Sunday, March 11, 2012 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Vogon Poetry

So because I'm making up blog posts today because I was a slacker before and because I'm not really held accountable for the legitimacy of any of my blog posts, I'm going to write about Vogon poetry.

Today is Douglas Adams' birthday.  If he were alive today, he would have been 60 years old.  Douglas Adams is the author of the series that starts out with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Apparently it's called a trilogy even though it has five books because Douglas Adams was a wonderfully ridiculous man.  There's also a sixth book in the series written by Eoin Colfer (author of Artemis Fowl) fairly recently.

Fun fact: Douglas Adams wrote for Doctor Who.  Thereby further legitimizing my love for the British science fiction show.  (Even though Douglas Adams didn't write any of the episodes I've ever seen...)

Douglas Adams is one of the main reasons why I believe that the things I write might actually be considered popular one day.  If he can send a Chesterfield bouncing across an open field, then why can't I do whatever I want in my own writing?  Okay, maybe not whatever I want until I'm about as famous and well-known (because those are two different things, right?) as Douglas Adams.

So Vogon poetry.  According to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the "third worst poetry in the Universe."  Listening to it read is something akin to torture.  Honestly, I think Vogon poetry is a little amusing, but it takes the form of nonsense verse.

I think there's something to be said about nonsense verse.  In some ways I feel like it can be used effectively when someone integrates nonsense with sensical things if only to give it some context.  I'm thinking of "Jabberwocky" and the idea that "the momeraths outgrabe" (I'm doing this from memory, so please don't punch me).  Also if there's a pleasing rhythm or sound to the nonsense verse, it's more likely to be appealing.  I get the distinct feeling that that's not the case with Vogon poetry, so I'm not holding my breath.

The description that the Guide gives it is (provided to me by Wikipedia):
"Vogon poetry is the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent, of his poem, Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning, four of his audience members died of internal hemorrhaging, and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council, survived by gnawing one of his own legs off... The very worst poetry in the universe died along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex... in the destruction of the planet Earth."

So Vogon poetry probably wouldn't be that bad if it had a rhyme, rhythm, or reason.  But because Vogons enjoy watching you squirm in pain and agony from hearing their verses...I find it difficult to believe that they would try to make their poetry enjoyable.

I found a couple Vogon related links that you might want to check out: (I wrote one of these, and the first adjective should not have been "cheery."  Oops!) (I'm really jealous that they have a Vogon poetry slam.  If I lived in the UK...I would be so there.)

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." 
- Douglas Adams


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