Eggcornic verse

Passed along on Facebook, this work by Twitter poet Brian Bilston:


From his owlishly antic website, “Brian Bilston’s Poetry Laboratory: From Ideation to Poemification”:

Frequently described as the “Poet Laureate of Twitter”, Brian Bilston is a poet clouded in the pipe smoke of mystery. Very little is known about him other than the fragments of information revealed on social media: his penchant for tank tops, his enjoyment of Vimto, his dislike of [British broadcaster] Jeremy Clarkson.

In 2014 he became the first person to retain the title of Pipe Smoker of the Year [Poetry section] and, over the years, he has won numerous awards for cycling proficiency, first aid, and general tidiness. He won the 2015 Great British Write Off poetry prize for a poem disguised in a Venn diagram.

His first collection of poetry You Caught the Last Bus Home will be published later this year with Unbound.

I’ve been thinking of Bilston as the British counterpart to Calvin Trillin, though operating in different media (Twitter vs. The Nation). On Trillin’s 1994 book about his own poetry experiment, Deadline Poet: My Life As a Doggerelist, in Publishers Weekly:


In an irreverent, hilarious romp, Trillin (Uncivil Liberties) wraps a running political and cultural commentary around the weekly topical verses he has written for the Nation since 1990. His barbed satirical poems and accompanying essays find their mark in deflating Quayle, Ross Perot, “Republonazi” David Duke and Margaret Thatcher. There are also witty verses on the Supreme Court’s rightward drift, the reunification of Germany, Madonna, Father’s Day and Princess Di. Trillin’s coverage of the Bush-Clinton contest points up the triumph of image in presidential campaigns. Clinton’s NAFTA legislation, his health care plan and his lurch to the center lead Trillin to observe that “Presidents sort of blend together, somewhere in the middle. . . . This seemed particularly true of Bill Clinton and George Bush.”

A sample:

The Ross Perot Guide to Answering Embarrassing Questions

When something in my history is found
Which contradicts the views that I propound,
Or shows that I am surely hardly who
I claim to be, here’s what I usually do:

I lie
I simply, baldly falsify.
I look the fellow in the eye,
And cross my heart and hope to die –
And lie.

I don t apologize. Not me. Instead,
I say I never said the things I said
Nor did the things that people saw me do.
Confronted with some things they know are true,

I lie.
I offer them no alibi,
Nor say, “You oversimplify.”
I just deny, deny, deny.
I lie.

I hate the weasel words some slickies use
To blur their pasts or muddy up their views.
Not me. I’m blunt. One thing that makes me great
Is that I’ll never dodge nor obfuscate.

I’ll lie.

2 Responses to “Eggcornic verse”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    The Ross Perot poem seems particularly apt these days, given the unfortunate omnipresence of you-know-who.

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