‘Vagikus takes first at Bad Feminist Poetry Contest

On April 15, poetry flowed from the Greenleaf that would make any feminist glow with pride.or blush. Outrageous though it may be, the Bad Feminist Poetry Contest gets the point across. “The idea is to celebrate feminism in learning boundaries and learning about the possibility of light-hearted spaces by laughing as a group at stereotypes of feminism, and … well … and at the joys of really lousy poetry,” said Eric Mortensen, assistant professor of religious studies.

Each year there are three judges, including a student, a professor, and a staff member. This year judges were senior Alison Tynes, Heather Hayton, assistant professor of English, and Janet Wright, faculty secretary and ombudsperson.

The contest is a free creative atmosphere, where pretty much anything goes. Poems about the “majestic vagina” and “demon phallus” obliterated the line dividing social faux pas from fair game.

Third place went to a group composition by sophomore Sarah Thabault, juniors Emma Handler and Nancy Klosteridis, and seniors Colleen McGlory and Jocelyn Bossie. Their untitled poem was read by Marcus Daughtry-Edghill and begins, “If my vagina were a tree/ It would be a weeping willow/ With rivers of menstruation from this phallo-centric prison.”

Second place was awarded to first-year Danny Criscenzo for “I Bequeef You,” a poem on the importance of embracing female flatulence. “Women, learn to love your queef!” Danny read enthusiastically to an incredulous audience.

First place went to junior Jamie Metrick. Inspired after watching Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” Metrick wanted to write her own monologue. However, as a student with limited time, she settled for writing a series of haikus about vaginas. She coined the word “vagiku.”

“My lover is smooth/Dependable, attentive/And takes double-A’s,” she read.

First-years Meredith Luby and Lani Cromwell, two aspiring bad feminist poets, were so inspired they immediately began planning for next year’s competition.

“We feel empowered to start our own vagikus!” Luby and Cromwell said.

Judges scored poems in Olympic style with cards from one to ten. Good poems got low scores, bad poems got high scores. High scores won.

“There are several levels in which a poem could be a winner; one: it’s a bad poem, two: it’s a bad feminist; but the winner of all winners is, three: it’s both,” Wright said.

Some of the poems were just too good to be bad.

“The problem, of course, is that to be really ‘bad’ it also has to be really good! Satire, irony, and parody are quite difficult and require much talent,” Hayton said.

Mortensen started the contest three years ago and has been celebrated ever since.

“The first time we did it, three years ago, I was worried how it might turn out,” Mortensen said. “I was not sure if folks would understand that it was at heart a feminist event. My fears proved unfounded, though, as each year students, staff, and faculty participants almost all seemed to ‘get it,’ and the event has always been hilariously fun and healthy.”

The contest light-heartedly pokes fun at a more serious issue.

“I think one goal is to draw attention to the stereotypes and discourses we have internalized, and to render them laughable. Of course, another goal is to have fun, relax, and play with words,” Hayton said.