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B is for Bad Poetry

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Forget Shakespeare. Don’t count on Donne. Shelley and Keats: banished! And there’s absolutely no poet laureate from the golden or any other age. So fawning PhDs in love with little-understood verses by long-dead writers should go elsewhere. This is poetry for the rest of us—bad poetry! Pamela Russell’s unexalted (but thoroughly hysterical) poems mock, chide, accuse, tease, Forget Shakespeare. Don’t count on Donne. Shelley and Keats: banished! And there’s absolutely no poet laureate from the golden or any other age. So fawning PhDs in love with little-understood verses by long-dead writers should go elsewhere. This is poetry for the rest of us—bad poetry! Pamela Russell’s unexalted (but thoroughly hysterical) poems mock, chide, accuse, tease, joke, undermine, point, and laugh at the world around us—and at anything that takes itself too seriously. Her non-canonical oeuvre includes: Tea For Two (A Tragedy); Nietzsche And The Ice-Cream Truck; Capitalism Can Fall Not Like I Fell For You; Inappropriately Touched By An Angel; Love Is Like A Toilet Bowl; and many more.   Who knew bad poetry could be so good!    


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Forget Shakespeare. Don’t count on Donne. Shelley and Keats: banished! And there’s absolutely no poet laureate from the golden or any other age. So fawning PhDs in love with little-understood verses by long-dead writers should go elsewhere. This is poetry for the rest of us—bad poetry! Pamela Russell’s unexalted (but thoroughly hysterical) poems mock, chide, accuse, tease, Forget Shakespeare. Don’t count on Donne. Shelley and Keats: banished! And there’s absolutely no poet laureate from the golden or any other age. So fawning PhDs in love with little-understood verses by long-dead writers should go elsewhere. This is poetry for the rest of us—bad poetry! Pamela Russell’s unexalted (but thoroughly hysterical) poems mock, chide, accuse, tease, joke, undermine, point, and laugh at the world around us—and at anything that takes itself too seriously. Her non-canonical oeuvre includes: Tea For Two (A Tragedy); Nietzsche And The Ice-Cream Truck; Capitalism Can Fall Not Like I Fell For You; Inappropriately Touched By An Angel; Love Is Like A Toilet Bowl; and many more.   Who knew bad poetry could be so good!    

30 review for B is for Bad Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Pamela August Russell

    Read it? I wrote it! On sale October 6th! Order a copy now before regret sits on your lap and wiggles around seductively... http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Poetry-Pame... Read it? I wrote it! On sale October 6th! Order a copy now before regret sits on your lap and wiggles around seductively... http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Poetry-Pame...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Austen to Zafón

    First, I have to say she's very brave to choose this title. I picked this up in a gift store in Port Townsend expecting it to be a collection of hilariously bad old poems, a la Bulwer-Lytton, but it's actually her own poems and snappy little bombs of sarcasm and wit they are. My husband and I laughed over some of them together and then I read the rest by myself later, a little bit at a time. They're funny, but cynical enough that I could only read about 10 at a time. I wouldn't say she has the f First, I have to say she's very brave to choose this title. I picked this up in a gift store in Port Townsend expecting it to be a collection of hilariously bad old poems, a la Bulwer-Lytton, but it's actually her own poems and snappy little bombs of sarcasm and wit they are. My husband and I laughed over some of them together and then I read the rest by myself later, a little bit at a time. They're funny, but cynical enough that I could only read about 10 at a time. I wouldn't say she has the finesse of Dorothy Parker, to whom she is compared, but if she put out another book, I'd probably read it. Here is an example of a short one: --Unfortunate Cookie-- You will soon meet someone who will bring you much joy and love. Eventually they will devour your soul like it's a hot dog eating championship. Lucky Numbers: 543,8,192,78

  3. 5 out of 5

    Blaine Riesberg

    I enjoyed it more than milk and honey. My favorite: A Beginner’s Guide To Mediocrity Try not to dream. It’s futile and you might as well wish for the end of gravity. Be part of the herd. No one likes an original voice especially if it’s louder than theirs. Learn to live with irony and regret. Everyone knows it’s all we have left. Get used to your mortality. It will eventually consume you so why not pick up an addiction. Don’t bother getting out of bed. The world is crowded enough without you and your big ideas.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    This book is fun and clever, but some of the poems are too cynical or too punny for me. Here are a couple of my favorites:How To Save A Tangerine From Suffering Never peel it. Use it to practice juggling instead. Give it a name.And another:Riding Bitch With Rosemary Clooney & Peggy Lee You with the stars in your eyes put them back in the sky. You're ruining it for the rest of us.I really did enjoy this, but it's like cheap candy - fun in the moment but without much complexity to savor and definitely no n This book is fun and clever, but some of the poems are too cynical or too punny for me. Here are a couple of my favorites:How To Save A Tangerine From Suffering Never peel it. Use it to practice juggling instead. Give it a name.And another:Riding Bitch With Rosemary Clooney & Peggy Lee You with the stars in your eyes put them back in the sky. You're ruining it for the rest of us.I really did enjoy this, but it's like cheap candy - fun in the moment but without much complexity to savor and definitely no nutritional value.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rae Quigley

    Really 2.5 stars: B Is For Bad Poetry was given to me as a gift a few years ago, but I didn't get around to reading it until tonight. I found it while cleaning out my room at my parent's house, and reading it was certainly an experience. It took me about 20 minutes, though it probably would have taken me a bit less time if it weren't for me typi... Finished review can be found at my bog, DrunkOnPop.com ~ http://drunkonpop.com/2013/07/23/revi... Really 2.5 stars: B Is For Bad Poetry was given to me as a gift a few years ago, but I didn't get around to reading it until tonight. I found it while cleaning out my room at my parent's house, and reading it was certainly an experience. It took me about 20 minutes, though it probably would have taken me a bit less time if it weren't for me typi... Finished review can be found at my bog, DrunkOnPop.com ~ http://drunkonpop.com/2013/07/23/revi...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dave Roberts

    It's been a long time since I read a book of poetry. This one is quite enjoyable. Reminded me a lot 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields. It's been a long time since I read a book of poetry. This one is quite enjoyable. Reminded me a lot 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    No idea where I bought (or found) this book, but I am so glad I finally opened it in a last-ditch effort to find accessible poetry to help teach rhyme to my students. I don't think they give a fuck about it, but I'm absolutely delighted by this collection. Some favourites include "A Brief History of Feminism" and "Joni Mitchell Configuration." No idea where I bought (or found) this book, but I am so glad I finally opened it in a last-ditch effort to find accessible poetry to help teach rhyme to my students. I don't think they give a fuck about it, but I'm absolutely delighted by this collection. Some favourites include "A Brief History of Feminism" and "Joni Mitchell Configuration."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    Well… I picked up this collection hoping it was going to be funny and clever in a self-aware way (It sure tries very hard to come across that way) but it is genuinely just pretty average, forgettable poetry. My favourite poem: Crazy Things Happen If You Fall Asleep Listening To The Beatles Paul is dead and I’m pretty darn sure I am the eggman.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Elvin

    I devoured this book whole during a few lazy hours at my local library. A funny, witty, sad, morsel of a book, I couldn't help but order my own copy instantly so that I could re-read it at my leisure - just in case I need to smile at some brief irreverent thoughtful poems. I devoured this book whole during a few lazy hours at my local library. A funny, witty, sad, morsel of a book, I couldn't help but order my own copy instantly so that I could re-read it at my leisure - just in case I need to smile at some brief irreverent thoughtful poems.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Satu

    I remember wanting to read this so badly like 10 years ago. The me 10 years ago would have probably liked it a lot more than the me now. I laughed a couple times, won't remember any of it come tomorrow. I remember wanting to read this so badly like 10 years ago. The me 10 years ago would have probably liked it a lot more than the me now. I laughed a couple times, won't remember any of it come tomorrow.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maya

    Actually a satisfying book of cynical, clever poems full of plays on words and puns, sarcasm, and skill. This isn't bad poetry at all. Actually a satisfying book of cynical, clever poems full of plays on words and puns, sarcasm, and skill. This isn't bad poetry at all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Crystal M

    Some were bitingly sarcastic, others were meh and kind of lame

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alina Lundholm

    A chapbook (sorta) in my shelves I haven't read in a long while. A fun romp through irony, cynicism, dark humor, madcap madness, and more than a few poems I still don't understand. A chapbook (sorta) in my shelves I haven't read in a long while. A fun romp through irony, cynicism, dark humor, madcap madness, and more than a few poems I still don't understand.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan Hodkin

    What a load of self satisfied pretentious bollox. A lesson in how to make money out of absolutely nothing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Allyce

    This review first appeared on the blog Ally's Appraisals : https://wp.me/p37L0Q-8M The possession of Pamela August Russell’s collection of poems, B is for Bad Poetry, was the result of a last-minute addition to an amazon order. For the ridiculous price of $4 (plus a dreadful amount of shipping to Australia) I came to own this marvelous and surprising book of poetry. B is for Bad Poetry is everything the title says it is not. From the first to the last page, each poem is one that inspires either a This review first appeared on the blog Ally's Appraisals : https://wp.me/p37L0Q-8M The possession of Pamela August Russell’s collection of poems, B is for Bad Poetry, was the result of a last-minute addition to an amazon order. For the ridiculous price of $4 (plus a dreadful amount of shipping to Australia) I came to own this marvelous and surprising book of poetry. B is for Bad Poetry is everything the title says it is not. From the first to the last page, each poem is one that inspires either a wistful sigh or warm chuckle. With sweetly sarcastic and borderline bitter moments, B is for Bad Poetry is one that doesn’t take life too seriously. Whether this is done by pointing out the light-heartedness of stressful moments such as a breakup (à la ‘Capitalism Can Fall Not Like I Fell For You’), or merely pondering the process of baked goods in Hell. (See ‘Betty Crocker’s Oven-Free Cookbook Tops the Bestseller List in Hell’) Throughout the collection, however, is the motif of love gone awry. This feeling however is not one typical to the genre and is dealt with in often obscure and imaginative ways. The sheer brilliance and distinct style of Russell’s can be seen the clearest in, my favourite, the Elephant. If you have are not a fan of poetry or anything of that ilk, I would highly recommend you give Russell a chance to sway your opinion, you will not be disappointed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I went into this collection of comically bad poems expecting to laugh a lot. The book fulfilled my wishes somewhat, but I found some of the poems to just feel incomplete or overtly jokey as opposed to bad. The poem "Motto" is three short lines: When one door closes another door opens onto a cliff. To me, this seems more like a funny tweet than a bad poem. Somehow I like the equally short poem "Polaroid" better: That's a nice sunset in the background but you look sad. Like the previous poem, this poem's th I went into this collection of comically bad poems expecting to laugh a lot. The book fulfilled my wishes somewhat, but I found some of the poems to just feel incomplete or overtly jokey as opposed to bad. The poem "Motto" is three short lines: When one door closes another door opens onto a cliff. To me, this seems more like a funny tweet than a bad poem. Somehow I like the equally short poem "Polaroid" better: That's a nice sunset in the background but you look sad. Like the previous poem, this poem's third and final line catches the reader off guard, but it's more a depressing/obvious/cliche' line, and somehow that works for me as a bad poem. From a collection of over 100 poems, these were my favorites: Tea for Two (A Tragedy) The Forgotten Art of Mincing Words Polaroid Unfortunate Cookie The Cheese Poem The Perfect Love Poem The Trouble with Birthday Cakes Normally I Wouldn't Napoleon in Vain A Mystery To Me

  17. 5 out of 5

    mentalexotica

    I don't know if there is some subaltern joke I am not getting or if the audience is meant to be the joke. Because this is not bad poetry at all. Really. It's pretty bloody unpretentious and has a certain refreshing rawness that feels like biting into a cold cucumber on a summer afternoon. The adage, "do not judge a book by its cover" or in this case, its title, well applies. Ignore the outside. Dive in. And take a big bite. I don't know if there is some subaltern joke I am not getting or if the audience is meant to be the joke. Because this is not bad poetry at all. Really. It's pretty bloody unpretentious and has a certain refreshing rawness that feels like biting into a cold cucumber on a summer afternoon. The adage, "do not judge a book by its cover" or in this case, its title, well applies. Ignore the outside. Dive in. And take a big bite.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lexi

    Poetry that emotionally slices and dices you and hits you in waves, but isn't remotely overwrought or ridiculous. Also, as you watch her break all the conventional rules, it's clear she's doing it for a reason to underscore meaning and that makes it very, very good poetry. Read it as emotional consolation backstage at a play I was in, and it really brought me back to earth. Poetry that emotionally slices and dices you and hits you in waves, but isn't remotely overwrought or ridiculous. Also, as you watch her break all the conventional rules, it's clear she's doing it for a reason to underscore meaning and that makes it very, very good poetry. Read it as emotional consolation backstage at a play I was in, and it really brought me back to earth.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stine Kristin

    I loved this already from the first few poems; it's so clever and funny, full of irony, sarcasm, intelligence, originality - very entertaining! As others have said before me: some of these poems are deep and thought provoking, some are clever, some are melancholic, some a slap in the face. All in all a well written and hilarious poetry collection. I loved this already from the first few poems; it's so clever and funny, full of irony, sarcasm, intelligence, originality - very entertaining! As others have said before me: some of these poems are deep and thought provoking, some are clever, some are melancholic, some a slap in the face. All in all a well written and hilarious poetry collection.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hudak

    My dad picked this up from... somewhere? and we got a good laugh reading through some until I decided to just read all of them. Overall, I laughed a good bit, especially at the witty poem titles. One of my personal favorites: "Relativity Theory for a Melancholy Gal" My dad picked this up from... somewhere? and we got a good laugh reading through some until I decided to just read all of them. Overall, I laughed a good bit, especially at the witty poem titles. One of my personal favorites: "Relativity Theory for a Melancholy Gal"

  21. 4 out of 5

    Manday

    I agree with the other reviews - not bad at all! Some of the poems were quite deep, others quite hilarious, others a slap in the face. I would recommend this to anyone who thinks poetry is for everyone.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This is my favorite, from a poem called 'A Beginner's Guide to Mediocrity': Don't bother getting out of bed. The world is crowded enough without you and your big ideas. Also, I had to pay $1 for shipping because this was an inter-library loan. Hmmm. I don't like paying for library books. This is my favorite, from a poem called 'A Beginner's Guide to Mediocrity': Don't bother getting out of bed. The world is crowded enough without you and your big ideas. Also, I had to pay $1 for shipping because this was an inter-library loan. Hmmm. I don't like paying for library books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    monni

    A fast and easy read, quirky at places. It's no wonder most official reviewers have seen this as a comedic book of poetry, but I have to disagree. I feel these writings are just wry and jaded takes on relationships and, most of all, self. Not too special, definitely not too deep. A fast and easy read, quirky at places. It's no wonder most official reviewers have seen this as a comedic book of poetry, but I have to disagree. I feel these writings are just wry and jaded takes on relationships and, most of all, self. Not too special, definitely not too deep.

  24. 5 out of 5

    J. Kent Messum

    This book is one of those rare little gems that hits the nail on the head and makes you laugh out loud more than once. If you were to tear the book cover off and give it to a Hipster, they would probably think the work was sincere.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    Funniest thing I've ever read. Stephanie and I read the whole thing in one night and laughed so hard. Funniest thing I've ever read. Stephanie and I read the whole thing in one night and laughed so hard.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Playful, fun. Dorothy Parker she isn't. Playful, fun. Dorothy Parker she isn't.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Turi

    Bad is in the eye of the beholder. I thought these were genius - melancholic, sarcastic genius, but genius nonetheless.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adnan Ali

    very inspiring. i can be badder.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Richardson

    so good. It's as if Jack Handy was a female english major. so good. It's as if Jack Handy was a female english major.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    Not B at all. In fact, very G. An example: Platitude Omelet I've been walking on eggshells ever since I heard you say, 'She seems nice.' Not B at all. In fact, very G. An example: Platitude Omelet I've been walking on eggshells ever since I heard you say, 'She seems nice.'

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