The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse

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D.B. Wyndham Lewis, Charles Lee
New York Review of Books, Apr 30, 2003 - Poetry - 328 pages
4 Reviews
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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 chiefiy good Bad Verse." Here indeed one finds the best of the worst of the greatest poets of the English language, masterpieces of the maladroit by Dryden, Wordsworth, and Keats, among many others, together with an index ("Maiden, feathered, uncontrolled appetites of, 59;. . . Manure, adjudged a fit subject for the Muse, 91") that is itself an inspired work of folly.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jsburbidge - LibraryThing

This is a classic, and very funny, anthology of found humour in the form of bad poetry, ranging from errors by major poets -- Dryden, Wordsworth, Byron, and Tennyson all show up, and the title is that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - antiquary - LibraryThing

A collection of verse the editors considered bad, from Abraham Cowley to Alfred Lord Tennyson (roughly from mid 17th century to the end of the 19th). Nearly all are English authors, but a few pieces by Emerson are included. Read full review

Contents

HORSDEUVREII
1
SIR RICHARD BLACKMORE d 1729
40
AMBROSE PHILIPS 16751749
55
PAGE
80
GEORGE CRABBE 17541832
111
THOMAS HAYNES BAYLY 17971839
166
ELIZA COOK 181889
199
PAGE
215
POSTPRANDIAL
249
38
255
78
261
42
263
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About the author (2003)

Dominic Bevan Wyndham Lewis (1894-1969) was born in Wales and educated at Oxford. Prior to serving in World War I, he intended to pursue the legal profession; but after, having suffered two bouts of shell shock and one of malaria, he set his sights on journalism. In 1919, he became a columnist for The London Daily Express under the pseudonym “Beach Comber.” These pieces and those that he later wrote for The London Daily Mail and The London News Chronicle capture Lewis’s legendary wit and savage, though eloquent, impatience with modern trends and are collected in the volumes At the Green Goose (1923), At the Sign of the Blue Moon (1924), At the Blue Moon Again (1925), and On Straw and Other Conceits (1929). He wrote several literary biographies, acclaimed for both their spirited subjectivity and their attention to historical detail, taking on subjects ranging from Rabelais and Molière to Boswell and Habsburg Emperor Charles V. Mid-career, he also coauthored the story on which Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much was based.

Charles Lee (1870-1956) was born in London to an artistic family who, throughout Lee’s life, heartily supported him in his evolution as an intellectual, fiction writer, poet, playwright, composer, and pianist. He received his BA from London University in 1889 and published his first novel, Widow Woman, in 1896. In poor health, he traveled to Cornwall in 1900 for a brief recuperative visit, staying on seven years, and discovering what would prove to be his most enduring subject: Cornish life, its manners, its landscapes, and its dogged resistance to modern times. In this vein, he wrote four other novels—Our Little Town, Paul Carah Cornishman, Dorinda’s Birthday, and Cynthia in the West—as well as a number of short stories (recently collected in Chasing Tales: The Lost Stories of Charles Lee); several plays, journals, and musical scores; and a guide book, The Vale of Lanherne. Later, after relocating to the London environs, he worked as the senior editor for J. M. Dent, where, owing to his talent for pruning and polishing prose, he came to be known as “the man with the green pen.”

Billy Collins is the author of five books of poetry, including Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems, The Art of Drowning, The Apple That Astonished Paris, and Questions About Angels. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, Harper’s, and The Atlantic Monthly, among other publications. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and is the winner of numerous awards. In 1992, he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as “Literary Lion,” and is currently serving as the 2001-2003 Poet Laureate of the United States. A Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College (CUNY), Collins lives with his wife, Diane, in northern Westchester County, New York

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