Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com


May 21

The Julia A. Moore Poetry Festival

"Literary is a work very difficult to do."

There are stupid people for whom one feels compassion and embarrassment and there are stupid people at whom even the most politically correct among us may guiltlessly laugh. Julia A. Moore (1847-1920), The Sweet Singer of Michigan, tops this latter list.

Saints who celebrate their feast days on May 21 include but are not limited to Godric, Theophilus of Corte, Andrew Bobola (may be May 16), Thibaut, Gisela (or Isberge), Hospitius, and Maurelius.
Fats Waller was born on this day in 1904 and Raymond Burr in 1917.

As an addiction to Harlequin romances is a step below illiteracy, producing and publishing poetry as poor as Julia A. Moore's is a step below completely lacking creative thought. (It is the publishing that makes it a sin--what you do with pen and ink behind closed doors is your own darn business.)

Anyway, for 11 years the Flint, Michigan, public library hosted a Julia A. Moore Poetry Parody Contest. Estimated annual attendance at this event, which the library called "the karaoke of poetry readings," was around 150. Sadly, the library has ended this competition.

The thing that sets Julia A. Moore apart from other turn-of-the-century expounders of inane, trite, banal drivel, is that Mrs. Moore was recognized by Mark Twain for her lack of talent. Now, that is special. Twain said of her, "The one and unfailing great quality which distinguishes her poetry from Shakespeare's and makes it precious to us is its stern and simple irrelevancy." He complimented Mrs. Moore further by modeling his Emmeline Grangerford character in Huckleberry Finn after her.

I suppose at this juncture you are all running for your poetry books to see for yourselves what all the fuss is about--but wait...you won't find her unless your book is The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse. Mrs. Moore has earned quite a bit of ink in that volume, but none in your average anthology.

Here is a little quiz. Three stanzas from different poems are presented here. Two are from actual poems by Mrs. Moore and one is from a winning entry to a previous Julia Moore Poetry Contest. Guess which were done by Mrs. Moore. I will give the answers in tomorrow's Saint Report.

The Unfortunate Quine Family

Pray, good people, hear me tell
A story which I know too well.
About a family name of Quine
Which dwelt up north in Engadine.
A Christian clan, and proud yet meek.
Their seven children died last week.

Hattie House

Those little girls will not forget
The day little Hattie died,
For she was with them when she fell in a fit,
While playing by their side.

Little Libbie

While eating dinner, this dear little child
Was choked on a piece of beef.
Doctors came, tried their skill awhile,
But none could give relief.

You get the picture. Her poetry had a childlike quality, in that children have an unhealthy appetite for tales of untimely death and natural disasters. During her lifetime, not an infant in her area could die without being immortalized in one of Mrs. Moore's odious odes; no disaster, natural or manmade, escaped unscathed. Fortunately, subject matter that in more adept hands could have caused mass suicide, in Mrs. Moore's served only to delight. She was never taken seriously except by herself.


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Marilyn Jones 2000-2008