Once upon a Thursday dreary, into Hillel I wandered weak and weary and heard many a piece of dreadful lore…
The 22nd Annual Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest had many moments, ranging from hilarity to mediocrity to…is that Umbrella in Latin? Whether it was Columbia Blue balls from the window to the wall or a scientific explanation of Paradiso or a dissertation of the lovability of your cat rendered in fourth grade, readings were intense and poetry was by all means bad.
The night was kicked off by Thomas Vinciguerra, the very same Columbian that, 21 years before, kicked off the original Bad Poetry Contest in John Jay lounge and helped revive the Philolexian Society after years of dormancy. A consequence of the contest’s popularity has been to attract not only geezers (Philo alums) back to Morningside Heights but also several members of University of Pennsylvania’s Philomathean Society.
Victorious, however, was neither the erotic German poet nor the Ode to John Cage (Silence), but Amitai Schlair’s exploration of an explosion at the poem factory where all mediocre poetry creating machines out of commission. Schlair used a variety of techniques, from similes (poetry is like sausage) to poetic puns (the meter meter) and employed them with riotous distaste.
Runners up were geezer Everett Patterson, current Philo President Joshua Schwartz and freshman Jeana Poindexter, respectively. However, the slew of Columbia and
Barnard judges failed to recognize the clearly superior poetry of Megan Shannon, who’s Two Unseasonable Haiku (plagiarized from Hannah Gould) and Sexy Beard Man were full of vivid description and a deep sense of irony that riveted an audience that was, for the most part, ambivalent towards the diminishing hilarity of the poetry as the night progressed. At least there weren’t any acrostics.