I finally watched Bad Writing. There is definitely some bad poetry there! Vernon Lott, who “in the autumn of his twentieth year” was the world’s greatest poet, wrote thousands of lines about just three subjects: cigarettes, wine and ennui.
I’m not sure he used the word ennui.
So maybe he’s no poet, but there’s good stuff in this documentary! Lots of interviews with interesting people who happen to write great stuff. Watch it, and you might meet a new favorite author or get to know one you already like a little bit better.
For example, I wish Margaret Atwood was related to me. She was very reassuring, admitting that her own teenage writing was just that– teenage writing, “and that’s not bad.” Thanks for the encouragement, Auntie Mags! More tea?
I will forgive George Saunders for his cringe-worthy comments about his man crush on Ernest Hemingway, because so much of the other stuff he said was insightful. I’ve never read his stories, but I will now.
Jillian Weise, who is actually a really good poet, commented on the irrelevance of writing about archaic things, like roses, and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone write a poem about Skype?”
Yeah, relevant poetry. Exactly.
I would like to dedicate the following poem:
- to Auntie Mags, because I was young when I wrote it and that’s okay
- to Jillian, because it’s relevant (or was circa 1995)
- and to Vernon, because it’s bad.
It’s neon white, glows in the night
Shows my sideburns off just right
I think somebody stole my favorite hat.
I’ve got a date, I’ll be out late
I won’t feel safe to walk my date
Back home to Sigma Chi without my hat!
It’s really rad, goes with plaid
And every pair of wind pants that I have.
What am I supposed to wear without my hat?
The guys will be so mad at me
For losing the symbol of our fraternity
So help me out and bring me back my hat.
I’m a cool dude, don’t wanna be rude
But if I see you with it you’ll get sued.
Nothing is worth more than my white hat.
It could have been Mike or maybe a Pike
I don’t know— they we all look alike!
And I’m the only one without a hat.