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Bad Poetry is Bad, But We Love It


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.

You might be wondering just what a Bad Poetry contest entails. Although this was my second year of attendance, I’m still not entirely sure I can answer that question. Unlike what the name suggests, most of the submissions were not bad and some were not even poetry. One girl simply dumped cookies on a tray and gave them to the judges as her “poem.” Well played, madame, well played. The common thread through each submission was not even bad writing itself, but a common love for the hilariously terrible and a flair for performance.

What most people don’t understand about Bad Poetry is that delivery is key. In this way, Philo’s contest was a lot like a stand-up comedy show and, like a stand-up comedy show, it was a little stressful to watch. The night jumped from awkward silence to open-mouthed shock (read: horse bestiality poem) to tears of laughter (read: HORSE BESTIALITY POEM). The end product was a hilarious jumble of bizarre, quirky madness that I hugely enjoyed being a part of.

I have no idea how the judges came to a decision, especially considering how hard it would be to judge haikus with “Howl” spoofs with cookies. Regardless, the winners are below.

1st Place: Stephen Blair, CC ’11: “A Lover’s Complaint from the NSA”

* Note: This is Stephen’s THIRD Bad Poetry contest win. The man knows how to write badly.

First Runner Up: Deanna Bennett, BC ’14: “It’s a Metaphor”

Second Runner Up: “From the Lost Found Poetry Annals, Or: New Findings Show Lost Love, Or: If Bulletin Boards Could Talk, They’d Be All Like, “Check it Out You Guys! I have Like 74 Pins Sticking Out of Every Possible Square Inch of My Surface Area; I Am Totally Gonna Pass Out,” by Michal Richardson, CC ’06.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Rebecca Erhardt, CC ’13: “In Memory of Jean Grey (Again)”

Eric Donahue, CC ’15: “Quinoazymandias”

Noam Prywes, CC ’10: “Paleontology: Pale-Ontology or Dinosaur: Dino-Saur!”

K Gabriel, CC ’13: “Better Dead than Re[a]d: An Inconvenient Spoof”

Wash Your Mouth Out with Soap Award:

Misha Solomon, CC ’14: selections from “Cuntemporary Queeries,” including the aforementioned horse bestiality poem

 A video of the winning poem:

Forgive the shitty quality of the video. I brought a real camera but took too many selfies and it ran out of batteries before I could actually use it.

The Bwog Award

Because some of my favorite poems went unrecognized. These haikus are from Stephan Stansfield, who apparently just wandered into the contest and produced several masterful haikus while sitting in the audience.


I like writing hai

Kus because they make me com

Bine words and nature.


Leaves fall to the ground

Are they okay? Somebody help!

Nature genocide.


A baby is born

Mother smiles, she has nice tits.

Awesome vagina!


Johnson and Johnson

Great price, great soaps and shampoos

Johnson and Johnson


I know some big words

Like sesquipedalian.

You come here often?

A good try via Claire Friedman

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  • Stephan says:

    @Stephan Thanks for the shout out!!!
    Change “somebody” to “someone”
    I love you though, truth

  • who says:

    @who were the poor souls judging this year?

  • it's cool bwog says:

    @it's cool bwog i deeply respect the pursuit of the perfect selfie

    1. arzE says:

      @arzE Selfy, get wit it

  • Philo Moderator says:

    @Philo Moderator Hi from Philo! Thanks for the great write-up! We just wanted to let people know that they can read poems from past years on We’ll be uploading this year’s poems during winter break.

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