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Review: Modern Humorist’s Anagram Poetry

August 22, 2011 - by Adam Vatterott

I was browsing the Internet today, and I ran across this really hilarious site, called AsininePoetry.com! Oh, you’ve heard about that one already . . .

Oh! But then, I started digging into AP’s affiliates (listed over to your right — my left), and struck gold at The Modern Humorist’s anagram poetry page.

I’ll make this brief because I’m just linking you to 12 greatly funny poems written by Francis Heaney, and it won’t take you long to just read them, so go already!

Still skeptical (or afraid of getting a virus, Dad)? The so-called “anagram poems” are called so because they are written with this rule: The title of the poem must be an anagram of a famous poet’s name. This results in the unfortunate “Toilets,” from T. S. Eliot, or the funny-when-you-imagine-it “Yoga Alumnae,” said to be by Maya Angelou.

Even if you aren’t a poetry buff, even if you didn’t finish high school, you might encounter something familiar. Each poem is formatted in parody of a famous work by that poet. See “nice smug me” written by a pretentious e.e. cummings persona, which takes after “Buffalo Bill.”

this here verse’s
i used to
stick to regular metered
now i write onetwothreefourfive poemsjustlikethat

but this is simple work
and what i want to know is
how much am i going to get paid for this
mister editor

Then, of course, you have to read “I Will Alarm Islamic Owls.” (Hey, kids! Get a free decoder when you unscramble the title. Surprise! You are the decoder!)

I will be alarming
the Islamic owls
that are in
the barn

and which
you warned me
are very jittery
and susceptible to loud noises

Forgive me
they see so well in the dark
so feathery
and so dedicated to Allah

The poems are posted in four volumes, the links to which are found toward the bottom. The now-defunct Modern Humorist is an archive teeming with nonsense and boasts that its old contributors are now writing for TV shows and driving funny cars and starting their own countries and giving them funny names, or whatever successful comedy writers do.


  1. F.J. Bergmann — August 22, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    The poems mentioned above are all the work of Francis Heaney, who certainly deserves authorship credit and a more complete citation; his complete Holy Tango of Literature can be read (and ordered as a published book) at http://www.yarnivore.com/francis/Holy_Tango.htm.

  2. Catty Marlboro — August 24, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    Thanks for the heads up, FJ. Now how do we get him to write for us?

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