Reprinted from the Flint Public Library WebStation:

Julia A. Moore


Julia A. Moore gained national attention and a wide popular following because of her inept and dreadful verse. Her first book, The Sweet Singer of Michigan was published in 1876 to a loud and raucous chorus of literary boos. Book reviewers gleefully criticized the poetess for her maudlin poems which featured forced rhyme, ridiculous wording and inconsistent and poor meter. Reviewers called it "a mile post in the history of bad poetry," were moved to exclaim "we know nothing like it in ancient or modern literature and on the whole we are not sorry," and declared "Shakespeare could he read it, would glad that he was dead".

Although her poems sometimes honored people, places and events most often they dealt with tragic and untimely death. They were always horribly sentimental. One reviewer commenting on Moore's maudlin and overly emotional verse thought that "to meet such steady and unremitting demands on the tear ducts a person should instead be equipped with a water main."

The other singular quality of Mrs. Moore's poetry was its laugh out loud, unintentional humor. No matter how hard the Michigan poet tried to write serious verse it nearly always turned out funny. Mark Twain counted her as his favorite poet because she made him laugh and Twain modeled the character Emmeline Grangerford in Huckleberry Finn after the Michigan poet. Stephen Leacock, in his 1938 book, Humor and Humanity: An Introduction to the Study of Humor, called Julia Moore America's "greatest super-comic poet."


  • Return to index of bad poems.