The Philosophy of Bad Poetry

I do write poetry. But I must admit, I am not a serious poet.  I am a humorist at heart, so I tend to write only goofy non-serious poems like this one;


So here is a poem that rhymes but has too much “but-but-but” in it.  A poem about pants should not have too many “buts” in it.  One butt per pair, please.  So this is an example of spectacularly bad poetry.  Why do we need bad poetry?  Because it’s funny.  And it serves as a contrast to the best that poetry has to offer.

As a teacher I remember requiring students to memorize and recite Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”.  Now this sort of assignment is a rich source of humorous stories for another day.  Kids struggle to memorize things.  Kids hate to get up in front of the class and speak with everybody looking at them.  You get a sort of ant-under-a- magnifying-glass-in-the-sun sort of effect.  But in order to truly get the assignment right and get the A+,  you have to make that poem your own.  You have to live it, understand it, and when you reach that fork in the road in your own personal yellow wood, you have to understand what Frost was saying in that moment.  That is the life experience poetry has a responsibility to give you.


Hopefully I gave that experience to at least a few of my students.

Bad poetry makes you more willing to twirl your fingers of understanding in the fine strands of good poetry’s hair.  (Please excuse that horrible metaphor.  I do write bad poetry, after all.)

But all poetry is the same thing.  Poetry is “the shortest, clearest, best way to see and touch the honest bones of the universe through the use of words.”  And I know that definition is really bad.  But it wasn’t written on this planet.  (Danged old Space Goons!)  Still, knowing that poetry comes from such a fundamental place in your heart, you realize that even bad poetry has value.  So, I will continue writing seriously bad poetry in the funniest way possible.  And all of you real poets who happen to read this, take heart, I am making your poetry look better by comparison.


Filed under humor, insight, irony, philosophy, poem, poetry, Uncategorized

16 responses to “The Philosophy of Bad Poetry

  1. Your “supposedly” bad poem is pretty darn funny!

  2. Funny post and interesting thoughts regarding the use of bad poetry. Thanks, man.

    • You are certainly welcome to validate any other of my idiotically obtuse philosophic pronouncements too. I appreciate being taken seriously by adults when it is entirely unwarranted. Thank you too, man.

  3. Pingback: The Philosophy of Bad Poetry — Catch a Falling Star - fallenskiesblog

  4. Great read. Check out my blog !:) covers philosophy and theology

  5. This was a fantastic little article on poetry, really puts things into perspective. I didn’t catch the reference but “the shortest, clearest, best way to see and touch the honest bones of the universe through the use of words.” seems like something I ought to remember.

    • I’m glad you like it. I thought the bones thing was just an example of a mangled metaphor as a sort of bad poetry. But even bad poetry can be good for something.

      • That’s so interesting that you thought that. What I took from that was a comparison that the universe is a living being in a sense. I love the sentiment that consciousness is the universe experiencing itself, and it played to my love of that. This was a really great read. And I like the unique takeaways from it.

      • I am nothing if I am not unique. That’s what 24 years of teaching middle school does to the mind. Appreciate irony or die…. thank you seventh graders everywhere!

      • If you can withstand that, you can withstand anything!

  6. You’ve taken butt to a new extreme. Funny I should come across your blog post. I just posted this today. Take a look at some of my own bad poetry and enjoy.

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