Very Bad Poetry

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 1997-03-25
  • Publisher: Vintage

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Writing very bad poetry requires talent. It helps to have a wooden ear for words, a penchant for sinking into a mire of sentimentality, and an enviable confidence that allows one to write despite absolutely appalling incompetence. The 131 poems collected in this first-of-its-kind anthology are so glaringly awful that they embody a kind of genius. From Fred Emerson Brooks' "The Stuttering Lover" to Matthew Green's "The Spleen" to Georgia Bailey Parrington's misguided "An Elegy to a Dissected Puppy", they mangle meter, run rampant over rhyme, and bludgeon us into insensibility with their grandiosity, anticlimax, and malapropism. Guaranteed to move even the most stoic reader to tears (of laughter),Very Bad Poetryis sure to become a favorite of the poetically inclined (and disinclined).

Author Biography

<b>Kathryn</b> and <b>Ross Petras</b> are a brother and sister team who wrote <b>The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said</b>.  They live in New York City.

Table of Contents

John Armstrong (1709-1779)p. 3
The Art of Preserving Healthp. 3
Alfred Austin (1835-1913)p. 4
The Human Tragedyp. 5
Go Away, Death!p. 6
The Wind Speaksp. 6
T. Baker (fl. 1850s)p. 7
The Steam Enginep. 7
The Most Convoluted Syntax: On a Procession with the Prince of Walesp. 8
Samuel Bentley (fl. 1760s)p. 9
The River Dove: A Lyric Pastoralp. 9
Mrs. Marion Albina Bigelow (fl. 1850s)p. 10
Children Disinterredp. 10
Two Smothered Childrenp. 11
E. E. Bradford (1860-1944)p. 11
The Tree of Knowledgep. 12
His Mother Drinksp. 13
The Most Lurid Account of Tragedy: Calamity in London; Family of Ten Burned to Deathp. 14
Colonel I. J. Brittain (fl. 1918)p. 15
The Tragedy of Ida Ball Warren and Samuel Christiep. 15
Fred Emerson Brooks (fl. 1894)p. 17
The Stuttering Loverp. 17
Old Eaglep. 18
Solyman Brown (1790-1876)p. 19
The Dentologia - A Poem on the Diseases of the Teethp. 19
T. E. Brown (1830-1897)p. 20
Between Our Folding Lipsp. 20
Wallace Bruce (fl. 1907)p. 21
A Holland Brickp. 21
H. C. Bunner (fl. 1880s)p. 22
In School House: A Real Romancep. 22
Their Wedding Journeyp. 23
J. Gordon Coogler (1865-1901)p. 24
Alas Carolinap. 24
The Lover's Return on a Bicyclep. 25
[Untitled]p. 26
How Strange Are Dreams!p. 26
Byronp. 26
A Pretty Girlp. 27
More Care for the Neck Than for the Intellectp. 27
God Correctly Understoodp. 27
The Poem Showing the Most Mathematical Genius: The Round of the Clockp. 28
Eliza Cook (1818-1889)p. 29
The Surgeon's Knifep. 29
The Carrion Crowp. 30
Lines Among the Leavesp. 30
Song of the Sea Weedp. 31
A Pathetic Lamentp. 31
Lillian E. Curtis (fl. 1870s)p. 32
Only One Eyep. 33
The Potatop. 34
The Two Bearsp. 35
J. P. Dunn (fl. 1917)p. 36
Kansasp. 36
An Ode to Governor Capperp. 37
Edward Edwin Foot (fl. 1867)p. 38
Jane Hollybrand; or, Virtue Rewardedp. 38
The Homeward-Bound Passenger Shipp. 39
[Untitled]p. 39
The Worst Baby Talk Poem: The New Babyp. 40
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)p. 41
"Hullo!"p. 41
James Grainger (1721-1767)p. 42
The Sugar Canep. 43
Bryan and Pereene: A West Indian Balladp. 44
Matthew Green (1697-1737)p. 45
The Spleenp. 46
Joseph Gwyer (1835-?)p. 46
To Alfred Gwyerp. 47
Ode on the Visit of the Shah of Persiap. 47
On the Death of the Duke of Clarencep. 47
On the Funeral of Dr. Livingstonp. 48
Nancy Luce (fl. 1860s)p. 48
Poor Little Heartsp. 48
William McGonagall (1830-1902)p. 50
The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tayp. 51
The Tay Bridge Disasterp. 51
An Address to the New Tay Bridgep. 52
A Tale of the Seap. 53
The Death of Lord and Lady Dalhousiep. 54
The Funeral of the German Emperorp. 55
The Famous Tay Whalep. 56
The Late Sir John Ogilvyp. 57
The Royal Reviewp. 57
The Sprig of Mossp. 58
The Clepington Catastrophep. 58
The Most Anticlimactic Poem: The Grand Rapids Cricket Clubp. 59
James McIntyre (1827-1906)p. 60
Ode on the Mammoth Cheesep. 60
Oxford Cheese Odep. 62
Prophecy of a Ten Ton Cheesep. 62
Disaster to Steamer Victoria at Londonp. 63
Potato Bug Exterminatorsp. 64
Wooden Legp. 64
George Meredith (1828-1909)p. 66
The Empty Purse: A Sermon to Our Later Prodigal Sonp. 66
Owen Meredith (Robert Lytton, Earl of Lytton) (1831-1891)p. 67
Going Back Againp. 67
The Vampyrep. 68
Midgesp. 69
The Worst Attempts at Rhymes by Very Bad Poets: In a Book-storep. 71
The Worst Attempts at Rhymes by Very Bad Poets: The Light-Bearer of Libertyp. 71
The Worst Attempts at Rhymes by Very Bad Poets: Indian Cornp. 71
James Milligan (fl. 1800s)p. 72
The Science of Geologyp. 72
Bertha Moore (fl. 1890s)p. 72
A Child's Thoughtp. 73
Julia A. Moore (1847-1920)p. 74
Hattie Housep. 75
Little Libbiep. 75
Roll On, Time, Roll Onp. 76
Croquet by Moonlightp. 76
Ashtabula Disasterp. 77
Hiram Helselp. 78
The Brave Page Boysp. 78
The Author's Early Lifep. 79
Edward Newman (fl. 1840)p. 79
Earwigsp. 79
Georgia Bailey Parrington (fl. 1907)p. 80
An Elegy to a Dissected Puppyp. 80
Robert Peter (fl. 1800s)p. 81
On Time, Death, and Eternityp. 81
The Worst Tribute to a Great Poet: English Poetsp. 81
Mattie J. Peterson (1866-1947) or (1866-1906)p. 82
I Kissed Pa Twice after His Deathp. 82
The Old Homesteadp. 83
James Henry Powell (fl. 1850)p. 84
Lines Written for a Friend on the Death of His Brother, Caused by a Railway Train Running over Him Whilst He Was in a State of Inebriationp. 84
James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)p. 85
The Smitten Purist: And the Charming Miss Smith's Effect upon Himp. 85
The Happy Little Cripplep. 86
A Dubious "Old Kriss"p. 87
Amanda McKittrick Ros (1860-1939)p. 88
On Visiting Westminster Abbeyp. 89
A Little Belgian Orphanp. 90
Thoughtsp. 92
The End of "Pain"p. 93
The Old Homep. 93
On a Girl Who Took Action for Breach of Promisep. 95
I Love to See a Lady Nice and Natural at Any Pricep. 95
When Bad Poems Happen to Good Poets: The Thornp. 97
Francis Saltus Saltus (1849-1889)p. 98
Mothersp. 98
Posthumous Revengep. 99
The Kissp. 100
The Mastersp. 101
Two Loves Found Refuge: A Mood of Madnessp. 101
George Robert Sims (1847-?)p. 102
Beauty and the Beastp. 102
Slocum Slugs, Esq. (fl. 1857)p. 103
I Saw Her in Cabbage Time: A Dutch Melodyp. 103
William B. Tappan (1794-1849)p. 104
Obey Your Parentsp. 105
Song of the Three Hundred Thousand Drunkards in the United Statesp. 106
The Last Drunkardp. 106
Rev. Samuel Wesley, Sr. (1660-1735)p. 107
On Two Souldiers Killing One Another for a Groatp. 107
A Pindaricque on the Grunting of a Hogp. 108
Cornelius Whur (1782-1853)p. 109
The Armless Artistp. 109
The Unfortunate Gentlemanp. 110
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)p. 110
Drops of Waterp. 111
Come Back Cleanp. 112
George Wither (1588-1667)p. 112
A Love Sonnetp. 113
Poems by Unknown Authorsp. 114
Ode to a Ditchp. 114
My Last Toothp. 115
[Untitled]p. 116
Battles of Joshuap. 116
[Untitled]p. 118
Independence Dayp. 120
The Worst Poem Ever Written in the English Language: A Tragedyp. 123
Acknowledgmentsp. 125
About the Editorsp. 126
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.


From "The Stuttering Lover" by Emerson Brooks (1894):

I lu-love you very well,
Much mu-more than I can tell,
With a lu-lu-lu-lu-love I cannot utter;
I kn-know just what to say
But my tongue gets in the way,
And af-fe-fe-fe-fe-fection's bound to stutter!

"The Potato" by Eliza Cook (1818-1839):

The useful and the beautiful
Are not far apart we know.
And thus the beautiful are glad to have,
The homely looking Potato.
On the land, or on the sea,
Wherever we may go,
We are always glad to welcome
The homely Potato.
A practical and moral lesson
This may plainly show,
That though homely, our heart can be
Like that of the homely Potato.

Excerpted from Very Bad Poetry by Kathryn Petras, Ross Petras
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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