poetic device: Paradox Poems

Paradox poems are poems that contain statements that contradict themselves. For example, the poem “Antigonish” by Hugh Mearnes begins with the lines “Yesterday, upon the stair / I met a man who wasn’t there.”

In poetry, a paradox doesn’t have to include the entire poem. It can be as little as a single line, or a phrase such as “less is more” or “the student was the teacher.”

However, when entire poems are full of contradictory statements, they are a type of nonsense poem. As a child, I fell in love with nonsense poems, but especially paradox poems that I learned from my father, like “The Dying Fisherman’s Song.” When I grew up and began writing poetry of my own, I loved creating new paradoxes.

Each of these poems contradict themselves and strange and funny ways.

Somebody Stole My Butt by Kenn Nesbitt
Somebody Stole My Butt
On the Thirty-Third of Januaugust by Kenn Nesbitt
On the Thirty Third of Januaugust
I Wrote This Little Poem
I Love Me by Kenn Nesbitt
I Love Me
Captain Impossible by Kenn Nesbitt
Captain Impossible
As I Was Walking Down the Street
I Built Myself a Time Machine by Kenn Nesbitt
I Built Myself a Time Machine
Imaginary Friend
I Like Myself the Way I Am by Kenn Nesbitt
I Like Myself the Way I Am
One Warm Sunny Day by Kenn Nesbitt
One Warm, Sunny Day
My Dog’s Name Is “Cat”
I Often Contradict Myself by Kenn Nesbitt
I Often Contradict Myself
I Came upon Some Words
I Wrote Myself a Letter by Kenn Nesbitt
I Wrote Myself a Letter
Mr. Yes and Mr. No
Dexter McDwyer by Kenn Nesbitt
Dexter McDwyer
Izzy O'Rainty by Kenn Nesbitt
Izzy O’Rainty