Friday, 12 May 2006

Dave Barry's dog ate his mother's toes

When we posted the other day about poetryDOTcom, we clean forgot to add the bit about Dave Barry's take on the matter.

He first wrote about them in 1995 1994 (couldn't find the column, but Wind Publications has a copy up):
Anyway, I wrote a poem for Best Poems of 1995. I call it, simply, "Love." Here it is:

O love is a feeling that makes a person strive
To crank out one of the Best Poems of 1995;
Love is what made Lassie the farm dog run back to the farmhouse to alert little Timmy's farm family whenever little Timmy fell into a dangerous farm pit;
Love is a feeling that will not go away, like a fungus in your armpit;
So the bottom line is that there will always be lovers
Wishing to express their love in an heirloom quality book with imported French marbleized covers;
Which, at $49.95 a pop multiplied by 3,000 poets
Works out to gross literary revenues of roughly $150,000, so it's
A good bet that whoever thought up the idea of publishing this book
Doesn't care whether this last line rhymes.
Read the whole column.

But that's not all.

In 1993 2003 (Thanks David, for pointing out the typo), Mr Barry took another shot, via his blog.
So anyway, this blog was just thinking how interesting it would be if a whole bunch of people submitted poems that contained a certain key poetic phrase. To see how it might work, this blog submitted a poem under the pen name of "Freemont A. Harkins," entitled: "A Sad Day." Here's how it goes:
A Sad Day

i am sad, so very sad
the tears run down my nose
it was a happy day until
the dog ate mother's toes
You can see this poem at, using the search engine to search for "Freemont Harkins." Wouldn't it be fun if a lot of people submitted poems using a Pen Name that began with "Freemont" and incorporating the phrase, "the dog ate mother's toes"? Then we all could search for poems written under the first name of "Freemont" -- currently, this blog is the only one -- and see how creative everybody was!

Or would that be wrong?
His devoted readers obliged. Most handsomely.
The site now has more than 500 poems by people coincidentally named Freemont concerning the consumption of mother's toes by the dog. Some of these poems are genuinely alarming. This blog is SO very proud of you all. Just think: If you were to take all that energy, creativity and talent, and apply it to something truly useful -- something that would benefit humankind -- this blog would be very disappointed.
And then – and you have to take your hat off to them for this one – pulled one of the best spins ever. They milked the "Freemont Project" for more publicity, with a page that was even linked to from their front page for a while. An extract:
So what's the story behind all this fun? Our old friend Dave Barry! You may remember back in 1994, Dave's column "This Poet Don't Know It" – later reprinted in his mega-seller Dave Barry is from Mars AND Venus, Dave wrote a poem for inclusion in our contest, which was later published in one of our anthologies.
Well, Dave's at it again, urging people all over the world to submit funny poems to the world's largest poetry repository – – all using the first name Freemont, and all including the line "the dog ate mother's toes".


Dave urged all his readers to submit their effort for posting on, and we proudly present them here. Enjoy!
The page links to those poems, though we hear that most were subsequently yanked. However, this site links to archived copies elsewhere.

Right. Now, we have an idea brewing. See next post for details.

1 comment:

david raphael israel said...

Zig -- looking forward to your idea (when fully brewed).

BTW, about this:
<< In 1993, Mr Barry took another shot, via his blog. >>
-- the item you link to is from a blog archive of 2003 (not 1993) -- though it might be relaying things from newspapers in the 1990s.

I'm not clear on the relationship between the blog and Berry's (syndicated) newspaper column -- but meseems blogs as such hadn't emerged on the world scene quite so long ago as 1993. ;-)

Anyway, trivial point (from my inner fact-checker).