Bad poetry, good fun—see who won!

On May 14, we launched our first annual “Bad Poetry” contest—just for the fun of it. And fun it has been! But all bad things must come to an end.

Our esteemed judges (one from B.C. and two from Ontario) all maintain they enjoyed combing through the “crappy couplets” submitted in search of truly terrible tripe, horrible haiku and rhymes rotten enough to capture our coveted prize. They also elected to remain anonymous (what’s up with that?) but we thank them, and all who entered. You can read their bad poetry in the Comments to our bad poetry challenge.

Our judges noted that, thematically, most of the entrants gravitated to writing bad poetry about either “life’s ironies” or “failed romances.” A few others apparently enjoyed participating simply for the wordplay fun.

Sardines from MSWordAmong the WORDPLAY WIZARDS (or should we say Wackos?) were Awful Andrew, Just-as-bad John (who entered offline), Shakespearean-sounding Sharron (Thou still unravish’d eyesore on my mantel…) and Cliché Queen, Jazz Smekal (who somehow managed to sardine a couple dozen clichés into one tin can of a poem). Kudos to all, but since clichés are a literary “no no,” any poem that contains 24 of them (!) qualifies as appallingly bad poetry. Accordingly, our judges awarded the Wordplay category to Jazz.

Vying for attention with poems about LIFE’S IRONIES (along with Jazz and Sharron) were Horrible Harvey and Crazy Collie-Boy, who tackled topics ranging from seat belt alerts to dandruff remedies and doggie dung. The latter sounds suspiciously close to doggerel (which is verse of little literary merit). Perhaps that’s why our judges awarded the Life’s Ironies category to Collie Boy.

The largest number of entries tackled the topic of FAILED ROMANCE. Loopy Leanne heated things up in the back seat of a Ford while Madcap Mary Ann’s romance went flat as a pancake in the kitchen. Awful Andrew made a mess that threatened his happy marriage and Just-as-bad John chose to mock my own failed romance with George Clooney (and hence was promptly disqualified 🙂 ). Sorriest of all were the wretched scenarios sketched by Harvey, who was blindsided by love only to have a pigeon poop on his shoulder—and later, was forced to serve as best man to the brother who stole his girl’s heart. Now that really hurts. Our judges felt his pain and awarded the Failed Romance category to Horrible Harvey.

Still, there can only be one OVERALL WINNER—and for that, the judges scored for the poem that made them laugh the loudest. Congratulations go to MADCAP MARY ANN, who may have been knocked down in the “bowling lane of life” but emerged victorious in our Bad Poetry contest (your book prize—Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories—will be on its way to you shortly!). Here’s Mary Ann’s poem. It’s so bad, it’s good!

In this bowling lane called life,
Bowling pins knocked downI felt knocked over, until
you came along offering love
and my heart opened like an accordion,
the two of us singing like tree frogs,
happy at last, until
you spotted another, a younger version
of me and left me flat as a pancake,
no spatula to pick me up.
No butter melting on my crumbled heart.

Woe is you, Mary Ann! Thanks again, everyone. And special thanks to those who supported the fundraising effort for Gordon Kirkland! ~ Judy

Bad Poetry – Good Cause

I’ve been bad. I’ve been goofing off having fun in Santa Fe instead of writing new stories or even writing this blog. The only thing I have been writing has also been BAD—bad poetry, that is. Writing deliberately bad poetry is just SO MUCH FUN.

I’ve already shared some of my intentionally bad poetry in my video rendition of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” But General Store Publishing House got me hooked on writing more with its Spring Bad Poetry contest. Then literary agent Chip MacGregor ran his annual bad poetry contest and I couldn’t stop myself from writing this (sadly unrequited) love poem to George Clooney (more specifically, to the cleft in George Clooney’s chin).

In case you think writing bad poetry is too low-brow, note that even Columbia University’s Philolexian Society has been sponsoring a bad poetry contest since 1986.

Then it hit me: Why should these other websites be having all the fun hosting bad poetry? My readers can write stuff that’s bad too—maybe even “badder”! So the challenge is on.

Can you write some squirmingly sentimental, over-the-top awful, bad poetry? The worst of the worst you send (which of course means the poem that best tickles the funny bones of our three renowned judges—all of whom insist on remaining anonymous) will win a copy of Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories to keep the laughs going.

Entry fee is FREE–with a wee request in support of a good cause. I recently learned that Canadian humorist Gordon Kirkland is dying for lack of a liver transplant suited to his rare blood type. I don’t know Gordon Kirkland personally, but I’ve enjoyed his work. As a humorist myself, I know what it takes to make others laugh so I know Gordon has worked hard to brighten our days. If you can find it in your heart or your wallet to support the fundraiser for Gordon, here’s how. If you can’t contribute, maybe you could share that link with someone who can. At minimum, perhaps our bad poetry will make Gordon smile. Laughter is good medicine—even for those waiting on a miracle.

If you need to prime your poetry-writing pump by reading some bad poetry, check out some of the hilarious submissions on Chip MacGregor’s blog. Then give it your best—I mean worst—shot. You can paste your bad poetry into the Comments section below (inappropriate material will be deleted). If you prefer that your effort not be posted unless it wins or you want to submit a video entry, send it along by email.

You have the rest of May to submit your bad poetry. If you’re inspired, send several submissions. I’ll announce a winner June 1st. Have fun! (And if you happen to know George Clooney’s email address, please send him a link to my unrequited love poem. Maybe he’ll be smitten–and REQUITE. 🙂 )

Coming up daffodils

Spring has sprung. When I was a kid, Spring alwaysDaffodils sprung on March 21, but for some reason it’s been backdated on calendars, which makes this blog post look one day tardy. Never mind. Spring itself has been tardy in getting to most of snowbound Canada. Here on Vancouver Island, though, everything is coming up daffodils. This gorgeous cluster is just a stone’s throw from my house.

Daffodils and Spring are synonomous for most of us—just as they were for the Romantic poets, back in their day. Remember William Wordsworth’s “host of golden daffodils”? Things were always coming up daffodils for the Romantic poets! Well me being me, I couldn’t resist spoofing “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” Literary agent Chip MacGregor runs an annual “Bad Poetry” contest looking for hilariously over-the-top “purple verse.” I’m proud to say that my daffodil poem (“I Wandered Lonely”) was 2010 Runner-Up in Chip’s “best worst” poem contest!

Earning this dubious honour wasn’t even hard. I just asked myself: What if the poet had been “pissed off” as he wandered out there in nature, with everything around him coming up daffodils? Maybe he was ticked because his relationship had broken down? Or the clouds weren’t quite as cumulus as he’d hoped?

Can YOU relate to such misery? Maybe you’re ticked off that Spring hasn’t yet sprung where you are, so you can. If so, I hope you’ll get a chuckle out of my YouTube rendition (video below) of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” I’d love to hear if it gives you a giggle. And feel free to share!