Poetry Smackdown

My favorite thing at Atlantia’s Kingdom Arts & Sciences Festival has got to be the Gyrth Oldcastle Memorial Poetry Smackdown.  A room full of smartass poets ragging on people from history and on each other.  It’s hilarious.  This year, I actually entered.  The format was two poems: an entry fee poem praising baronage, barony, king, queen, or kingdom; and a smack poem poking fun at a historical poet from a list.  This is my smack poem, in which I give Shakespeare some grief for screwing up the historical details of his plays, ripping off everything from everyone, and making up words.

Bashing the Bard

A Smack Poem for the A.S. 51 Gyrth Oldcastle Memorial Poetry Smackdown

By Lady Adriana Michaels

The crowning jewel of all the written word

The writer who puts others all to shame

Has stolen every story that he’s heard

And carelessly misspells his own damn name


Plays fast and loose with history as he wilt

With clocks in ancient Rome to strike each morn

Young Hamlet at a college not yet built

And Aristotle quoted ere he’s born


He makes up words to suit each poem’s need

With meanings mashed and stretched to make them fit

Producing scores of headaches as we read

And struggle vainly to make sense of it


But his worst crime, should he be charged upon it,

Has been inspiring me to write this sonnet


Since Shakespeare is famous for his sonnets, I thought that was the most appropriate verse form to use when ragging on him. Traditionally, a sonnet is fourteen lines of iambic pentameter, with the rhyme scheme abab, cdcd, efef, gg, and my sonnet follows this pattern. I did use an extra syllable in the couplet at the end in order to use a feminine (two-syllable) rhyme, but Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20 does the same thing throughout.


Clarke, Charles and Mary Crowden, “Words Shakespeare Coined,” From The Shakespeare Key. http://shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordscoined.html

Pressley, J. M., “Shakespeare’s Source Material.” http://www.bardweb.net/content/ac/sources.html


“Shakespeare’s Plays Were Full of Anachronisms.” https://www.copyediting.com/shakespeares-plays-were-full-of-anachronisms/#.WLMHC28rKpo

Theriot, Lisa. “Sonnet More Like Shakespeare — Five Things He Does You’re Probably Not Doing.” http://www.ravenboymusic.com/sonnet-more-like-shakespeare-five-things-he-does-youre-probably-not-doing/


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