Bad Poetry

School has resumed and with it, two writing classes. The first is Reading and Writing Poetry, a pre-requisite for the English in Writing Major. It is also a pre-req for all the other pre-reqs, making it one of the hardest classes to get into at Northwestern. Two people showed up on the first day hoping registered students wouldn’t show – alas, we all made it.

My professor is probably in her mid-twenties, a doctoral candidate for some impressive literature specialty, but what really matters is that she has an MFA in poetry from U of M. Our textbooks are the ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound, the Longman Anthology of Poetry (edited by NU professor Averill Curdy), and a Poet’s Guide to Poetry, written by the founder of Northwestern’s creative writing department, Mary Kinzie.

I guess I’d better read these books.

Our first assignment was to write a bad poem. As I wrote mine, I guessed that our professor would use it as an example to show that even bad poetry can be interesting and have hidden meanings. While this wasn’t the point she made, I still think it’s valid.

Writing a bad poem was surprisingly hard to do, and I will admit with some shame that most of my classmates had worse poems than mine. While I tried to overuse apostrophe and alliteration, they leaned upon worn-out metaphors and themes and rhymes that left their poems sounding much worse. Still, I hope you cringe a little at the badness of my poem:

Moon Sonnet

Oh, white Moon

How soft thy curves!

Like the lips of a lover

Caressing the cool, crisp night.

Oh, bright Moon

How smooth thy blemishes!

Like a visage viewing

Our black, brooding night.

Oh, round Moon

How short thy stay!

Like the favors of a fair-weather friend

Slipping through the silver of time

To leave us only a sliver

Of what we once loved.

5 thoughts on “Bad Poetry

  1. Here here, keep writing badly. Maybe you can work some of that badness into your prose. That’s my focus now, improving the quality of my writing, now seriously looking at the sound quality-who knew. So much to learn still.
    I love that I can do this whole schooling thing along with you.

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