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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > April 2016 > From bad to verse

From bad to verse

With April Fool’s Day on the horizon, Alison Chisholm takes apart the worst poem in the world (don’t worry, it’s not any of yours!)

It is customary for this column to analyse a reader’s poem, or to compare and contrast a poem by one of our readers with a classic piece. Pleasing elements are highlighted, and observations are made about points in the poem that might be worth reconsidering and re-working. To make it clear from the beginning, this poem appears in the April issue of Writing Magazine, and should definitely be studied on the first of that month.

Yes, this is a spoof poem; but there is one tragic truth it reveals. Every single faux pas has been committed and submitted. Every toe-curling error has appeared on an editor’s desk, or among the entries in a competition.

This is the challenge. Read the poem and make a note of all the faults you can pinpoint. It may be helpful to consider them under three headings: content, technique and presentation. When you have completed your list, read the notes below to see how your observations compare ...

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FREE 2016 Competition supplement: Win £400,388 in over 250 writing competitions • The bigger prize: Why comps are good for you , win or lose • Beat the Brontës: Explore Charlotte's style and try your hand in our special competition • How to: Craft credible historical fiction Use humour in your writing Learn from the short story masters • Star interview with TV scriptwriter Sally Wainwright, Bafta-winning author of Happy Valley

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