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Amateur Scribe

Report Reveals All Poetry Is Rubbish

LONDON, ENGLAND -- It was once a byword for romance and sophistication - the literary form of choice for tentative suitors and genteel fops alike, but new research published today has revealed that poetry is, as many had feared, “pretentious, cumbersome and utterly without merit.”

It is news that will devastate emotionally retarded adolescent girls and intense, goatee-bearded coffee shop denizens everywhere.

The author of the painstakingly compiled 1500 page report titled Poetry: Really, what is the Point? is esteemed Cambridge University professor Ronald M. Smythe, a notoriously straight-talking ex-army officer.

Announcing his findings at a press conference, Professor Smythe said: “I have reviewed literally thousands of texts from the early witterings of the Homer and Virgil to the lily-livered, needy and frankly fatalistic whining of Wilfred Owen and Seigfried Sassoon, and I have come to the conclusion that poetry is, in all its forms, a colossal waste of time.”

“The war poets were the worst. I mean, honestly, if they’d spent less time trying to find rhymes for “Armistice” and more time practising with a bayonet, then maybe they wouldn’t have ended up with faces full of shrapnel.”

Smythe says that the quality of lyrical writing has been deteriorating for years and is now at an all-time low.

“I suppose some of the old stuff was tolerable. At least those fellows wrote great swirling epics about war and death and things. A little contrived, possibly, but they are immeasurably preferable to the rambling, pompous tosh being churned out nowadays. It seems all you need is a dictionary and a grossly inflated sense of your creative abilities and, bam: you’re a poet. A monkey with a typewriter could create more coherent and enjoyable work AND he’d be less likely to bore you to death at dinner parties.”

Smythe added that he suspected most exponents of contemporary poetry were “probably on drugs”.

Much of Smythe’s criticism is levelled at the Romantic movement embraced by poets such as William Wordsworth, John Keats and Lord Byron.

“Limp-wristed drips to a man,” he asserted. “All mouth and no trousers. If you fancy a bird, what’s the point of comparing her to a summer’s day or, er…a nightingale or something? Get in there and give her one.” At this point Smythe put his hands on his hips and made several thrusting motions to emphasise his point before concluding that all those who explored their inner feelings through structured verse were “poofs without exception.”

When asked to explain Byron’s many torrid affairs with women, Smythe was bullish. “An elaborate cover-up,” he said. “Byron was the worst of the lot. He’d shack up with loads of loose birds to give the impression his was some kind of Lothario, whereas, in reality, he and Shelley were at it like rabbits. It’s a little known fact that he wrote She walks in Beauty in Shelley’s honour as a peace offering after they’d had a bitch fight over who had the prettier eyelashes.”

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