What rhymes with angst?

Hatemonger’s Quarterly has a winner in its Horrible College-Student Poetry contest. Plus some horrible runner-ups. The winning author of “believing the me i’m told” is Michael E. Lopez. Could it be this guy?

One of the runner-up poems reminds me of the favorite genre of Highland Park High students in the late ’60s: The dead-fish-on-the-beach poem. The angst of lost love inevitably was symbolized by a dead fish on the beach, seen by the lonely wanderer. I was an editor of the literary magazine. We vowed never to publish a dead fish poem, and we kept that vow.

My daughter’s taking a poetry writing class this quarter. She says, “Naturally obnoxious people are 10 times more obnoxious when they’re reading their poetry.”

About Joanne


  1. The contemporary version is the cicada poem, or the poem about how lonely it is writing poetry (Billy Collins is an offender).

    I’m not a great poet, but I’ve edited two respectable lit. mags and publish my poetry consistently in good journals, so I have some street cred.

    Undergraduate poetry courses are a real groaner. So are graduate po workshops, sometimes.

  2. ‘A poet who reads his verse in public my have other nasty habits.’
    –Robert A. Heinlein, _The Notebooks of Lazarus Long_

    I’ve known plenty of these. And they really are more obnoxious than normal when they read their verse aloud.

  3. Congrats to the crack young staff at The Hatemonger’s Quarterly. I laughed my ass off.

    And, by the way, The Hatemonger’s Quarterly is an idea whose time has come.

    That was kind poetic, too, wasn’t it?

  4. Dr. Firebrand says:

    To the readers of Joannejacobs.com.

    It was my pleasure to create something so verifiably awful that I hope there’s no mistaking my intention. All those years studying literary criticism and “PoMo-PoCo” works needs to be held to account somehow.

    Thank you for the kind words. I promise to stick to technical writing from here on out.

    the mysteriously named Dr. Firebrand,
    Duluth, MN

  5. Anonymous says:
  6. Hey, I’ve always really liked that one :).

  7. No Kerouac-offs this year? The Wannabeatniks were my favorite lousy poets in college.