Slate is celebrating Poetry Month while also observing the resistance to Poetry Month, with poems against poetry, or poems attacking some kind of poetry. Last week, we presented the Renaissance poet Ben Jonson's "Fit of Rime Against Rime." Here, from two poets born near the beginning of the 20th century, are two short, crisp poems full of bile.
First, Louise Bogan:
SEVERAL VOICES OUT OF A CLOUD
Come, drunks and drug-takers; come, perverts unnerved!
Receive the laurel, given, though late, on merit, to whom
and wherever deserved.
Parochial punks, trimmers, nice people, joiners true-blue,
Get the hell out of the way of the laurel. It is deathless
And it isn't for you.
In a similar irritated tone, similarly full of bad feeling, and similarly a pleasure to read aloud, here is Stevie Smith:
MISS SNOOKS, POETESS
Miss Snooks was really awfully nice
And never wrote a poem
That was not really awfully nice
And fitted to a woman,
She therefore made no enemies
And gave no sad surprises
But went on being awfully nice
And took a lot of prizes.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.