The Humorous Side of News Put into Poetry

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The Humorous Side of News Put into Poetry

By Benedikt Jóhannesson
News Muse book cover

How do you combine your interests? Vala Hafstad, Icelandic poet and mother of four, tackled that question. Her answer is a collection of news-related, humorous poems, hot off the press. Except that it is only published electronically.

Vala calls her collection News Muse and says that by writing news-related poetry, she can unite her two interests. "I have a Master’s degree in English, but I had always been interested in journalism. The poetry is a bit of both worlds."

Vala started to publish her poetry on Poetry 24, a website that aims to publish news-related or topical poetry that reflects what's happening in the world. She now resides in Iceland after having lived in the U.S. most of her adult life, mostly in Minnesota. She finds inspiration for her poems in strange news headlines. Vala’s poetry is full of humor and wordplay.

News Muse is currently published in a Kindle version only. The subject matter is as diverse as the news. One poem describes the text message of a desperate cow to her beloved; another tells the story of a tourist who participates in the search for herself in Iceland. Every poem is followed by a link to the inspiring article—the news muse herself.

Here is one of her poems about a story that was in the news again lately:

A FAIRY TALE

There once was a powerful lord.

There’s nothing he couldn’t afford.

His daughter was fair as can be;

On that every man did agree.

 

The suitors lined up at their gate.

For hours, they’d patiently wait,

But Beauty would all of them shun

And say, “Of those men I’ll have none.”

 

The father came up with a plan

And said, “I will promise the man

Who woos and wins over my girl

A treasure befitting an earl.

 

He need not be wealthy or smart,

Or skillful in music or art.

He may not be handsome or tall—

Just someone for whom she will fall.

 

I’ll offer him diamonds and gold

I’ve earned from the stocks I have sold.

My daughter deserves a good man.

To help her, I’ll do what I can.”

 

The daughter said, “Give me a break.

I can’t lead a life that is fake.

There won’t be a man in my life.

I’m leaving and so is my wife.”

 

And that is the end of the tale.

The daughter, no doubt, did prevail.

Her father let out a big sigh:

“I guess there are things you can’t buy.”

 

BBC News: “Hong Kong tycoon recruits husband for lesbian daughter.

26 September 2012.

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