Learning Day: The Society of Classical Poets 🌭

Don’t. Nobody can publish that list without getting kicked to death. Critics ask “what gives you the right?” Grad students ask “What is a list?” Writers ask “Did I get third, first, or both?” Instapoets ask “How do I look at rain without drowning?”

No answer can save you, because it’s subjective and loaded. You’d make fewer waves writing “The Top Four Skin Tones, Ranked.” And everyone involved fights dirty. The arts don’t teach universal truth: they teach arguing until a senior citizen taps and lets you graduate.

It’s a trap for anyone. The Society of Classical Poets are just the worst people alive to try.

This went viral while I was in editorial hell:

Or rather, viral again. “10 Greatest Poems Ever Written” is the clickbait version of square borders. One half-assed afternoon guaranteed decades of war. Individually, Top X lists, incompetence, and pride are all cash crops for conflict farms. Together, they’ve paid for at least one horse.

The picture makes me feel for Evan before reading one comment. You can be a myopic fuck in math or bowtie design without trending. But calling ten sepia white people history’s best writers is a one-way trip to So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed II: Shame Harder. At best, embarrassing. At worst, a career boost:

This list would be doomed if it was good. I’m talking about it, so nope. But I recognize this seven-year-old fuckup got extra heat in today’s digital knife-fight. Though in 2016, we were also somewhat agitated. I don’t think there’s been a year friendly to The Society’s proud dumbfuckery since Iran-Contra.

Here’s where a big team helps. Many comedians blindly suspect verse poetry is for pretentious dickheads. Two degrees in, I know it. As a half-vampire, I’ve seen this nightclub.

Still, we can’t flip in and start slashing. They might drink Beyond Blood. And think you look like Wesley Snipes. And have a dad who hates daywalkers. Wild times. Anyway, this list gets a chance.

Evan’s lineup looks paler than a fair trial, but I get it. We’re not very lyrical uptown. If we were, black one-liners would dominate music and culture. Modern slang would be jokes my sisters killed ten years ago. Searching “famous black people” would bring up nine lyricists and the last president fluent in English. This list is for the masters.

Let’s meet the tenth greatest poem of all time.


Ballsy. You know you’ll piss people off, so you simply don’t try.

Somewhere, a man with gravity-warping nuts walks among us, knowing one wedgie would wipe out the city. He limps forward for our sake. Why mock this hero, when I can celebrate him?

To be clear: Frost’s great. Schools strip-mine his work for a reason. The thinking behind this list? Less so. This is diet water.

Three wars ago, my sister forgot her poetry project. I punched it out in fifteen minutes, amidst the active fistfights of a public school cafeteria. I chose “The Road Not Taken,” and the analysis sounded exactly like this.

Still, after all the propaganda and public breakdowns, it’s nice seeing someone fuck up without stakes. No one gets tortured because Evan’s trapped in high school. No viable careers depend on the Society. His arrested development is his problem.

Is the rest of the article this quarter-baked?

It just might be.

That, or Evan stole my eighth-grade homework.

Alright, I get Evan’s game now.

Evan is a bowtie.

Bowties are everywhere. Fiction bowties wax about the death of the novel, and their manuscript reviving it. Black bowties say Shakespeare stole Othello from Iceberg Slim. Sci-fi bowties cry through the Hugos every year. Poetry bowties think poetry died when people started reading it.

I suspect this entire club’s made of bowties. Writing cliques are like high school, and the Society skips parties with loud music or premarital dancing.

Let’s hear their pitch.

There’s one real problem here.

Every journal overwrites “we make words good.” That’s a freebie. They can even call themselves “the Society” and keep half their dignity. The fuckup’s promising to “reestablish poetry.”

We’re not talking about polar bears or watchable news. Poetry’s everywhere. Visionaries and frauds bore audiences worldwide. It’s the only branch of literature or humanity to benefit from Instagram.

I’m curious about Evan’s work. Let’s see what else he gets up to.


In a mood, I’d say Trump was just in court for tiger-like attacks. But we’re being reasonable today. I’m reasonable. Evan can turn this around.

Fucking why? I try empathy for the first time in my life, and you dick me over like this? I wanted to sit at the nice kids’ table, and now I’m back to googling synonyms for “backwards dickheads.” Thanks, reactionary dipshits.

Evan judged the greatest poets of all time, and then wrote this. He might not make the cut. Maybe tenth, if Robert Frost killed your father and you think enjambment describes bad sex. But it’s really continuing an idea across two lines. For example:

Fuck it, Evan’s just one writer. He doesn’t represent the group.

I’m sure his other work’s saner.

Every day is the weirdest day of my life.

This is fine. Evan’s divinely inspired: he steals directly from Chick tracts. More power to him, if he can edit work that isn’t in tongues. Journals generally settle into a nice rhythm of “me and my three friends” anyway.

Are his friends like this?

All of them?

I see. I’m the new Midas: everything I touch turns into screaming lunatics. That’s fine. I’ll just recharge with a little nostalgia, and read some Dilbert. I loved that strip in middle school. A few sharp digs at office culture should help me reset.

Something’s gone wrong.

We can still be fair today. I’m fair. I’m a balanced, insightful soul. It’s an entire society. There has to be something of value.

We’re not doing this. Try again.

Darkling, are you serious?

Sure, writing like Matt Walsh’s dungeon master is cool. I’m nice today. I shat on hostile interviews less than a month ago. I can’t go Crazy 88 on poetry nerds until August.

To the pain.

Migrants should run this journal. Their poems wouldn’t look like NewsMax wordclouds. You can’t strangle a language you don’t know. Russel knows and loves English, just like God knew and loved Job. Most languages are killed by someone in their household.

Topical fanfiction is a Society feature, the way that napalm is an American export. Not my thing, but I respect it, and never lie. Any idea can be a poem if you hate words. And better ideas would be a waste: if you write “most wondering” in 2023, your ceiling is iambic bomb threats.

Russel indulges often. For example:

Maybe I fell down a well and hallucinated two decades. We’re actually on season 15 of The Boondocks, Dick Cheney’s on vacation in the Hague, and Target’s only on blast for child labor. While Russel writes beloved advocacy and self-help for the micropenis community. His memoir Be More With Less helps thousands of “MicroStrivers” abandon hate.

If you curate and publish this, you’re unqualified to pick the best glue you ate today. You burn crosses with childproof matches. Everyone laughs when you leave the rally. You’re a level of stupid prose can barely contain, let alone describe. I’ll try free verse:

Alright, it’s out of my system. What else does Russel have?

Better! Saying less than nothing takes work. When I expect madness, an information hole’s a perfect twist. This is a void in the world. Bipartisan emptiness. When I stare into this poem, it stares back.

The Society’s above modern mud-slinging, so I’ll put this in their language: Society no write good. Poems suck big failure. Glue not food! Glue for paper. Eat cookie instead, feel sparkle. Delete website, many sparkle! Yippee!

Could someone break this failure killstreak? Or suck another way? Fuck it, give me a leftist dumbass. Tell me snoring while white is fascism. Tell me Will Smith preserves Source Awards culture. Tell me Stalin fought Ukrainian obesity. I’ve run workshops, I know your slush pile gets worse. Medieval Tom MacDonald is just one flavor in a failure spectrum.

I’m praying to an empty heaven.

Norma’s English, in case you think lead poisoning is U.S.-exclusive. The name’s her best feature. Norma Pain could be a killer pro-wrestler, The Black Dahlia Murder’s opening band, or even a competent poet. Instead, we’ve got this.

But she has a point. If you question the vaccine, your work’s “cliched.” If you don’t buy gender ideology, it’s “pretentious thesaurus vomit.” And if you even mention faith, it’s “6 AM on the fucking subway.” Diversity of thought matters.

Again, I can relate. Before the thought police took over, I could’ve questioned Norma’s chromosome count and punched out. Now I’m stuck engaging her work, whose title drop sparked my first migraine in ten years. You can’t say anything anymore.

Maybe I’m fixing the game. I should go on the Society’s website, click “Poetry,” and enjoy the first poem I see. Their newest, front-page work, as I’m writing.

I miss Saina.

If Jeffrey worried about offending God, he wouldn’t rhyme might and right in public. Or private. He’d whip himself until Easter for thinking of it. In the Old Testament, his keyboard would turn into bees. In the New Testament, his keyboard would turn into redeeming bees.

But it’s fine, since no one’s watching. I mean readers, not the demiurge. Jeffrey’s the piss break on Aryan poetry night. Somehow, someway, he makes Evan and Russel look better. He’s Luigi’s Luigi, if Mario were a Vogon.

The twist? This Westboro Baptist freestyle loses focus. The drift from “fuck deviants” to “recycling is hard” makes this the first hate speech about composting. If you mailed this to GLAAD, they’d send back Adderall. And ask why you swiped Dane Cook’s most famous joke.

Sorry, let me translate that into zero pussy:

What kind of postmoron writes like this? Did Galactus grant you cosmic stupidity? Did you frustrate Reed Richards to death? Do you herald a new, brainless age? Because you’ve fried mine.

Since God’s sleeping in: Satan, can you send writing that isn’t cribbed from Goebbels or Gallagher?

Thank you, master below.

Yes. More. This cornball intro has an idea and creates context, without one wink at genocide. Mark’s rocketing upwards.

I love it! It’s not good, but it’s today’s best. If this journal was just puns by PhD zoophiles, they’d be better off. Mark is, in his style, a big dog on a pile of toxic garbage. Or small porch, whatever.

This trendy pet glurge works. So maybe, just maybe, fixating on the past holds the others back? The Society isn’t anyone’s ceiling. Norma’s one slur away from Texas A&M tenure. Evan could sneak into a Wall Street Journal desk without anyone noticing. And our next poet was born to write Gutfeld!, God’s cruelest joke.

Hint: if your alt-text is embarrassing, start over.

Now that breeding’s mandatory south of Canada, new mothers should know we hate them. Break eye contact with Junior, and the Society will rhyme sad, mad, bad, and whore. Next time, think twice before existing.

But why mention controllers? They’re redundant reminders of time leaving Joshua behind. Why not highlight another aspect of decay? Like impotence, or brain fog, or impotence?

Three more Luddite jams follow, which is brave in a web journal. Read digitally. On screens. The comments are full of iPhone 2 typos. Some writers snub art for their brain, but Joshua tossed his into the sea.

Let’s go back to patient zero. I’ll give the president one more shot: if Evan can write one sane update, I’ll join the Society.


Make that two shots. If Evan can write one sane poem, I’ll join the Society.

Dance! Yes! I love dance. Poetry’s grace, without dog puns or murderous hate. Let’s dance. I’m surprised Evan’s on this side of Footloose.


Ah. I’ve lost my mind.

Fun fact about Shen Yun: they’re a cult with side flips. I’d still dig them, save their push for a hot war with China. That’s insane, apocalyptic, and impatient. Foreplay’s the best part of extinction. Even if you love Fallout, Falun Dafa has angles on interracial marriage that most faiths save for subtext.

Anyway, Evan’s all in:

Read closely. You might see Evan triple-wielding caricatures of white vacuity, black poverty, and mystical asians to piss off almost everyone alive. Or his fifth review of Cirque du Zion Ranch since 2012. I see my defeat. This is a fine ad for Chinese Scientology.

Evan wins. I’ve joined the Society of Classical Poets.

Specifically, “Amadeus Vult” and “Laura Kelly” have joined. A duo proudly producing patriotic poems since this morning. I have a two hour commute.

I hear you, strawman. “Dennard. You smashed Laura Ingraham and Megyn Kelly’s names together like a McMahon. Was ‘Coulter Braun’ taken? And ‘Amadeus Vult’ isn’t so much a pun as a swastika in Webdings. Any editor, most people, and some chimps would see through that.”

“Alright, you’ve broken the Prime Directive. But as your strawman, I refuse to believe there’s an actual poem. Please, father, set me free.”

“Cool. Father, what the fuck is wrong with you?”

“How is this possible? Why was I born to suffer?”

“The Code of Straw is clear. I’m shocked the Society added photos of a rap hooligan and Good NegroTM. Shocked. Set me free, father. Let my soul fly.”

“This seems to be a tribute to ‘Uncle Ruckus’ from The Boondocks. Surely this time you’ve overplayed your hand. I must pretend not to know this worked. I hate you, father.”

“They love your fake poet. How unlikely! May I die now? I’m ready for God’s punchline.”

In fairness: Evan changed the title from Making a Ruckus. I hope he sniffed a joke, but he publishes Russel. Only God knows. A.k.a. Li Hongzhi, enemy of the CCP and miscegenation.

Either way, writing classical poetry’s fun. Without new ideas or unpaid sex as distractions, I could focus on richly stilted language. I’m a convert. I’ll submit 10-syllable beauty under false names for years to come, just to keep the craft alive.

As for the list: every community argues over authority. So what makes you credible? Skill? Experience? Hatred? Eight dollars? Hiding your mediocrity behind Marlowe’s corpse?

Fuck if I know. I teach word-karate and don’t remember what a sestina is. I almost failed a student for asking if I can hardflip. When questions like this come up, I tent my fingers and say “interesting.”

But joining the Society for Classical Poetry doesn’t give you authority. It doesn’t even get you a CPAC ticket. You’re just dry-humping the graves of people that would have fucking hated you.

This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Jeff Orasky, whose slam poetry makes Percy Shelly look like a little Bysshe.

18 replies on “Learning Day: The Society of Classical Poets 🌭”

This is Neither Irony or Coincidence

Of the ten dead august poets
Curated by these males
There is not a single member
Who did not shit in a pail.

Yet in the proud group that listed
All of those famous pips
It would be a shocking taboo
For poop to evade their lips.

Zzzzz Dennard’s poetry is zzzzzzzo good that we all laughed throughout article, but the poetry he zzzzzzzzzzzzz submitted to the poet society was too funny. 8 of our numbers died of laughing and we demand recompense

A bit surprised there isn’t more explicit *Christo*-fascism. I was really hoping for something that Gregorian monks might’ve once composed plainchant for, after the ink dried on Dies Irae.

He didn’t cover it, but there at least used to be a bunch of Trad cath religious poetry there.

One of the best articles. Never have I laughed as hard at a line as I did at
Arise Dame Rosanne
From the inquisitor’s stake
Comedy’s Phoenix

You’ve put on a gigantic t-shirt with the words “I like Trump, for realsies you guys.” and they somehow welcomed you into the flock.

Excellent article!

I am proud to say that I have more writing accolades than the “Society”, having once received bonus points at bar trivia for a limerick written on the spot.

I know it’s a dubious distinction to be the only author on the website that requires me to critically read to catch every single joke, but that’s why I adore your articles so damn much.

So they require every other line to rhyme, but they’ve somehow never heard of poetic meter?

Genuinely, this article made me realize I should have more confidence in my poetry. Thank you for another article that does word pirouettes off a high dive, a phrase I now feel free to use in a poem. If these bowties can sling dry oatmeal like this I’m golden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *