Often written in anticipation of coitus, terminally associated with teenage angst, these poems usually make their writers cringe in later life. Look for repeated use of the word I, and variations on the "nobody understands me", "we're all going to die" themes, in these universal masterpieces.
aka: can't get a shag poems.

Here are two classic examples of bad teenage poetry. I wrote these when I was twelve. Of course, I'm still a teenager, so I don't know if I can speak for what's classified as "bad", but I do know that these two are not worthy of being published.

Sea of Suicide

Looking down at the sea so deep
A fatal possession I want to keep
sigh within, looking back
I'll remember always all I left
Fall straight in
emotions clinging to my skin
no one cares, never will
I'm slowly dying, no looking back
no one's there to help me out
I won't struggle to pull
I know I'm dead
I know my life was always dull
I turn pale blue
the color's there no matter what I do
it's too late now
I suppose this was my fate
my last word to you is goodbye


this weakened angst
the feelings now
you've got me down
I don't know how

no open arms
shown from your way
no warmth of you
nothing to say

can you feel the pain?
can you see it drawn your way?
does it make you low?
or can you brush it away?

I won't deny a broken heart
to get you to doubt me
because anything you say to me
I know I have to believe you

this feeling in my knees
it's anything but love
it's the feeling of your hatred
put in me from you

your soul can not be saved
it will be burn in hell
you know it will be slaved
and now you have nothing to sell

Ironically, while these poems are not very well-written, it still doesn't shame me to add my name as the author.

Update (4 years later): Yes it does.

There is somthing to be said about externalizing one's passion in an artifact that makes, at least, pretensions, towards artistry.

Besides therapeutic value, for the individual, is there not some therapeutic value for society as a whole? We accept the ineptitude of little league sports, so why not poetry?

We do now, more so than when I was doing this evil stuff. I vote for over-wrought angst, and not cowboy poetry, say, or poetry slam poetry.

I, for one, always envied the position of poetry behind the former Iron Curtain: A thing of value, and danger, because it exposed thoughts, and passions that made the regimes uneasy--or worse.

Poetry written by teenagers here is not the threat that such stuff behind the Iron Curtain was. The thought police of the media is usually too effective in dismissing it.

But I am always hopeful...I am always waiting for the sledgehammer from an unknown direction...maybe...shattering the temple....

At the high school my classmate found out that by copying sugary lines from teens' magazines (Readers' Letters section) he could avoid writing compositions and actually get very high marks. And yet more to come, he was admired by most girls of our class as a sensitive young poet!

However, eventually his method did not pay back because he knew he wasn't able to write similar bullshit in the higher school examination (A-levels) and lack of practice in compositions took a revenge.
Oh dear, but we were having fun..

I never wrote bad teenage poetry, mainly because as a teenager I always despised those who did (I was a horrible little piece of work, and it's just a good job I wasn't exposed to Ayn Rand when it could have done some serious damage)...

But in the 6th Form (note for Americans - High School) I decided, along with the Maths, Further Maths, Physics (I had a wide, broad and healthy range of interests, as you can see) and General Studies A-Levels I was taking, to do English Literature.

I was the only science type on the course and was thus universally despised for daring to bring logic and evidence to bear on subjects that were supposed to be just 'felt' (or it may have been because of my horrible brattiness...). I was also one of only three males out of 20 people doing the course. And pretty much every one of the girls doing the course considered themselves 'great poets' - they'd all been 'published' (in some photocopied thing read by three people) and were therefore 'artists'.

One of the authors we were studying was the poet U A Fanthorpe, who was later shortlisted for the job of Poet Laureate. As an assignment over the Easter holidays, our teacher told us to write a poem in her style on the subject of Tantalus.

Now Fanthorpe has one stylistic tic that she uses over and over and that is that if something is 'high culture' and 'ancient' she refers to it in modern, slangy terms, while if something is 'low culture' and 'modern' she refers to it in overcomplicated classical metaphor. Thus onions become 'Persephone's globes' while Greek gods will talk about digital watches.

Knowing this it was then ridiculously easy to turn out a pastiche of her style. I went away and in the break between lessons wrote the first poem I'd written since the age of 11. I can't remember it word for word, but it was something like:

I am the environmental secretary of Hades

Since I have been put in charge
Tree growth has increased 25%
And fluid absorption rates have trebled.

I am the environment secretary of the underworld
Pluto's third and rising
Condemned to middle management

(See the node on Tantalus, assuming one exists, for the subject matter).

Now, this poem is quite clearly dreadful - absolutely dire - but it's dire in the same way as some of Fanthorpe's less-good poetry, so when I handed it to the teacher ten minutes after the assignment was given to the class he was amazed, and decided to send a copy to Fanthorpe herself for her opinion. Then after he'd done that he rushed to talk to me worried out of his mind that it was actually an actual Fanthorpe poem he hadn't heard of before that I'd dug up.

Three weeks later when class started again, half the 'published poets' and 'great artists' hadn't been able to complete the assignment - they 'hadn't been inspired' or they just found it too hard even to write any poem on the subject, let alone one in someone else's style. Then they found out that the college had received a letter from Fanthorpe praising the poetry of the unartistic science kid as some of the best poetry by a young writer she'd seen in all the years she'd been writing, and how much promise I showed.

Of course I found that out from someone else as by that point I'd given up turning up to the class, deciding it was a waste of time, and I never bothered to write another poem again.

Note - this isn't meant to be self-aggrandising, the poem in question is obviously dreadful. It's just shines an interesting light on teenage 'poets', I think...

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