Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Vogon Poetry Contest: Rules

As fans of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy well know, the Vogons are an evil alien race who use their hideous poetry to torture prisoners. But you needn't torture people with bad poetry only in your imagination! You can have a Vogon Poetry Contest here in real life.

It absolutely crucial that this contest be live. Bad poetry skimmed over in print is a mere annoyance. True poetic agony requires more -- requires that the bad poetry be declaimed passionately at a live reading, each word milked with slow lingering passion.

Rules of the Game:
* One host, approximately 12 competitors.
* Each competitor receives a pen and a smallish slip of paper.
* Each competitor writes the title of a bad poem at the top of the paper.
* The host collects the papers and redistributes them so that each competitor has a paper with someone else's title.
* At the signal, each competitor has ten minutes to complete a poem. The time limit is strict, and the host may grab the paper from a competitor mid-sentence if necessary to enforce the time limit.
* The content of the poem need not relate to the title.
* The poem must fit on one side of that slip of paper.
* At the end of the ten minutes, the host gathers the papers and shuffles them randomly.
* The host then reads each poem in self-important, dramatic open-mic fashion. (Imitations of William Shatner are welcome.)
* Anything illegible will be read as nonsense.
* Any stage directions to the host (e.g., "pause here") will be read aloud.
* For each poem, the host will note the volume and the sincerity of the groans of agony, both during the reading of the lines and after the completion of each poem.
* The poem that rates highest on the "groanmeter", in the judgment of the host, wins.
* If necessary, the worst poems will be read a second time in a runoff.

Saturday, I hosted the Third Annual Vogon Poetry Contest at my parents' house in Thousand Oaks. My son, defending champion from the previous year, was the repeat winner, I'm proud to say!

I would share his poem if I thought the goons from the American Poetry Association wouldn't break my legs for the harm done to their favorite art form.


Cati Porter said...

I think we need an mp3 of the poem being read aloud! Then we can get the full effect. However, I can't guarantee that no one will break your legs.

clasqm said...

Disclaimer and Release form:

I ......... participate in the Vogon poetry competition out of my own free will and/or as my preordained destiny and agree not to hold the host or any of the other participants responsible for any suicide attempts emanating from the competition.

Signed at ....... on ........

(Make an X above this line.)