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The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse
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The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  67 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The editors of this legendary and hilarious anthology write: "It would seem at a hasty glance that to make an anthology of Bad Verse is on the whole a simple matter . . . On the contrary . . . Bad Verse has its canons, like Good Verse. There is bad Bad Verse and good Bad Verse. It has been the constant preoccupation of the compilers to include in this book chiefly good Bad ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published April 30th 2003 by NYRB Classics (first published 1930)
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The editors of this book must have literally enjoyed a hoot when compiling this compellingly readable selection of extracts of Bad Verse emanating from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

What is so enchanting about the exquisite breadth of Bad Verse to be found within the pages of “The Stuffed Owl”, is that as one wipes the tears of laughter from ones’ eyes, one winces for those mighty poets brought verily so to their knees. As a Brit, I cautiously venture to suggest that the
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: victorian, poetry
Picked this up when I was writing about Wordsworth's The Stuffed Owl for my friend's taxidermy magazine. I'm still offended on behalf of the poem, which I think is rather nice. Better to have named the books for the biting shark of Bryan and Pereene - one of a few laugh-out-loud moments. Recommended for the erudite bathroom!
Nov 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Merciless poking fun at bad poetry.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
There's some pretty funny stuff in here. First published in 1930, it takes aim at poets of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The editors (D.B. Wyndham Lewis and Charles Lee) restricted their selection to dead poets, understandably enough. This edition, reissued as part of the terrific New York Review Books Classics series, has an introduction by Billy Collins.

Apart from some of the most hilariously dreadful verse you're ever likely to encounter, the book has the following attractive features:

Dami (Damiellar)
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, poetry, pure-fun
I just love this book.

I was directed to it via The Book of Heroic Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain so was quite pleased indeed when I came across it (and only at $3!)

This is unabashedly bad poetry. The book starts off with a some 1 or 2 line excerpts but it's the longer ones which I enjoy most

An example:

What is liquid - Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

All that doth flow we cannot liquid name,
Or else would fie and water be the same;
But that is
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The finest collection of truly terrible poetry you could wish for. Clunkers from some surprising quarters, including Wordsworth, Dryden and Tennyson. Hymn-writers give good value: "Oh may thy powerful word | Inspire the feeble worm | To rush into thy kingdom, Lord | And take it as by storm." And how about "Life scums the cream of beauty with Time's spoon" - oh! How true, how very true! And how beautifully put! Open any page at random, and gems like that fall out.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorites, this book is filled with the most glorious clunkers ever to grace a the English language, and a tremendous index to boot. Here's a taste, about a gentleman who accidentally ate a poisonous mushroom: And in a dark and trying hour / (Man hath his days of woe!), / He found in vegetable power / A dreadful, deadly foe!
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyrb-classics
Fun collection of some very awful poetry, by poets both renowned and obscure. If you're a writer, this book is a great ego boost.
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the funniest books I've ever read.
Jacques Bromberg
Dec 30, 2006 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This collection is kind of fun, but it really is full of some god-awful poetry. It's hard to believe that some of this stuff is for real!
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