Monday, February 23, 2009

I wouldn't have believed it

but there are actually poems in English worse than The Tay Bridge Disaster.

Peter Beagle's new collection, We Never Talk About My Brother, features a duel in which the antagonists comete to see who can remember and recite the worst poetry. It's a clever, funny, and touching story. It's also difficult to appreciate, because you have to wrench your horrified, fascinated attention away from the train-wrecks-in-verse that keep unfolding inside the text.

Like Nature's Cook. Goes from disgusting to outright ghoulish. Coleridge's (Coleridge's?) To a Young Ass-- which is competently constructed, but, well, ludicrous.

Then there's... A Tragedy. Be warned. This is a poem of such atrocity, such horror, such utter brain-creeping badness, that you may wake up screaming in the middle of the night after reading it. Reading it is like watching a slug crawl all over your first-edition Lud in the Mist. Like listening to a thousand tweed jackets scribble on chalkboards with rusty nails. Every word feels like a Band-Aid ripped only half-way off and waiting for the rest of the pain.

Oh yeah, there are other stories in the book, and they're all brilliant. PB just gets better and better. The first story will make you cry, the second is extremely disturbing, and they keep going from there. Just... when you read "Spook", be careful. Be very, very careful how you read that poetry. And whatever you do, don't read any of it aloud.

Collection available! Knocking from Inside

1 comment:

Steve Perry said...

Next time you go to a con, see if somebody is doing a reading of The Eye of Argon ...