philolexian society Archive



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img November 20, 201511:31 amimg 3 Comments

The room where it happened (catch that reference)

The room where it happened (catch that reference)

I have to ask: if you weren’t in Havemeyer 309 last night between the hours of 8:30 and 11pm, then where were you? What could you have possibly been doing that was more interesting, more fulfilling, and more erotically satisfying than the 30th Annual Alfred Joyce Kilmer (Memorial) Bad Poetry Contest?

Whatever excuse you might have is insufficient, but I must pardon you. I must take pity on you, you who were too unfortunate to witness the Bad Poetry Contest with your own eyes, and describe it for you. The contest, after all, demands to be shared with the world.

Before it all began, the audience was given some history and context for the whole affair. The three celebrity judges were introduced: one English professor and two Classics professors, selected through a “rigorous process of emailing all the professors on campus, accepting the first three who said yes, and then telling them nothing about the night,” according to the contest moderator. Then, a Philo alum read a biography of Alfred Joyce Kilmer (CC 1908 and Philoxian Society VP) himself, describing how Kilmer and his friend began to write purposefully bad poetry under a pseudonym and submit it to poetry journals. Although it started as a joke, the bad poetry gained critical acclaim in some circles and critical distaste in others.

In the honor of Kilmer, a man who saw beauty in everything and wrote glorious poems about mundane everyday objects, Philo hosts the Bad Poetry Contest every year. Poets compete to find out who is the best worst poet of them all. This year, after a reading of the winning poem from last year (entitled “Poem Written Approximately One Hour After I Had My Wisdom Teeth Taken Out,”) 21 poems fought for the title.

One-by-one breakdown after the break:



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img November 17, 20133:30 pmimg 5 Comments


A pretty bad picture of the winners

Bwog is an intellectual who loves all poetry even if it’s bad. Poetic Justice Bwogger Claire Friedman journeyed to the annual Philolexian Society’s Bad Poetry Contest and recounted the beautiful performances.

If you’ve never had the occasion to think, “wow, what a romantic poem about the NSA,” you’ve obviously never been to the Philolexian Society’s Bad Poetry Contest. You also probably haven’t critically considered a poem about horse bestiality (yes, you read that right), and for that you should be eternally sad.

Last year, Philo reminded me of the weirdest, most fabulously dressed family reunion ever. This year, I would say the vibe trended more towards a super friendly (and still fabulously dressed) cult. In a good way, strangely. Let me explain – it’s almost like the members of Philo have grown so close that they’ve melded minds. Their penchant for chanting in unison and the fact that most of the men were dressed the same (I believe the dress code was starving-artist-chic) confirmed my suspicions.




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img September 01, 20132:31 pmimg 13 Comments

rows on rows on rows

Which seat do I take?

As the school year starts, you will be inundated with student groups asking you to leave your fields to flower and join them.  Before you go signing up for every listserv under the sun, we wanted to provide you with a brief rundown on the cafeteria of Columbia–those student groups that make the most buzz on campus and that you really should know about.  If we missed your group or said something you don’t like, scream at us in the comments.

The EcoReps are there to make you feel shitty about how you treat the environment.  They compost, they gave you your fridge, and they’re getting you a bike.

CUPAL is a collaborative head group for performing arts groups on campus.  They run shit.  We’ll let them explain the functions of CMTS, BTE, KCST, Latenite, Orchesis, NOMADS, CU Players, and CUWE.

CUDems likes Democrats.  CUCR likes Republicans.  CPU likes to talk about them.  They all like a good party.

Student Wellness Project is a highly debated newish group all about promoting student wellness, mostly in terms of decreasing student stress.  You might get a free snack or pat on the back from them during finals.  Sometimes they try to push through some resolutions, though the impact has not been well analyzed yet.

FeelGood CU gives you grilled cheese!!!!!

Student-Worker Solidarity (SWS) likes to yell about things, a lot.  In all seriousness, they support workers in Morningside Heights for decent rights and stuff.




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img November 09, 20122:30 pmimg 9 Comments

Alfred Joyce Kilmer Bad Poetry Contest Winners (from left to right: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, 5 dishonorable mentions)

Last night was a good night to be bad at poetry. Columbia’s best bad poets shined up their shoes (*not really), did their hair (*ish), and broke out their tuxes (*in one case, yes) for terrible poetry’s biggest night of the year: the Philolexian Society’s 27th annual Alfred Joyce Kilmer Bad Poetry Contest. Bwog’s expert on rhythm and rhyme, Claire Friedman, attended.

As I sat in Havemeyer 309, peeling off multiple coats and cursing the weather gods, I felt that I had stumbled into the world’s strangest, quirkiest family reunion. People were shouting, singing, hugging, calling to their peacock-feather-adorned friends to sign them up to read next, all over the steady sound of last minute entries being scratched into journals. Over the course of the night, I came to two conclusions. The first is that bad poetry takes talent, timing, and an exaggerated sense of rhyme. The second is that I will never be as gutsy as the poets who stood up to read their terrible masterpieces. Although the crowd was receptive and friendly, I discovered that bad poetry readings are like stand-up comedy acts; they’re all or nothing. While I find this concept terrifying, I am so glad that the poets who read last night gave it everything.




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img November 29, 20117:00 pmimg 0 Comments

The Internet—it's here

There was once a time when finding free food just meant following your nose. Not so, in this Internet age. We at Bwog make it our mission to post every free food offer that comes our way, and this event is no exception. If you’ve got a craving for unidentified “refreshments,” hop on over to Held Auditorium (304 Barnard) at 7:30 pm to check out “On the Trail of Dictators: Watchdog Journalism in the Internet Age,” hosted by the Philolexian Society. They’ll be chatting about all the ways investigative reporters, bloggers, plane spotters, WikiLeakers, and citizen journalists promote free food government accountability through the media.

Homemade street sign via Wikimedia Commons



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img March 05, 20113:30 pmimg 38 Comments

As Bwog knows all too well, there’s nothing a Columbia student hates more than bad grammar. This Bwogger figures a kitten must die with every its vs. it’s error (I mean, why else would these lil’ mistakes always get everyone’s panties in a twist?). In response to the Philolexian Society’s recent grammatical gaffe, one Columbian thought the group might want to change its tagline to this: “Philo: Taking the Literary out of Literary Society since 1802.” It’s okay Philo, we still think you’re swell, even if grammar isn’t always your strong point. Solidarity!

George W. Bush: Livin’ With Shame Since 2001

UPDATE: Bwog received the following e-mail this evening:

subject: Philolexian Response: ComparativeGate.

Dear Bwog,

Since your estimable news organization has recently exposed that a phlier (read: “flyer”) printed under our name contains a marked grammatical error, the Philolexian Society is committed to launching the most serious of internal investigations, most rigorous of soul searchings, and a frisking to put the TSA to shame. We can assure you that we are taking this matter as seriously as is humanly possible: we consider words our children, and to find that we have so misused them we feel can only be compared to a tragic anagnorisis—say, of Seneca’s Thyestes. We have established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; they have their work cut out for them, as we’ve never been much for reconciling ourselves to the truth. We have also assembled crack teams of experts on the writings of the Marquis de Sade to suggest penalties toeing that fine line between Eighth Amendment violations and a night at a kink club. You might also have expected that the author of this letter—responsible for keeping the Society literary and, on some occasion, literate—to have taken the metaphorical and literal axe for this gaffe on top of whatever sentencing we might hand out to those actually responsible for this gross mishap—but that the Society refused to pass its most recent proposed resolution, “Resolved: It is better to die with dignity than to live in shame.” (Lucky breaks: take them when you can.) We assure Columbians, above all, not to panic: we will soon be back to producing syntactically impeccable, stylistically unparalleled, and thoroughly absurd strings of syntagms for your aural pleasure.

Yours most humbly,

Gavin McGown

Literary Czar, the Philolexian Society of Columbia University.



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img April 18, 20103:30 pmimg 14 Comments

What a wild and wacky Sunday it has been! This morning, Bollinger Family Biographer Mariela Quintana spotted MrsBo herself, Jean Bollinger, buying a book of poetry at Book Culture. She was wearing Nike sneakers (the couple that jogs together, stays together!) and “seemed very intent” that the cashier run up her store credit correctly. She had $1.50 left on her credit, just enough for a James Joyce postcard!

Then, on our morning walk through the Greenmarket, Bwog watched Columbia Formula SAE rolling their racecar into Lerner, as argula-toting patrons gaped.

Finally, Megan Shannon sent along a photo of the Philolexian Society wearing silly hats and playing croquet on Lewisohn Lawn. What a day!



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img April 02, 201012:45 pmimg 15 Comments

Just in case you needed an excuse to go outside today, the Philolexian Society is playing a game of human chess complete with costumes on the Low Steps right now:



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img November 25, 200912:40 pmimg 2 Comments

24-CAT-POETBwog presents the winners of the Philolexian Society’s 24th Annual Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest. We hear it was positively painful to your ears.

Winner: “Balloon Boy by Philip Glass” by Edward Rueda (CC’05), with Everett Patterson (CC’06), 2009 Kilmer Laureate

1st Runner-Up: “Ballad of the Frozen Heart” by Laura Baur-Jaronowski (CC’06)

2nd Runner-Up: “Hamilton and Madison” by Alec Webley (SAS’11, UPenn)

Dishonorable Mention: “Stalker, a Love Poem” by Marley Weiner (BC’10)

Dishonorable Mention: “Tubular” by Samantha Kuperberg (BC’10)

Dishonorable Mention: “Chinese Teashop Rap” and “Crime and Punishment Rap” by Dexter Thompson-Pomeroy (CC’12)

Dishonorable Mention: Untitled math sonnets by Adam Levine (GSAS)

Dishonorable Mention: “If God, Then: Newark, New Jersey. Or: Up, Up, Down, Right, Left, Dog Poop. Or: God/Jay Michaelson: The Antichrist?” by Michal Richardson (BC’06)

The texts, audio clips, pictures, and even a video of the winner, will all be posted on Phlog in the next couple days. Check regularly for updates!



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img November 19, 20096:32 pmimg 0 Comments

The Hapa Club will be hosting their grandly named “Fusion Party” tonight at 7:00 PM in Lerner C555.  For only $5, you’ll have the chance to sample a variety of ethnic foods prepared by the Culinary Society and cheer on Dhoom and Orisha as they perform.

Afterward, head to Lehman Auditorium in Altschul at 8:00 PM to appreciate poetry that would make your high school newspaper cringe.  It’s the 24th annual Bad Poetry Contest, brought to you by the Philolexian Society.

Nothing will ever be as romantic as a True Columbia Date, but you might be able to get away with it, just this once.



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img May 05, 20098:46 amimg 5 Comments

The Philolexian Society has put out its 2009 literary magazine,
Surgam (Latin: “I shall rise”) and boy, does that student poetry go down smooth! The whole thing is available as a PDF on Philo’s website, but as always, you can find the highlights below.

Confirmed: Manhattan is just as romantic and mysterious as your high school senior self thought it would be. (page 6)

Either a diatribe against history class or a diatribe against cod. (page 9)

Keep your recycling and your composting separate, dammit! (page 13)

If this poem is at one end of the Tender Descriptions of Sex Spectrum, Poker Face is at the other. (page 15)

“Impulse then psychotic adieu.” No comment. (page 4)



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img April 26, 20096:44 amimg 11 Comments

Second breakfast, charcoal, and quaintness – it’s yours on Sunday morning.

It’s all thanks to a school spirit organization, a women’s college, and an outdated, ye-olde-style philosophical debate group.

First on the agenda this morning, WBAR has their annual WBAR-B-Q on Lehman Lawn at 11:00 AM.  It’s free, several bands are playing, and there are probably hamburgers.  It’s a wonderfully carnivorous lunch.

At the same time, the Philolexian Society will be hosting their croquet and tea party on the steps.  They promise “a small spread of victuals” whilst you piddle the morning away hitting wooden balls in a circle and making delightful exclamations.

That should only last an hour because Bacchanal will be taking over at noon for their Bagels and Beanbags.  They’ll have your post-lunch breakfast and hackysacks, moving from the 1950’s into the 1960’s.



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img December 13, 20084:41 pmimg 34 Comments

Yesterday, the Philolexian Society announced the winner and runners-up of its 23rd annual Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest, named after journalist, poet, Philo member, and Spec editor Alfred Joyce Kilmer, CC class of 1908. Held every November, the contest selects the “best” (i.e. worst) poetry submissions, and there were some good (bad?) ones this year. The awards go to:

Stephen’s poem is after jump, and for the rest of the poems, hop on over to the Phlog. Bwog congratulates the “winners.” (more…)



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img November 12, 200811:49 amimg 9 Comments

Here’s a quick round-up of all the goings-on of Columbia and its environs, happening right now:

A notably dapper member of the Philolexian Society is currently standing atop the Sundial. He and others  advertising for the Joyce Kilmer Bad Poetry Contest, which is happening on the 13th.

A few yards over, on the Steps, Amnesty International: International Refugee Day is going on until 5 PM.  Then, at 7:30 PM,  there will be a panel of Refugees Scholars in the Trustee Room in Low, who will be talking about their experiences.

And finally, for reasons unknown, Postcrypt is celebrating suggestive portraiture on College Walk.

Busy afternoon, no? Enjoy these outdoors activities while you can. Maybe it’ll soon be winter, which we vaguely remember as being cold. 




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img December 12, 20076:52 pmimg 14 Comments

According to Wikipedia, a phlog is a “type of daybook, similar to a blog, but run off a Gopher protocol server,” although  the word may also refer to a photoblog. According to Columbia’s Philolexian Society, the phlog  is a “blog of awesometude” on which various philolexians post poems, essays, and random thoughts. It’s run through Blogspot  rather than Gopher, and it doesn’t have many photos, but we’ll forgive them. Welcome to the bwogroll, Phlog!

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