Contests : Wergle Flomp Free Poetry Contest : Past Winners : 2003 : Judge's Comments
What makes a poem so bad it's good? This is the question that I,
channeling the spirit of Wergle
Flomp, had to answer. Hilarious awfulness comes in many shapes and sizes,
like the stars of Ms. Howard's first-prize poem. "An
Ode to Buns"
displayed imagination, attention to craft, and one indelibly silly image after another.
I laughed every time I read it. What that says about me, I don't know.
One hallmark of bad verse is a tone-deaf mismatch between style and subject matter.
Flowery metaphors, rhyming couplets, intonations of Deep Meaning are hitched to french fries and farts.
(In my mind, I kept hearing "Bad
Fry" being read by Homer Simpson.)
Poems such as "Bolox" and "The
Most Exquisite Corpse" wickedly mimic the
self-important obscurity and angst of some contemporary experimental poetry.
This year's honorees also include a T.S. Eliot parody ("The
Our 704 entrants submitted every variety of gibberish, doggerel, and satire,
many of them concerning the treachery of vanity contests. Some advice for future contestants:
Pedophilia is not funny. Poop can be funny, but it's not as funny as you think it is.
While I'm not against sex and profanity in a poem, it often functions as a cheap substitute for wit.
Writing pure nonsense that's also funny is surprisingly challenging.
Many of the nonsense entries seemed hastily dashed off,
without the rhythm and scansion that make Wergle's "Flubblebop" stand out.
What I was looking for was some degree of poetic talent,
employed in the service of an utterly unworthy aim.
Thanks again to all our entrants. You are the brave gadflies on the bloated buns of Poetry.com.
Yim yam widdley woooo!