Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 2013 Poetry Challenge Winners: Parodies

Church Potluck

Parodies and Riffs

Two poems which follow the structure, meter and rhyme scheme of the originals are winners this month. The first is a parody of Robert Frost’s “Stopping By a Woods on a Snowy Evening,” which you can read at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171621.

Stopping By Church on a Snowy Evening

Whose beans these are I think I know.
She brings her famous dish to show
What sets apart her fare from others
Who came to dine despite the snow.

Her many friends might think it queer
To add a cup of homemade beer
Along with ketchup and molasses
For the special potluck of the year.

I walk right past; no beans I take.
To shun her prize must be mistake.
She waves and points, hard to ignore
But farts occur should I partake.

The tables are lovely, full and deep:
Salads, lasagna, meatballs I heap,
And more to choose before I sleep,
And more to choose before I sleep.

~ Loraine Brink

This poem was first published in N.E.W. Voices, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Spring-Summer, 2013).

Loraine Brink lives in Ephraim, Wisconsin. She says she is “a light-hearted poet” who sometimes she likes to titillate her reader. Her goal is to never be boring.

A Parody of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Julia Ward Howe is also a winner this month. You can read the words of the original hymn at http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19669. The poet did not include a chorus in her submission, but you could sing the original chorus, just substituting the last line of a stanza for the last line of the original chorus.

Battle Hymn of the Republic: a Parody

My eyes have seen the glory of the resurrected Ford,
GM and the auto chiefs, their might will be restored
If we loosen up our bank accounts, buy what we can't afford
Our strength will march right on.

We've been through fiscal perils you wouldn't have believed
If you grew up in the '50s when we mixed our wants with needs.
So now that we're all going broke let's go back in history.
Our strength will march right on.

I try to buy American, it's the best stuff, this is true.
And now I work two low-pay jobs just to make things do,
'Cause the price of gas is the real boss no matter what you do.
Our strength will march right on.

I read the Wall Street gospels and dream of better days.
Mutuals and investments are the way go today
Sure, I can't read a Prospectus,  ut I guess that is okay.
Our strength will march right on.

Got nothing 'gainst the U.S. Fed and all those Wall Street kings.
They bring us to those fiscal cliffs, and keep life interesting,
But I'm getting kinda old now and I'm looking for some bling.
Our strength will march right on.

Oh, the thrill of clipping coupons and discount store shopping!
Where's the travel and security I hoped when retiring?
Nickeled, dimed and interest rates ever dwindling.
But my strength, it will march on.

So someone build a coupe sedan with a really big car mirror,
One that shows us where we've been, and gets us outta here.
The past ain't never quite the past, we all gotta learn to steer
And our strength will march right on.

~ Sheila Elliott

Sheila Elliott is a member of the Illinois State Poetry Society as well as several other writing groups.  This is her second appearance in Wilda Morris’s Poetry Challenge. 

Riffs – Another Kind of Parody

When I posted the challenge to write a parody, I should have provided a clear definition of what I was expecting. A parody, as I understand it, is a poem written in the style of another poem, using its structure, meter and rhyme scheme (if any). I received both parodies and poems which seem to me to be more riffs off a famous poem—responding to the content of the poem, but not mimicking the structure, meter and rhyme. I selected a winner from among these riff poems.  Marilyn Taylor’s poem is a rhymed and metered humorous response to Carl Sandburg’s short—and serious—poem, “Fog.” Most critics classify Sandburg’s poem either as free verse or an “American haiku.” You can read Sandburg’s little gem at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174299. Marilyn’s poem is humorous. Anyone who has read “Fog” by Carl Sandburg will immediately recognize Taylor’s reliance on Sandburg.


The fog comes in much like a kitty,
checking out our mousy city;
then, without a single meow,
slinks away to find some chow.

~ Marilyn L. Taylor

Marilyn Taylor served as Poet Laureate of Milwaukee (2004-05) and of Wisconsin (2009-10), and is a popular teacher of poetry. She is the author of six collections of poetry, including Going Wrong. For a number of years, she wrote a regular poetry feature for The Writer. You can read more about her at http://www.mlt-poet.com/ and numerous other sites on the Internet.

Please remember that the poets have intellectual property rights—i.e., copyright on their poems. Share the link to this blog, but please don’t reprint the poems without permission of the poets.

Check back early in November to see what the new poetry challenge will be. 

Happy writing!

© Wilda Morris

Thursday, October 3, 2013

National Poetry Day - October 3

National Poetry Day, a project of the Forward Arts Foundation in London (http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/),  was founded by William Sieghart in 1994. Since then, it has flown across the ocean to the United States (although we still celebrate April as National Poetry Month). Our cousins across the pond have a special theme for National Poetry Day – the theme for this year is “water.”

Today, October 3, is National Poetry Day. Here are some ways you can celebrate:

·         Listen to Prince Charles read “Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas at http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/434045/LISTEN-Prince-Charles-recites-Dylan-Thomas-poem-for-National-Poetry-Day as part of his celebration of National Poetry Day.

·         Read poems to a child or group of children.

·         Slip a poem into a lunch box, briefcase, or book bag.

·         Hide a love poem in your sweetheart’s shoe, under his or her pillow or coffee cup.

·         Sign up to receive poems in your email from one of the following:  http://yourdailypoem.com/,   http://www.poets.org/, http://www.ayearofbeinghere.com/ or http://www.rattle.com/poetry/

·         Host a poetry breakfast, lunch, dinner or party; invite each guest to bring one or more poems to read. You can do this in your home, or invite friends to meet at a restaurant or coffee shop to share poems.

·         Write a poem about water.

·         Call a friend or relative you haven’t seen for a while and read a poem to him or her.

·         Email a poem (one you wrote, or one someone else wrote that you love) to several friends.

·         Check two books of poetry out of your public library – one of classical poetry and one of contemporary poetry. Look for poems in the two books that express similar ideas.

·         Print out a bunch of copies of a short poem. Carry them with you and give them away to the people you meet. Or put them in a small basket near the cash register at a restaurant or boutique store willing to give them away.

·         Tape a poem on the wall of a store.

·         Memorize a poem.

·         Purchase a book of poetry.

·         Follow links on this blog and read or listen to poems you find as a result.

·         Write a parody of a famous poem and enter the October Poetry Challenge on this blog (see previous post).


Wilda Morris

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 2013 Poetry Challenge: A Parody

Much poetry has a serious purpose. Some is just for enjoyment. This month it is time for some poetic fun; it is time to write a parody.

Some poems almost seem to invite people to write parodies.  Among them are “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer and “Jenny Kiss’d Me” by Leigh Hunt.

Casey at the Bat

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that—
We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat."

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis├Ęd, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, "Strike two!"

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.

~ Ernest Lawrence Thayer

Subsequent to the publication of this poem, other writers wrote parodies and sequels, some from the point of view of the opposing pitcher (or team), some in which Casey had a chance to redeem himself. In another, his daughter comes up to bat. I especially recommend “Casey – Twenty Years Later” by Clarence P. McDonald, “Casey’s Revenge” by Grantland Rice (both at http://www.richardton-taylor.k12.nd.us/tech/Casey%20stuff.htm), and a newer Casey poem, “Casey at the Bat (Road Game) by Garrison Keeler” (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_case7.shtml). Keeler’s parody assumes that Casey was playing on the road, not at home, and tells the story from the perspective of the opposing team.

You can scroll down to the “Casey Collection” at http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poems.shtml for other Casey poems (not all are parodies, however).

Jenny Kiss’d Me

Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
    Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
    Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
    Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
    Jenny kiss’d me.

~ Leigh Hunt

Paul Dehn wrote the most famous (and probably the first) parody of “Jenny Kissed Me.” To read his poem and other parodies of Leigh Hunt;s poem (often printed as “Jenny Kissed Me:”) see http://warwithoblivion.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/free-poem-friday-jenny-kissed-me-and-parodies-thereof/. Here you will find some parodies longer than the original, including “Elvis Kissed Me” by T. S. Kerrigan.

Many other poems have been parodied. They include “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Alan Poe, “Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and “If” by Rudyard Kipling. You can read some of these parodies at http://www.angelfire.com/oz/redrose/funnyparody.html.

October Poetry Challenge:

The challenge for October is to write a parody of a famous poem, a poem old enough to be in the public domain (so we don’t run into copyright issues). Please submit only one poem. You can parody “Casey at the Bat” or “Jenny Kiss’d Me,” but there are already numerous parodies of those poems, so you will have a better chance of winning if you select a different poem. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Wordsworth, Edgar Alan Poe, and even William Shakespeare provide a lot of good material for parody.

The deadline is October 15. Poems submitted after the October 15 deadline will not be considered.

Copyright on poems are retained by the poets.

Poems published in books or on the Internet (including Facebook and other on-line social networks) are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, you may submit it if you retain copyright, but please include publication data.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris[at]ameritech[dot]net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [ dot]. Be sure provide your e-mail address. When you submit your poem, include the name and author of the poem being parodied. If the poem is published on the Internet, please include a link to it. If not, please send a copy of the poem and publication data with your parody.

Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog if it is a winner, so be sure that you put your name, exactly as you would like it to appear if you do win, at the end of the poem. Poems may be pasted into an email or sent as an attachment. Please do not indent the poem or center it on the page. Send a brief bio with your poem, if you would like to have one published if your poem is a winner.

© 2013 Wilda Morris