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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Sunday, March 08, 2015

So What Is NOT Funny About Humor Poetry

I have been following the guidelines for contests at http://WinningWriters.com for a long time and they have never lead me wrong.  You'll love their newsletter. You'll also love the advice they give on better ways to compete in literary contests, like this for their coming Wergle Flomp poetry Contest. Find advice on what NOT to submit to their FREE humor poetry contest below--and links to enter!  And you'll also find more information, ideas, and contests in the Writers Resources section of my Web site at  http://howtodoitfrugally.com/contests.htm.

Enter Our Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Our 14th annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest welcomes your entry through April 1.
There's no fee to enter. Jendi Reiter will judge, assisted by Lauren Singer. We'll
award $2,000 in prizes, including a top prize of $1,000. Winners are published on our website.
This contest welcomes published and unpublished work. Your poem may be of any
 length. Click to submit online.
After screening last year's 4,484 entries, Lauren has advice for this year's
Parodies based on Poe, "The Night Before Christmas", Yeats, ans Frost:  
If you are going to have a "With Apologies To..." poem, it needs to be clever enough to back up the fact that it is based on a famous original. So many of these poets jumped ship somewhere in the middle and did not utilize any clever parodying qualities, and merely wrote poems that were completely separate from the originals. Just stealing the voice of a dead poet does not a good poem make!
Poems that I found particularly arduous to read: Poems about pooping, farting, vomiting, getting fat, having saggy boobs, tricking your husband so that he would stay with you, tricking your wife so that she would leave you, wrinkles, chocolate addiction, unoriginal limericks that began "There once was a man from Nantucket" that ended with "f*** it!", poems that invented their own language without a glossary and just translated as wan gibberish.
Poems that were offensive: Ones that embraced a pro-rape culture (there were more of these than you might think, and it was quite disheartening); poems that described women as objects; poems that led the reader to believe they were about women and then turned into poems about an object (odes to a car, boat, La-Z-Boy, golf club, burger, guitar, etc.); homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, racist poems, of which there were many; poems that mock a lifestyle in attempts to undermine it (making light of stay-at-home moms/dads, that sort of thing); poems that made light of mental illness, addiction, and recovery, in an offensive way as opposed to a self-deprecatingly humorous way.
"I'm getting so old" poems: These were by far the highest number of poems submitted in 2014. These have the ability to be funny, but more often than not there is SO much overlap. "I used to be so attractive, thin, energetic. Now I'm fat, wrinkly, and don't have sex. I can't bend over anymore, I can't sit up without grunting, I can't eat fried foods, I can't enjoy life because I'm over 60." These become tiring and disheartening after a while. There were a few that embraced an original voice and those made the cut, but the vast majority of poems about aging were nearly indistinguishable from each other.
Feeling squirrelly: There were well over a hundred poems solely about squirrels. This is merely a side note, as some of them were quite funny, but out of sheer curiosity, what the hell was it about squirrels this year? What is this obsession? Why are squirrels so dang poetic? Any squirrel poems that ended in a pun about nuts generally didn't make the cut.
All the Wergle Flomp winning poems and judges' comments going back to 2002 are
 available for reading in our website archives.
Submit your 2015 entry now at


http://winningwriters.cmail1.com/t/d-fb-ykidikl-trutbad-d/ http://winningwriters.cmail1.com/t/d-tw-ykidikl-trutbad-h/

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .


  1. I've just never seen anyone "tell it like it is" quite like this. If you write poetry and have ever thought of writing humor (poetry, fiction or anything else!), this is a must read!

  2. I'd have hated to have to read those poems!

  3. Feeling squirrelly - LOL! If I tried to write humorous poetry, the only thing funny would be how bad it is.

  4. Well, THAT made me laugh, @L.Diane Wolfe! Wonder if satire about badly written poetry should be on the TO-DO humor poetry list? Or would it be funnier if the poet didn't know it was funny?


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