Bizarre Poetry

Published on Thursday, January 20, 2011 in , , , , ,

Tony Roberts' poetry book pictureIt was just back in September when I explored memorizing poetry in detail. The question of what poems to memorize is always the biggest one. You can memorize classic poems, but today I'm going to focus on poems that are a bit more bizarre.

Where to start? How about with the basics, working through the alphabet A-Z. Normally, all you get is things like A is for Apple, B is for Ball, and so on. Sorry, that's too normal for this post! For a geeky turn on the alphabet, be sure to check out The Geek Alphabet from Geeks Are Sexy!

Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies goes beyond just being geeky. As shown in the animated version below, each letter represents a child who dies a grisly death:

Shel Silverstein's approach in Uncle Shelby's ABZ book is well known to many already, but if you're not familiar with it, there are several screen captures in this review that will give you an idea of what to expect.

The late Shel Silverstein is still probably the reigning king of fun and bizarre poetry. A quick look at the number of Shel Silverstein-related videos on YouTube will confirm that. He's hardly the only current poet to consider, however.

I've mentioned Kenn Nesbitt's poetry before on this blog, as he puts such a whimsical view in each of his poems, while still not being afraid to delve into the strange and even morbid side. My favorite poem of his is Katy Ate a Crate of Dates, a tongue twister that perfectly embodies his style. His most recent book of poetry is The Tighty Whitey Spider, but he does have a new storybook out entitled More Bears!.

Trace Beaulieu, whom you probably know best as Dr. Clayton Forrester from Mystery Science Theater 3000, has also recently released a book of original poetry in his own bizarre style, entitled Silly Rhymes For Belligerent Children. Last summer, Trace read some of excerpted poems (Winkle Tinkle is my favorite):

Let's not forget parody. Just this morning, the good people over at mental_floss introduced me to Dylan Curry and one his creations, Humpty Dumpty in the style of Edgar Allan Poe.

Who better than to turn to for parody poems than Frank Jacobs, who has been parodying poems and song lyrics for MAD Magazine for over 50 years! In his book Pitiless Parodies and Other Outrageous Verse, there's whole chapters devoted to his parodies of Mother Goose, The Raven, and Casey at the Bat, including one called Casey At The Dice. Longtime MAD readers will probably find many familiar works in his MAD For Better or Verse collection. His Hollywood Jabberwocky, a reworking of Lewis Carroll's classic poem with movie stars, is both amusing and amazing:

As with any collection of poetry, I can only begin to scratch the surface of the amazing, silly, and bizarre poetry that's out there. However, if I've captured your imagination, and you're now looking for a good place to begin exploring on your own, check out the poems category over at Futility Closet.

What are your favorite bizarre poems? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

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