Puked onto the Page: An occasional showcase of wretched writing
Amber Tamblyn (yes, the General Hospital and Joan of Arcadia Amber Tamblyn) fancies herself a bit of a poet, and why not?
She has two books of poetry published, and no less a notable than Lawrence Ferlinghetti had this to say about her 2005 collection, Free Stallion: “A fine, fruitful gestation of throbbingly nascent sexuality, awakened in young new language.”
Ferlinghetti’s kind words sound a bit like what Humbert Humbert might have written if he had reviewed Dolores Haze’s “early” work, but Tamblyn herself has described her poetry thusly: “Poems are undigested dreams you finally puke up after a night of no sleep, then feel much better.”
Anyhow, Tamblyn also contributes to Bust magazine as a poetry reviewer, and we stumbled across (in a Salvadoran restaurant, if you must know) this old snippet from her review of Drunk by Noon, by Jennifer Knox:
“If dirty language was a whiskey bottle and a tornado of emotions downed it in one sitting, Drunk by Noon would be its glorious puke.”
One can't even attempt to gaze upon the mental image conjured by those words.
There seems to be a common element in those two descriptions of poetry, though, so we thank Tamblyn for supplying the inspiration for the name of (and accompanying illustration for) a new occasional blog item here featuring examples of bad writing.
We're not talking about writing that merely contains errors, or writing with questionable syntax or iffy grammar and poor punctuation, but truly egregious examples of the art, writing found in those places where metaphors and similes go to die, where cliches rule, where good ideas gone bad are put into words and then puked onto the page—and are sometimes so bad they are almost good (and sometimes seem to go on forever...).
We will try to keep it relatively contemporary, unlike the illo, but you may ask yourself: “Why, for the love of alleged god?”
Well, it’s partly a reaction to a perceived general diminution of writing skills in recent years.
But, mostly, it’s because we can. Schadenfreude. Whatever.
If you have any examples you want to submit, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org along with links and/or info to verify your subhmissions; please put “Puked onto the Page” in the subject line.
Until next time, take it queasy.