Monday, May 26, 2008


Teens going from bad to verse
Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008


(May 24, 10 p.m., Intrepid Theatre Club, 1609 Blanshard St.)

Eight years ago, Vancouver's Sara Bynoe unearthed her old boyfriend's teenage love poems. These maudlin masterpieces were hilarious. So she phoned a girlfriend to enjoy a mutual guffaw.

That nasty yukfest was the seed for Teen Angst Poetry Night. For this performance, 27-year-old Bynoe reads her self-penned teen poems, then invites audience members to read their own horrific teen musings (e-mail her at to sign up).

Bynoe's interest in teen writing spun off into a successful website in which people worldwide post their poems. She wrote a 2005 book, Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry, and hosts a monthly open-mike night at Vancouver's Railway Club for those who relish bad teen prose.

The floodgates of Bynoe's own pubescent scribbling opened in Grade 8, when her boyfriend James (a Mormon who'd "fake-drink" beers) dumped her after a month. This prompted a steady stream that resulted in 400 poems and a journal she kept from age 15 to 20.

One of her James-inspired poems goes: "You thought wrong/You thought I would cry/You thought I would die/But it was me that said goodbye."

For adults -- aside from the humour -- the appeal of such writings is a feeling of catharsis in realizing others suffered as teens, Bynoe says. Just as we did.

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