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B Is for Bad Poetry Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Pamela August Russell started off her writing career in third grade when she won a statewide short-story contest. Sometime later, she moved west to San Francisco where she created the Better Off Dead Poets Society with her partner Alison Gallant. Together, they made their way through the spoken word circuit and garnered a cult-like following. Russell was also a regular reader and host at the infamous Sister Spit in San Francisco. She has published short stories and poetry in several anthologies, including Virgin Territory and Nothing Moments. This is her first book of poetry.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; First Ed 1st Printing edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402767870
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402767876
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

B is for Bad Poetry
By Pamela August Russell

B IS FOR BAD POETRY ($9.95 / 9781402767876 Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.)is a collection of Pamela August Russell's unexalted (but thoroughly hysterical)
poems that mock, accuse, defy, undermine, and point and laugh at the world around us--and at anything that takes itself too seriously. Her non-canonical oeuvre includes: "Tea For Two (A Tragedy"; "Inappropriately Touched By An Angel"; "Love Is Like A Toilet Bowl" and many more. But don't be fooled, these are well-crafted and intelligent poems. Miss Russell breathes new life into the genre by making it genuinely accessible without dumbing it down.

When the nightly news has you hiding under the covers, Pamela August Russell's wry, sardonic wit is here to help navigate the delicate world around us. Miss Russell writes bittersweet, mercurial and very funny poems about the hazards of love and the economy: "Capitalism Can Fall Not Like I Fell for You"; love and commercialism: "But L'OREAL Said I Was Worth It."; or love and failure: "A Beginners Guide To Mediocrity." B IS FOR BAD POETRY is a collection of poems from a new voice that is supremely witty and delightfully engaging. Who knew bad poetry could be this good?

So forget Shakespeare. Don't count on Donne. Shelley and Keats: banished! There's absolutely no poet laureate from the golden or any other age. Fawning PhDs in love with little-understood verses by long-dead writers should go elsewhere, this is poetry for the rest of us. Look out Dorothy Parker, there's a new girl on the chopping block!

Pamela August Russell has published short stories and poetry in several anthologies including Virgin Territory and most recently Nothing Moments. She co-founded The Better Off Dead Poets Society in San Francisco. This is her first book of bad poetry. She lives in Los Angeles near the freeway.

What the hell they're saying about B IS FOR BAD POETRY!

"Nothing lasts forever--except a poetry reading." -Anonymous

When Poetry Goes Bad On Purpose -LA TIMES

"There is a certain anxiety around high art. What are those opera singers
saying? Is that Giacometti sculpture a little unsettlingly skinny? Is
Stockhausen supposed to sound this way? And if I don't like something,
does that mean I don't get it? Poetry too. Maybe especially poetry. But with
"B is for Bad Poetry," Pamela August Russell does away with those fears. It's
all bad. With titles like "Despair, Party of One," "Popeye, Hamlet & Sartre
(A Rendering)" and "Donner Party Review," it couldn't possibly be good --
could it? The poems are so deliciously bad they're fun.

And I recognized a few genuine poetry referents -- e.e. cummings here,
Rainer Maria Rilke there -- it might just be that there's a little bit of serious
poetry play giggling behind the scenes.
The giggler is Pamela August Russell, a writer who, her bio says, "lives in
Los Angeles by the freeway." That's where all of us writers go when we're
not visiting museums, attending concerts or trying to read the subtitles at
the opera. " -Carolyn Kellogg


Pamela August Russell takes the poetry establishment head-on in
her new book of deliberately "bad" verse. In truth, only a gifted
and widely-read poet could manage so thorough a
deconstruction of the defensive elitism and deliberately abstruse
poetic canon. But don't worry about that now, just grab some of
your own criminally cringe-worthy couplets and join the author at
tonight's open mic celebration of all things simplistic, low-brow,
and sketchily rhymed.- Shana Nys Dambrot

SKYLIGHT BOOKS -Silverlake Staff Pick -January 2010

"Fantastic! Please, do not be fooled by the title. This is
some of the best poetry I've read in a long time. It feels like
it was written by the bastard child of Richard Brautigan
and Dorothy Parker. It's razor sharp one minute, low-brow
the next, and passionately sorrowful in the minute that
follows, but by the end you will be vomiting in hysterics. A
great read and a great gift for anyone that can read." -Jade

"What a novel idea."
Daily Candy pick of the week!


"In B Is for Bad Poetry, Pamela August Russell takes aim at not
only the vicissitudes of love and life but the highfalutin tone and
form of classical verse itself. Her sardonic poetry jam--more deft
than def--includes such gems as "Schadenfreude Encore," "Sandy
Dennis Briefly" and "But L'Oréal Said I Was Worth It." Her bio
informs us this is her first book of bad poetry and that she currently
lives in Los Angeles..."near the freeway." -Mayer Rus
"Great poetry is transcendent, but Pamela August
Russell proves the other side of the coin also has its
charms in reading from her new collection, "B Is for
Bad Poetry," a bent look at modern life featuring
original works with such titles as "Nietzsche and the
Ice-Cream Truck" and "A Beginner's Guide to
Mediocrity." It may not be Whitman, but Russell's
verses are often a whole lot funnier." January 7, 2010

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Finally! A title that exactly fits a book. No, no...I'm not being mean. With every turn of every page I was met with sarcasm, cynicism -even enthusiasm - any "ism" you can think of, really. In fact, when you read closely, you can see each aspect of your own life spread out on its pages - the dark and funny side that always hits us right between the eyes - whether we're paying attention or not.

Let me explain. (I promise not to uncover all the poetic gems). On page five, I was treated to "A Beginner's Guide to Mediocrity" (one of the things I am completely scared of becoming). The last stanza was "Don't bother getting out of bed...The world is crowded enough...without you and your big ideas." I ask you, how frightening is that? For someone with very large ideas, like myself, I shook from that paragraph as much as when Norman Bates was playing dress-up in his mother's clothes.

I went further and opened another door to a poem titled, "Motto". Short, sweet, and to the point. This poem really fits the moments in life when you try with all your might to tell your boss you need a raise. He nods his head in understanding. His paycheck has gotten smaller btoo ecause there's just not enough in the company's coffers right now. He continues by saying that he'd like to discuss this more indepth with you, but he has to get up to his summer house to make sure the new builders have installed the hot tub properly.

You can even go back to your happy, jolly school days with a poem in this book titled, "College Notebook." As my senior daughter is graduating next May, I thought long and hard on this one.
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This is my new bathroom book. You know the one you leave in the bathroom that guests pick up and maybe look at briefly and wonder why you have relegated this book to a life spent around fecal mist and toothpaste stains. Imagine your guest on the bowl, start howling with laughter for apparently no reason. When they come out, they all exclaim, what the hell is this all about? Who writes bad poetry? Well let me tell you, it takes a genius to create a book of bad poetry that actually is quite brilliant. Pick this up for your wittiest friend to prove to them that yes, "you get it", or for that someone we all know who takes everything a bit too seriously. This is the most refreshing little book I have read in a long time. Does Ms. Russell do parties?
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Format: Hardcover
Having always preferred prose to poetry, I was hoping that Pamela August Russell would finally make it worth my while to invest in a book of poetry, and she certainly did. "B Is For Bad Poetry" is a book of poetic works that finally touched my non-fiction-reading heart. She is expressive and artistic; alliterative and iambic; hilarious and maudlin, all in one slim volume.

Russell's approach to poetry mirrors my own. I once wrote a poem about lemurs after being specifically requested to do so, though my effort pales next to the grace, dignity, and poise present in all of Russell's works. I have several favorites in this collection, notably "How to Save a Tangerine From Suffering", "The Trouble With Starfish", and "Plate Tectonics and Us". But perhaps her most sublime wisdom can be found in the masterwork "Letters to a Young Poet", which reads "I would stick with R and M / and your choice of a decent vowel / preferably A." What else is there to say? Pamela, you give me chills.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, I don't feel clever enough to review a book as witty and fun as Pamela Russell's BAD POETRY!
So all I can say is that I love this book! I have bought it for several of my friends and they all love it.
We even sat around at a dinner party reading our favorite poems to each other.
The book brings irony to a new height - about 5 feet!
This book is the perfect stocking stuffer!!
Pamela Russell is a genius!
I want to hang out with her!!
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Okay, so I bought this book as an impulse buy, while going through a poetry binge, I bought three other books with this one, one of which I had been dying to read. However, Bad Poetry has been the book I've gone ahead and read over again; The book I recommend to others. I think what made it great as that it was at once serious, and funny. It had lighthearted poems, but every now and again you'd get a line, a stanza that would leave you thinking, "WHOA" whereas, some of the other books i bought were heavy and unrelentingly serious. It should be noted that I have nothing against serious subject matter, but after going through three books like that, this was a welcome reprieve.
"Poetic Injustice" was funny, a bit cynical, but I guess that comes with being in the business.
"Urbane Decay" was sad and beautifully written
"Inappropriately Touched By an Angel" is all kinds of highlighted in my copy, lines like the following deserve to be colored in pink highlighter:

Years later, while clipping my toenails,
I discovered I was the mirror of the universe.
"Finally!" she screamed. "You should get out
and create a few scars, kiss a few lips,
you know, go on living. An never count a woman out
until she swallows huge amounts of aspirin.
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