Each year since 1986, the Philolexian Society has hosted the Annual Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest. The contest is an evening of hilariously bad, terrible, and thoroughly disgusting original poetry–all performed in honor of Mr. Kilmer, the society’s own alumnus and author of the infamous “Trees.”
Trees (1913)I think that I shall never seeA poem lovely as a tree.A tree whose hungry mouth is prestAgainst the earth’s sweet flowing breast;A tree that looks at God all day,And lifts her leafy arms to pray;A tree that may in summer wearA nest of robins in her hair;Upon whose bosom snow has lain;Who intimately lives with rain.Poems are made by fools like me,But only God can make a tree.
The contest is judged by a panel of faculty, who award prizes including the “Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap” award, the “Major Props” award, and “Dishonorable Mention.” As we have discovered, it takes a remarkable amount of skill to craft a truly successful bad poem, so each year the winners are honored in the Winter issue of Surgam.
To read a selection of previous Kilmer poems, visit our archive at http://fuckyeahkilmer.tumblr.com/