April 17, 2004

Finding Your Voice As you

Finding Your Voice

As you must know by now, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” do not publish on the weekends. So you might now be asking yourself: “Why is the crack young staff of ‘The Hatemonger’s Quarterly’ posting on a Saturday?” Or words to that effect.

Well, we’ll tell you. Although we have received a goodly number of entries to our First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition (the announcement of which you can find below), we want to exhort more of our dear readership to dig deep, find its inner poetaster, and submit a piece of stridently awful poetry.

And we think we have a way to inspire you to do so. A correspondent from our Durham (N.C.) office recently sent us a copy of the Spring 2004 issue of “ Voices,” which bills itself as “an opinion magazine published by the Duke University Women’s Center” that “provides a community forum for discussing women, feminism and the intersection of gender with ethnicity, class and sexuality.” Sounds like a winner, eh?

And, indeed, “Voices,” a rather lavishly produced periodical (for which the students of Duke University, no doubt, are flipped the bill), proves to be a locus classicus of the wretched student verse we want our readership to submit for our contest.

Before we offer a sample of the poesy in “Voices,” we should note that “Voices” is a cornucopia of execrable poetry and prose. An example of the latter can be found on page 19, where the reader discovers a curious piece entitled “Finding my Vagina,” by a student called Yaolin Zhou. The article starts, as they say, with a bang: “It took me twenty minutes the other day to find my vagina.”

Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know exactly what you are thinking: This girl must be really, really heavy. But it turns out that the young Ms. Zhou is simply confused about anatomy. Or something. Frankly, that’s all we could glean from the piece. To be sure, it won’t take us twenty minutes to place “Voices” magazine in the trash bin; luckily, we know exactly where that is. (The editors of “Voices” aren’t really helping out Ms. Zhou by placing a poem called “What Goes in After the Carrots?” directly below her article. And, no, we’re not making this up.)

But we digress. What we really wanted to offer in this Special Weekend Edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is an example of sufficiently disastrous collegiate balladry. And we found just the thing on page three—a poem entitled “Hyphenated Identity” offered by one Tamaron Houston, whose first verse reads:

Black—Middle class—Methodist, that’s me.
Not baptized—owner of a Lexus—colored, that’s me.
White friends—Jewish roommate—listens to pop music, that’s me.
yeah—that’s me.

Ah, that’s the stuff! Ancient lore has it that the master poet Virgil would only compose three lines a day. We don’t know anything about Tamaron Houston’s modus scribendi (and we would hate to de-elevate her), but we have a feeling that she has the same methodical style: After all, how else could she deftly incorporate such delicate phrases as “owner of a Lexus” and “Jewish roommate” into her verse? Eat your heart out, Czeslaw Milosz!

But we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” think that you, dear reader, can do an even better job. Remember, full publication of your poem on our website and the possibility of a “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” T-shirt are at stake. The competition, like Delta Burke, is hot and heavy. So send your poem in today!

Posted at April 17, 2004 12:02 AM | TrackBack