Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #61!
Ern was the pen name of two poets who thought a certain poetry publication (Angry Penguins) published crap. To prove their point, they constructed bad poetry and submitted the lot. According to the Wikipedia page, “enraptured by the poetry, [the editors] devoted the next issue of Angry Penguins to Malley, hailing him as a genius. The hoax was revealed soon after, resulting in a cause célèbre and the humiliation of Harris [a co-editor], who was put on trial, convicted and fined for publishing the poems on the grounds that they contained obscene content. Angry Penguins folded in 1946.”
So here are the specifics for this week:
- The Topic DOES NOT MATTER. The construction does; for, you are to construct a poem in the same way ‘Ern Malley’ did:
“Their writing style, as they described it, was to write down the first thing that came into their heads, lifting words and phrases from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a Collected Shakespeare, and a Dictionary of Quotations: ‘We opened books at random, choosing a word or phrase haphazardly. We made lists of these and wove them in nonsensical sentences. We misquoted and made false allusions. We deliberately perpetrated bad verse, and selected awkward rhymes from a Ripman’s Rhyming Dictionary.’ They also included many bits of their own poetry, though in a deliberately disjointed manner (Wikipedia).”
Take random lines from stories, from Shakespeare, from quotes, from the dictionary, and from you. See what nonsensical brilliance ensues.
- Keep the Length around 250 words or fewer.
- This is likely to end up free verse, so don’t worry about rhyming.
- In fact, I doubt you’ll have to try very hard to make it terrible. Just try to get James McAuley and Harold Stewart (AKA Ern Malley) to sit up from their angelic rest and applaud your literary brilliance.
- Keep the rating PG-13 or cleaner.
You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (March 6) to submit a poem.
Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.
If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Check in if you use a pingback and it doesn’t show up in a day.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons