April 22, 2014

Horse 1660 - Poetry, Craft and Bad Haiku

The word "Poetry" comes from the Greek "poiesis" which means a "making" or perhaps more accurately in this context a "craft". The word poetry implies that care has been taken in generating a piece of writing to produce something which is either aesthetically pleasing or sounds nice to the ear.
To that end, a lot of times when someone says that they have made a poem, I tend to wonder how much care they actually took. Simply making up rhyming couplets sounds like a lazy method of making poetry and writing things which are passed off as poetry, which under proper scrutiny is little more than free prose with carriage return stops, is also in my opinion, quite lazy. Even blank verse which doesn't rhyme but adheres to iambic pentameter quite rightly deserves to be called poetry.

I mention all of this because of something I was reminded of again in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The Guide helpfully points out that:
Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience members died of internal haemorrhaging....
The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England, in the destruction of the planet Earth.
-  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (1978)

In this spirit, I thought I'd have a go at adding to the pile by utilising a form which is incredibly easy to generate bad poetry in - the haiku. It's so easy that you can generate haiku pretty well much ad nauseum; even whilst on the bus.
Here's what I did, in just 7.5km and 11 minutes:

Super Official Five Guys Burgers and Fries Review
This is what bacon,
Oh my goodness, oh my damn,
Is supposed to be.

I'll be on my way.
Welcome to the house of fun.
Now I've come of age.

Our House
He can't hang around,
In the middle of our street.
Yes, this is Madness.

Such good, very Doge.
What do? What are you doing?
So scare. Concern. Wow.

Transport for NSW - Road Safety Campaign
Get you hand off it!
That text can wait 'til later.
Hands on the wheel please.

Metallica on the Radio
Hush little baby,
In your closet, in your head.
Enter the sandman.

Slurpee Xpandinator!
Convenience store,
7-Eleven slurpee,
Why you taste so good?

What are we protesting again?
Hey hey, ho ho ho.
That bad thing has go to go.
Hey hey, ho ho ho.

Red Man at the Window
Santa Claus is creepy.
He sees you when you're sleeping;
Knows when you're awake.

NRMA Home and Contents
Set my house on fire;
Let's claim the insurance.
Go to gaol for fraud.

I hope now, you'll appreciate just how terrible what is usually passed off as poetry, can be. Please take care when writing poetry and actually bother to spin a craft. Don't become the fourth worst in the universe.

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