of my favorite poets, Edgar Allen Poe, does rhyme, but he has a flow to his poetry. Real rhyming poetry is every beautiful song you’ve ever heard. It has a melody. Which leads me to example two.
2. Speed-bump poetry
Poetry needs to flow. Even, actually especially, free verse poetry. Since there’s no set line length, or rhyming, it’s up to you to figure out how to make the words flow together. When reading a poem, I don’t like starting and stopping. I call it speed bumps. Each time the word doesn’t flow – there are way too many syllables, or the word somehow doesn’t fit, or the poem loses focus – I feel a bump. I’m shaken out of the reverie. An example:
She’s like the wind
Through a forest of tall tall trees
She rides the night train to Georgia
Next to Runaround Sue
Bump, Bump, BUUUUUMP
3. Emo Poetry
There’s only so much angst over that girl from high school that done did you wrong we can take. Keep it up and you’ll sound like a Taylor Swift song, and no one wants that.
4. Twisty-straw Poetry
It’s still a dumb song even when I make cute connect-the-dots pictures with it.
5. Pick a style, any style poetry
Whatever you choose to do, just stick with it. If you want Seuss, do Seuss. If you want speed-bump, throw out the speed bumps. But please don’t combine a half dozen styles in a single poem.
Dashing through the snow
On a one-horse reindeer whatever
Laughing all the way until we’re shot on sight
By that girl who’s like the wind
In the trees.
I’m sure you can name lots of other problem poetry. Let me know in the comments, or write your own bad poetry post. I’ll link to it and maybe we can make a horrible poetry book. We could call it Twilight Sexy Times Poetry Suck. It would be a bestseller for sure. Or I’ll just do it myself and rake in all the profits.
I’m also thinking of designing a badge. You know for me and my followers, or possibly just for me and all the invisible flying elves. What do you think should be the badge for a Bad Poet’s Society?