Bad Poetry Day

What is a good poem or a bad poem?  Isn’t it, like our thoughts on all arts, subjective?

In the wider audience however, it seems there are particular rules that all creative arts fall under, where there is some kind of consensus as to what makes good, music, writing, poetry, and art.  Yet, even then, there seems to be some hierarchy code, that on occasions I think can become pretentious and. Becomes what I’d call, arts snobbery.

In terms of music, there are many people who would class all ‘pop’ music as bad music, for no other reason than outdated thinking that classical music is better than any other music.

I have news for those people who follow that thinking. There is some terrible classical music out there, just as there is terrible pop music, or terrible anything.

But as I have already said, the arts are overall, subjective.  Though it is fairly obvious to tell when someone has no talent. Like Florence Foster Jenkins, who was an American socialite, who, in the early 20th century, regularly performed at quite large venues, despite having absolutely no singing talent whatsoever. Her audiences generally went along for amusement.

Why do you we listen to music, poetry, or read books?  Generally, I’d say for enjoyment or because they move us emotionally in some way, which sometimes isn’t always a positive emotion. Music can make us very sad, some books can make us angry, or scared. The same response can be elicited by art and poetry.

So, back to bad poetry day…

Amazingly, in 1521, Erasmus coined a Latin word, Poetaster, which is a derogatory term, applied to bad or inferior poets.

According to the poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he said, ‘Prose is words in their best order’, and ‘Poetry is the best words in the best order.’

Writing poetry, it is often about precision to express something where every word counts. The wrong word choice, a word with the wrong number of syllables, a bad combination of consonants or overuse of connectives might make for a bad poem, or one that doesn’t quite work.

A Haiku is a Japanese form, which was originally used to write about nature, using only 17 syllables.  Nowadays, the form is used for many different subjects, but generally there is some sense, or feeling of the subject.

This is an example I found online, of a bad Haiku, especially written for bad poetry day:

Yarr! Said the

Pirate. Sailing on the seven

Seas. Donut in his beard.

Why is it bad?  For me there is no cohesion in the idea. It doesn’t create a feeling, or an idea. It does stay within the syllable count of a haiku, but for me, that’s about all.

When I read poetry, I don’t want to get to the end of it, and wonder what the hell it was about.  I want a poem to engage with my emotions; make me laugh, make me cry, move me in some way, or leave me thinking about an idea shared.

I like poetry to rhyme, but in a modern way, with rhythm too. But I also like poems enjoy poems that don’t rhyme.

When people in my group send me poems to read, sometimes, they’ve written a lovely poem, and they have rhyme endings that work well, but they haven’t been consistent throughout the poem. That is something that I find disturbing. I think, because as a musician, it’s like having the last chord missing in a piece of music. The resolution.

When poems are written without consistent rhyme, they can leave you feeling on edge.

To do it on purpose, is quite hard to do…

A friend asked me if I could write a poem where it didn’t rhyme, but also had no rhythm. It was very hard to do, and I’m not sure I’ve managed it well, but, this is my bad poem.

What’s the worst poem you can write?

 To end, a poetry joke:

Combine James Bond with Robert Frost and you get:  ‘The road not shaken but stirred’