Very Bad Poetry edited by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras

I once read a magazine article on encouraging children to read that stated, “How can children know what constitutes a good book, if they’ve never read a bad book?”.  The article basically said that we should encourage children to read.  They might become fixated on individual books or series that aren’t of great literary merit, but eventually they would tire of these and want to read “a good book”.Xw12

I think the same principles apply to adult reading.  If you think that you don’t know much about poetry, or don’t like “good poetry”, read some bad poetry.  This book contains some real stinkers.  For example, the following quote from Ode on the Mammoth Cheese (weighing over 7,000 pounds) smells worse than limberger:


Cows numerous as a swarm of bees, or as the leaves upon the trees.

It did require to make thee please,

And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese.

May you not receive a scar as

We have heard that Mr. Harris

Intends to send you off as far as

The great world’s show at Paris.

So if you think that you don’t like or appreciate poetry, read some really bad poetry, you may know more than you think. 

(Carole Campbell Brown, Central Library)

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