#217 v15,09.100
20th anniversay issue #2
JOHN HORVATH jr: How to Write Bad Poetry
100poet3 : 100poem3

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–April 11, 2015
I was forged in tradition and the love of tradition, beaten and hammered by a Master on a merciless hearth. Sixteen times He folded my steels into strength, my honed, forever-sharp blade a shining promise, my very creation a whispered memory of death. Grace and balance in my form, unbreakable, unbendable, razor-sharp cold steel-- a “collector’s glory.” It was my fate to be hung on a wall, my beauty gleaming like tame lightning, my hard edge forever banned from drinking blood. Memory had been pounded into my being; I am a katana, the long sword of the Warrior Clan, a Samurai sword. There are no longer Samurai to raise me against invaders, but I and others like me are honored in Japan and the world. My keeper understood metals, knew how I had been created. He hung me on his wall and often gazed at me with admiration, for he had obtained me knowing my history. Last night the robbers came, threatening, menacing, arrogant in their number. I felt the anger sliding down my length and I whispered, “I am here!” He lifted me gently down and suddenly I was swinging through the air, leaping gladly into battle. The robbers fled, bleeding and sobbing. The blood was wiped from my blade and once again I was hung on the wall, purring with joy, for I had realized the katana dream, defending my own from incursion.

POETRYREPAIRS #217 v15,09.100

How to Write Bad Poetry 

EASY. Take any newspaper clipping and copy it verbatim (word for word). Arbitrarily decide on a line length (30 characters will do fine). Make each line that long. Ignore the paragraphing then decide on stanza length (say, four lines). Oh, yes, to avoid charges of plagiarism, insert two lines of your own. Can’t think of anything? No problem. Enter one line about how you feel about the clipping; then, enter one line about why your audience should care. If make sure you change the names and places (again, that plagiarism thingy). C____ G___ T___ Von Zeppelin died Friday, shot herself in Kolkot India on the spot where Gandhi died. She was 86. Born and raised in the Jalawalpur community of Hindustan, she was a graduate of the Union school. After graduation she moved to Jalalabad where she took work in the issuance dept as an accountant and manager. She volunteered at Hospital in Flogisstan for 19 years. She enjoyed church, flowers, and cricket. She was a member of the First Church in Jalalabad. No one remembers her but me Who changed her elder diaper. Voila! You have a bad poem! (And, you're learned how to have fun with obituaries.) DIFFICULT. Before you begin, recall how you thought and felt as a pubescent teen –for late developers, no later than your 16th year. Remember the things you did and how others reacted to you and how you in turn reacted to them. Set yourself in that time. Some of you will have to weaken your minds to do this; others, just think of yesterday. Now select an event that rocked your young world. Choose something no one else has ever experienced: first love; first break-up; first job; first time fired from a job; first kiss; getting caught while masturbating.You get the picture. So, once you have a content write it out in paragraph or close to paragraph form, or just write it down as you remember it. Don’t worry about spelling (that’s what editors and secretary’s are for – for little or no recompense they enjoy making you look good. At this point you have “content” for your bad poem. Now, goes back to ‘EASY’ and do those things. The really important part is changing the names and places. Here comes the really hard part: find a rhyming poem you like and follow the rhyme scheme. That scheme is easy to find – just check where the last word in each line rhymes (sounds like another word that occurs at the end of a line); label them alphabetically, AA, BB, CC , DEDE, and so one. Now make your bad poem rhyme (sound alike in the same pattern – a thesaurus might be helpful or a rhyming dictionary) in the same pattern as your chosen poem. A really DIFFICULT bad poem. Having done everything in the EASY and DIFFICULT sections, above, add rhythm to your poem. Select something none too hard to follow. I suggest iambic pentameter; make the line sound like Ta-da ta-da ta-da ta-da ta-da You may alter this pattern only for emphasis (but that starts you down the road to ‘gooder’ poetry so be careful). Read your poem aloud so you can hear all the changes you’ve made then go back and smooth over the rough spots or rewrite sections that don’t make sense (more ‘gooder’ poetry here so be careful). If your content (see paragraph two and three of the DIFFICULT section, above ) is about love or even liking, you might want to write a “sonnet”. Reduce your poem to 14 lines. That’s it! FINALLY Look around online to find ‘magazines’ that focus on the bad poem; just because it’s a bad poem doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be published for your efforts. If no one will publish you, find someone who will help you create a website for your particular brand of bad poetry. If all else fails, file your bad poetry in the fireplace and wait for winter to warm yourself. Bad poetry is good for something.

POETRYREPAIRS #217 v15,09.100

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SUE LITTLETON's ebooks on poetryrepairs include Poems of Istanbul www.poetryrepairs.v13/c02.html and SUEKU/HAIKU. 'Katana' is from an actual incident reported in Argentina.