Saturday, March 15, 2008

See, I told you I wrote bad poetry!

You can't do anything embarrassing these days without it winding up on the internet it seems. And my bad poetry is no exception.

So I've been showing off the advanced copies of IWBYJR and inevitably everyone flips it over and reads my bio which says "Stephanie Kuehnert got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade..." And they all pause and look up at me, laugh awkwardly and go, "Really?"

Um, yeah. I thought it was pretty common, actually. (Informal survey in the comments section, please. How many of you, whether you consider yourself a writer or not, wrote angst-filled poetry in middle school or high school? I bet many girls did. Guys, maybe not so much.)

But in case anybody really thought that I am somehow too cool to have ever written bad, angsty poetry, the proof has arrived! I used to enter these contests for this poetry organization that has now become These contests were really a rip off because no matter how much your poem sucked, they'd put it in an anthology and then try to sell you the anthology. My mom has a few of these bulky volumes that we bought before realizing we were being scammed. (Well, maybe we knew all along, but seeing your work in print as a teenager is just too cool and I guess for my mom it was an expensive version of hanging my art on the fridge.)

Anyway since this organization is not, my old crappy poems are online! I just discovered them today and am mortified, but since I'm also a bit of a masochist, I'll share my mortification. My poetry notebooks are packed away somewhere so I can give you only approximate dates and vague remembrances of what they are about. Honestly my poems from mid-high school all sound pretty much the same: like a bad version of a Hole or Babes in Toyland song, all tattered dresses, blood, and betrayal. So *serious blushing* here they are.

Black Veiled Faces
- This one would be from the end of sophomore year right after the end of my worst relationship ever. I was so in love with the guy and he totally played mind games with me and did other Very Bad Things. I had a hard time admitting how awful he was at first and I can tell this is from that period. Full of self-loathing and suicide references. About as angsty as you can get.

Breaking the Dishes
- This is probably from early junior year. Still dealing with aforementioned relationship, but have now realized that I was not responsible for Very Bad Things and am trying to deal with my anger.

Polly's Poem- Ah, finally a happy one. This is late junior year, I suspect. About my friend/older sister figure Polly. I think it's about her falling in love with someone, but I'm not entirely sure.

Glass and Holographic Tinmen
- This is from the end of the poetry writing phase. I was probably 18 or 19. It's either about a drug-addicted high school boyfriend or the boyfriend I had at the time who also had a problem with excess... Or it might be about both of them. I did that a lot.

*Hangs head in shame* Well, there is my sordid writing past. I guess it was better that I outed myself than risk others stumbling upon them. It shows how I've evolved though. My initial short stories were that bad, too. Feel free to share an embarrassing teenage moment to make me feel better!


Anonymous said...

I definitely went through an angsty-poetry phase. I was, hmm, about thirteen or fourteen? And I entered mine to, too! Nobody ever bought the scam anthologies, though. Thankfully. There is no physical evidence of my bad-poetry-writing in my house except the poetry notebooks I wrote in. Though the poems are probably online, I'm too afraid to look (though you can if you want. Just don't tell me!). I don't write poetry anymore because I have recognized I have no idea how to write good poetry.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one! I just really wanted to be Sylvia Plath. But like you, I just have no idea how to write good poetry. I can appreciate it when I read it, but writing it? Nope, can't do it! There should be a warning on that says something like, "Are you sure you're gonna think it's good in a few years?"

keri mikulski :) said...

I didn't go through an angsty-poetry phase, but I should have. Maybe, it would have helped me get through some of the same things you write about (boyfriends doing very bad things). :) shuts computer off to go write some angsty poetry

Annika said...

I am not sure I can bring myself to read your crappy poetry, for fear it will dredge up the memory of my crappy poetry! What's funny is that I've never even liked poetry and yet I could not help writing it at one point.