Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday Sermonette

Has there ever been a worse poet than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? I doubt it:
By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.


At 11:17 PM, Blogger Evan said...

I'm tempted to agree but then again, dealing with poetry on a daily basis, I've read some notably hideous stuff and know better. I've had the dubious pleasure, for instance, of reading Cicero's "De consule suo", which has had 2,000 years to stink like hell. Allow me to nominate "Howl", though, as a strong contender for worst revered poem of the most recent millenium.

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Smerp said...

This may be telling, but: when I skimmed the quote, I recognized it as a part of Laurie Anderson's "Hiawatha" (from Strange Angels).

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

Smerp: never heard the Laurie Anderson song, but I assume she's riffing on Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha," which this is.

Evan: Okay, fair enough. Keep in mind the beat you're supposed to be hearing. This is pretty bad. Can we agree that Longfellow was the worst Anglophone poet ever? He's like Kipling, at his worst, and with Down Syndrome.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Evan said...

Oh its godawful, no question. Cicero at least had a certain technical proficiency and Ginsberg, for his part, made no attempt at same. What a muddle Longfellow crapped out, though. Still, there's no shortage of crap poetry, in this or any other language. It'd be hard to pick a champ.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

In my hometown, there's a school named after Longfellow, another named after Whittier, another named after Lowell, and another named after William Cullen Bryant. There's also a school named after Nathaniel Hawthorne, but he wasn't execrable like the others. Still, no Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman Middle School. And, by the way, this is New Jersey.

At 11:56 PM, Blogger the actual rod said...

dude, new jersey is SOOO lame

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Evan said...

If I ever become uncontrollably rich, I think I might have a high school renamed after Baudelaire. A frog and and a druggy. But hell, this is America. Money talks and most school administrators are illiterate.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger KINGSPAWN said...

everyone knows whitman was a fag

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

that he was...that he was

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Evan said...

Perhaps we've had our fun with this topic, but I just discovered that there is a batch of parodies on Wikipedia that shouldn't be missed. Sample:

Whence this song of Pocahontas,
With its flavor of tobacco,
And the stincweed [sic] Old Mundungus,
With the ocho of the Breakdown,
With its smack of Bourbonwhiskey,
With the twangle of the Banjo,
Of the Banjo—the Goatskinner,
And the Fiddle—the Catgutto...


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