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The Psychological Benefits of Bad Poetry

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Speaking of toilets and the thought processes of a grade school kid, I have wondered whether T. S. Eliot was aware that the letters of his name could spell toilets. However, as he was a good poet, it is unlikely that the word was in his working vocabulary.

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Correspondence to Donald Capps.

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Capps, D. The Psychological Benefits of Bad Poetry. J Relig Health 49, 620–631 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-010-9364-5

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Keywords

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