Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 620–631 | Cite as

The Psychological Benefits of Bad Poetry

  • Donald CappsEmail author
Original Paper


The author was the founder and secretary pro-tem of the Bad Poets Society at Princeton Theological Seminary. This distinction does not appear on his official resume. The Society did not have meetings but it had a newsletter that came out several times a year comprised of bad poetry written by members of the faculty and staff. These poetic works included reflections on institutional matters. This article contains bad poetry by the author relating to such matters. This poetry illustrates Sigmund Freud’s (Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. Norton, New York, 1960) view of humor as saving in the expenditure of painful emotions, costly inhibitions, and difficult thinking. The parasitical nature of bad poetry is also noted and illustrated with the author’s own poems.


Sigmund Freud Bad poetry Humor Painful emotions Costly inhibitions Difficult thinking Institutional matters The parasitical nature of bad poetry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Princeton Theological SeminaryPrincetonUSA

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