Each year since 1986, the Philolexian Society has hosted the Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest. The contest is a evening of hilariously bad, terrible, and otherwise eye-roll worthy 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 previous Kilmer poems, visit our archive at http://fuckyeahkilmer.tumblr.com/