WARNING: If you are feeling at all sensitive or easily offended today, please don't read this. A number of my poems fit into one or more of the following categories. But then, I take the road that if you are afraid of writing a bad poem, you will never write a good poem. I also believe that if you can't acknowledge bad poems, and laugh about them, they will take over the world.

Two uses of the "f" word occur. These are quotes. Don't blame me. And don't tell my mother. And, if you don't wish to hear or see such words, you'd probably better stay out of open mics.

True Confessions: The first form of this list was compiled by a friend and I, jointly, exchanging satirical notes during open mics.


Forty Categories of Modern Poetry

  1. The "You Bastards" genre.
  2. "Pity Me" poetry.
  3. I'm a Creative Artist; I'm So Special.
  4. Nobody Else Here Has Ever Written Anything, So Let Me Tell You What It's Like.
  5. My Lover Won't Listen to Me (So You Have To)
  6. You Cost Less Than My Therapist, and No Matter What You Say, You Aren't Half as Obnoxious
  7. The Next Three Minutes Will Mean Absolutely Nothing, But OH What Imagery!
  8. Eat My Metaphorical Dust!
  9. Nobody Would Read This Es-SAY,
    So I'm Going to Read It to YOU,
    Line by Li-EEN.
  10. Nobody Would Vote for Me, So I Had to Become a Poet.
  11. The Newspaper Won't Publish My Letters to the Editor - But I Can Always Get Open Mic Time.
  12. I Applied for Drama School But None of Them Would Have Me. How Much of the Stage Can I Chew Up In Three Minutes?
  13. I liked Lord of the Ring a lot, so I decided to become an elf. Mom won't let me have plastic surgery, but I have these cool rubber ears, and I've written a whole bunch of elf poetry exactly like Tolkien would.
  14. My poem is pretty obscure, and you don't look very bright, so I will give a 2 and 1/2 minute explanation of my poem before I read it.
  15. Me'n my bros are writtin thiz KEWL poetry journal, and I think you should subscribe and/or submit.
  16. Gee, the guys at the lab thought this piece was hilarious. Maybe you aren't up on nuclear magnetic resonance and plasma dynamics?
  17. As people who read poetry are strange, I can't trust them to understand my great imagery. Therefore, I am forced to "tell" the poem as "showing" it would go right over their heads.
  18. This is about my wonderful new poet friends.
  19. Let me know when my ten minutes are up, because this is pretty long.
  20. Think of my poetry as a very very LONG Zen koan.
  21. (affected texas drawl) This poem is about my aunt Jane with the bouffant hairdo.
  22. This poem has to be read with a European accent.
  23. (holds paper up for audience) This poem is in the shape of a triangle, see?
  24. This is from one of my 12 chapbooks.
  25. This was inspired by my 12-step program.
  26. This poem has a lot of cuss words in it, so if you don't like it, fuck you!
  27. I wrote this using snot and other bodily fluids.
  28. I wrote this on the way over here.
  29. You may recognize this poem from last week? But that was version #76. This is version #77.
  30. I'm glad I'm on first, so I can leave quickly. No-one else here is doing any of my poetry, so there's no point in my staying.
  31. My soul is black. Black is my soul. P.S. I hate my lover.
  32. This is about my boyfriend, James, who broke up with me over spring break.
  33. Drugs. Drugs, man. And booze. Booze, yeah. Don't forget cigarettes.
  34. I have written a poem referring to Miles Davis.
  35. I'm so self-obsessed I scare all my lovers away. I scare all my friends away. I scare my family away. I scare ... Where'd everybody go?
  36. I am the next fucking Ezra Pound, listen to me and weep, you inconsequential worms.
  37. I never need to edit any of my pems.
  38. Rhyme is dead! Meter is dead! Form is dead! Just try to find any structure in my poems, whatsoever! Just try! Oh my god! I'm still using English!
  39. Loser who couldn't write their way out of a paper bag who categorizes everyone else they can to make their sorry existence look that much brighter.
  40. I have a list.

Thanks to the following contributors:
Karen Tellefsen
Peggy Makolondra
Deborah Kilgore
Wes Browning
Noel Franklin
Robin Merrigan
Ruth Fox
Scott (at the Penny U)
Colin Principe

Nominate a New Category

An example of some sort of Open Mic Poetry.

You are welcome to examine my other writing for whichever categories you can identify.


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