Friday, May 29, 2009

Bad Poetry 2: the great Wergle Flomp

Continuing the discussion of bad poetry...

There is, of course, poetry that's so bad that it's good.. and then there's poetry that's even worse than that. That's where Wergle Flomp comes in.

The origin of Wergle Flomp is recounted by David Taub It has to do with the website formerly known as the National Library of Poetry. (If you want to know about National Library of Poetry, Dave Barry explains all.) Turns out, what they do is to have an open poetry contest to which people are solicited to send poems... and then everybody who sends in a poem gets "selected" as a semifinalist to be in their anthology... a copy of which they can buy for only fifty dollars. Along with plaques, and other memorabilia. At, say five thousand "selected" poets, fifty dollars per poet-- that's a nice chunk of cash. There are exposes here and there.

But back to Flomp. What David Taub wondered was, just how bad can a poem be, and still get that letter "In celebration of the unique talent that you have displayed..." How bad can it be? He tried worse and worse poetry. Like, Stephen AbutLOL's "Wots a pome," featuring the immortal lines:

Very serious stuff is pomes
you can write them in your homes.

and which got that letter ... your poem was selected for publication, and as a contest semi-finalist, on the basis of your unique talent and artistic vision."

Even the pseudonym "Wergle Flomp", writing a poem that made no sense whatsover, got the letter.

So in the spirit of the great Wergle Flomp ("flobble bobble blop/yim yam widdley woooo/oshtenpopple gurby"), the Wergle Flomp poetry contest was inaugurated. The rules of the contest are simple: what's the absolutely worst possible poem that can be submitted to the contest-- or the international library of poetry or any similar contest? It's a contest for poetry that's not just bad, but excruciatingly bad

A really good--by which I mean, really bad--Wergle Flomp poem is earnest and so so tone deaf as to be embarassing.

I'm happy to point out, by the way, that Cleveland features in the first stanza of the winning Wergle Flomp poem from 2008, Benjamin Taylor Lally's "FIRST EDITION, 2008":

O, I also enjoy singing about America
When I am in the shower
O song—O awesome song,
O the mouth-song that comes out of my mouth,
Like food when I don't feel good.
O-hi-O, Cleveland is your capitol.
O, how this pen fits in my hand,
Like a magic microphone or something.
When I write, the words just plop out of it,
Out of me,
Me the poet.
I am a poet.

Hey, we're famous. Or something.

So, if you really want to see some bad poetry-- check it out.

1 comment:

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...


Thanks for sharing this! :D


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau