I get writing ideas nearly everyday — the joke often is this: I’ll wake up in the middle of the night saying to myself, “HOLY SHIT, there needs to an anthology of limericks about invading martian cows that want to impose their bovine ways!”  And then, I’ll make my way to the nearest computer, and I’ll furiously pound out an email to Scott Colbert, who usually — I’m visualizing now — scratches his head and goes, “Um, really?  Limericks?  About Cows?  From Mars?”  I once made this joke on a messageboard, but it’s largely true.  I get way too many ideas, and the law of averages — especially Sturgeon’s Law, if you apply it to poetry — is that most of my ground breaking ideas are, indeed, crap of the crappiest order.  And, sometimes, what I may think is a good idea is actually already done, and done to death.

Back in 2005/2006 I had a rather silly little blog going (of many silly little blogs).  I sought to write a dictionary/encylopedia of American poets, in limerick form.  (And yes, I’ll fess to trying to rhyme Hongo with “bongo!”)  I got the idea from the Oxford English Dictionary in Limerick Form.  It’s probably for the best that I long, long since have nuked that blog.  Normally, I’d let that terrible idea rest in the murky grave where bad poetry ideas go to die, but I just happened upon something that made me smile.  Apparently, Lewis Turco has had the same idea.  (PLUG: his “The Book of Forms” is a must have reference/feild guide to fixed poetic forms, from everything from sonnets to sestinas and even obscure Vietnamese poetic types … my favorite in the book is the terza rima villanelle variation , the Terzanelle).

So, Lewis Turco’s typepad blog is filled with light verse epitaphs of poets living and dead.  It’s a who’s who, to from Weldon Kees, Howard Nemerov, Robert Lowell,  to even long dead white male poets I’ve never heard of, like John Suckling (there’s a name!)  Just to give an inkling of what Turco’s up to, here’s an entry on W.H. Auden:


February 18, 1907 – September 29, 1973

When Hitler started raising hell

In Europe, Auden had a smile

For England, said, “A fond farewell —

This British thing is not my style.”

I’m not going to venture an opinion either way.  I am still glad, however, that I gave up on the idea.  To that end, Turco’s knowledge of poetry smashes  mine to itty bits.  So, his “epitaphs” are bound to be far more pithy or interesting than the crap I tried to muster back in 2005.