"An Elegy to a Dissected Puppy"? "The Ditch"? "Children Disinterred"? "I Kissed Pa Twice After His Death"? Badly made horror films? No, these are just a sampling of the motherlode of poetic dreg Kathryn and Ross Petras have collected in this volume. All the poems collected are honest, serious attemps at poetic art; that makes this collection all the more hilarious. A note of praise/concern--Speech students have claimed state championships in Nebraska using "Very Bad Poetry" selections...gasp!
Low satire of a very high order. Pound for pound, Very Bad Poetry is a better buy than Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, Voltaire's Candide, or Dr. Johnson's Rasselas. Kudos to K. Petras & R. Petras, who pepper these gloriously godawful piles of doggerel with just the right mix of high-toned amusement & subtle skepticism as to their artistic merits. In fact, V.B.P. is the best book of its kind since the publication some thirty years ago of the immortal Owl Anthology of Bad Verse.
What makes a poem very bad? There is no definitive answer of course, though Kathryn and Ross Petras list several common elements, like "a well-honed sense of the anticlimactic," unfortunate rhymes, and overzealous use of literary devices.It may seem as though it's easy enough to write a very bad poem, given these strategies, and yet the editors would beg to differ: "Unlike the plainly bad or the merely mediocre, very bad poetry is powerful stuff. Like great literature, it moves us emotionally, but, of course, it often does so in ways the writer never intended: usually we laugh." And so you will as you make your way through one dazzlingly bad poem after another, lingering on such pinnacles as the editors have designated "The Most Lurid Account of a Tragedy," "The Most Convoluted Syntax," and last and certainly least, "The Worst Poem Ever Written in the English Language," titled (appropriately!) "A Tragedy" which opens with the lines: Death!/Plop./The barges down the river flop. Why should a writer aspiring to very good poetry want to read Very Bad Poetry? For the sheer fun of it, of course, and for the comfort of knowing no matter how bad you think your poem is, it cannot be as bad as the very bad poetry therein!
I read a small book of bad poems today/the authors though they did their best/could not make them rhyme or make them fit time/with the beat of the verse - so they guessed!Ah, I understand just how hard it can be/to have Muses call in your ear/yet talent be lacking so the poem is cracking/apart and the writer's in tears!I paid eight plus tax for this book that so lacks/any reason to even be read? Oh, so what if I did/if it inspires one kid to take up biology instead - hooray!
This book is not to be read in public unless you don't mind attacting attention when you burst out laughing to the point you are in tears. There are no words to describe these poets and their works--at least no words I can use here. This is a must-have addition to everyone's library. Stock up for next Christmas!