After the guys at Fraters Libertas got a chance to look at my post on the nauseatingly bad rap-poem the Strib published today, they assigned me the task of reviewing Bill McAuliffe’s year-end poetry in 2000 and 2002. Up until that point, I had no idea that this was a running feature of the Star Tribune.
My first impression is that what McAuliffe writes is only poetry in the sense that it rhymes. In fact, I can’t spot a whole lot of metric or structural difference between any of the three, including this year’s entry; it’s almost as if McAuliffe has a MS Word Poetry Template into which he stuffs whatever comes into his head. For instance, these couplets don’t show a lot of coherence or any sense of meter:
Enter the Wild — they’re among hockey’s best —
with jerseys so cool they’re also best-dressed.
Will St. Paul be home to the next Stanley Cup?
Will some empty taxi please pick Lucy up?
The last stanzas aren’t even formatted properly, as if the newspaper belatedly discovered just how bad it was and rushed to get it finished. And for some reason, the 2002 entry is described as a “waltz”, as if set to music, the first time I’ve ever seen poetry described as such. The meter is even worse in the 2000 edition than in 2002 or 2003. I won’t bother excerpting it.
However, in my opinion, these previous efforts were simply wastes of time. What sets McAuliffe’s 2003 effort apart is described perfectly by Saint Paul at Fraters Libertas:
In what I presume is a light hearted attempt to summarize 2003, fussy, middle-aged white guy Bill McAulife tries to channel Tupac Shakur. (And if McAulife isn’t a fussy, middle-aged white guy, my apologies for stereotyping. In my defense I was profiling based on the fact he raps like a fussy, middle-aged white guy).
By attempting to be hip(-hop) and by cutting his own audio track of the rap song, McAuliffe descends from mere bad writing to monumentally bad taste, and his newspaper should make a New Year’s resolution to shut down the annual poetry cheese. Word.