Tag Archives: Bad Poets

The worst poets in print


Jot 101 dentologia

No doubt most Jottists will have their own candidates, some of whom might be a few contemporary ‘poets ‘who have paid to have their own work  published by ‘ vanity presses ‘.However, here are some of the lesser known versifiers out of the ten  chosen by publisher Nicholas Parsons in his Book of Literary Lists. The divine Amanda McKittrick Ros, arguably the worst poet of all, has been dealt with in an earlier Jot, as has Patience Strong.


Julia A. Moore (1847 – 1920).


Not the best-known of bad poets, but a sure candidate nonetheless. Moore was, according to Parsons, ‘ by general consent the worst American poetess and perhaps the worst in English.’ Mark Twain satirised her in Huckleberry Finn as ‘ Emmeline Grangerford. Twain declared that her debut volume , The Sweet Singer of Michigan Salutes the Public  gave him joy for twenty years. One of these little gems was entitled ‘ Byron: A Critical Survey’.


‘Lord Byron;’ was an Englishman

A poet I believe

His first works in old England

Was poorly received.

Perhaps it was ‘Lord Byron’s ‘fault

And perhaps it was not.


Moore seemed to specialise in gruesome deaths. Referring to her debut, one critic, Bill Nye, ‘counted twenty-one killed and nine wounded in the small volume she has given to the public’.

Here is one of them:


While eating dinner this dear little child

Was choked on a piece of beef

Doctors came, tried their skill awhile

But none could give relief…

Her friends and schoolmates will not forget

Little Libbie that is no more;

She is waiting on the shining step

To welcome home friends once more. Continue reading