May 02, 2007

A Witness to Bad Poetry

Let’s say, dear reader, that you are itching to send us an entry to our Fourth Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition (details of which you can read here). But let us further say that, despite your understandable desire to whip up an acceptably horrible bit of doggerel, you haven’t the faintest idea how to begin. What, you wonder, are the telltale signs of wretched, sophomoric verse?

A good question, that. And we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have taken it upon ourselves to inspire you to reach your “bad poetry potential,” if you will. As non-poetasters ourselves, we feel as if we can only teach by others’ examples.

To this end, dear reader, we have tracked down a suitably tin-eared poem, so that you can learn by studying its myriad defects. We think you’ll thank us for it.

And where, you may ask, did we find a fitting exemplum of atrocious balladry? Why, at one of the most natural of outfits: A “website” called Poets Against War. As you might very well expect, this sort of e-outfit offers the perfect sort of pseudo-poetic drivel soaked in sanctimony. From our hasty perusal of its contents, we could tell that much of their stuff simply screams “Bad College Verse.”

Examine, for instance, a mercifully short ditty by one Faycal Zouaoui. As the Poets For Capitulation “website” makes clear, Mr. Zouaoui is actually 28 years old. Accordingly, he’s no longer a college student—unless he’s a very, very poor study. Even so, we feel as if his verse is in some ways charmingly university-esque.

But you needn’t take our collective word for it:

A witness within

That lifer-world is so insane
How did it to rest in Peace?
In a guilty brain
Within a man
On the run

That’s a real piece of garbage, isn’t it? Note, for instance, that the first two lines are uncommonly ghastly and make very, very little sense. “How did it to rest in Peace”? Did this guy learn English a few days ago? Can you craft an uglier line?

In fact, we think that this little piece of poetic palaver is so terrible on a functional level that it lacks the all-knowing snootiness one associates with pertinacious undergrads. Where’s the “I Know that War Is Never the Answer Because I Took Sociology 101” tone? Where’s the “Women Studies Taught Me That the Military Is Fascistic” hectoring? Come on, Mr. Zouaoui: We think you’re coasting.

And thus we exhort you to do better. Send us your unspeakably bad pseudo-college poem by May 5, 5:00 pm EST. Perhaps your verse will answer that question of the ages: “How did it to rest in Peace?”

Posted at May 2, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack