The subject of ongoing scholarly debate and study, Lanny Poffo’s poetic oeuvre remains as intriguing and polarizing as it was when Poffo penned it.
In a paper published this week in the respected journal American Poetry Review, Harvard literature professor Daniel Colton writes: “Poffo’s canon continues to amaze us, vex us, and ultimately define who we are, for better or worse. His work is a puzzle that grows more complex over time.”
Colton cites one of Poffo’s later works, an epigram in pseudo-iambic pentameter, simply titled Frisbee Seven:
We witness the dethroning
Of one Jim “The Hacksaw” Duggan
Whose crown and robe are in a state of ravage
I now remove my mortarboard
And place it near my heart
And thus proclaim you “Macho King” Randy Savage
The poem, Colton writes, “is widely renowned as the work of a genius at the height of his craft.”
Poffo’s most productive writing years — 1983 to 1990, during which he was heralded as “The Poet Laureate of the WWF” — saw the emergence of a prodigious new talent, described by one literary critic as “the new Walt Whitman, but with the modernist nuances of T.S. Eliot, and the acrobatic style of a Jim Brunzell.”
Opinions among the literary establishment are divided, however, and some critics have panned Poffo’s poems as “pre-match piffle worth less than the Frisbees on which they are fittingly tossed away,” Colton writes.
Among Poffo’s most vigorously debated works is a 1985 piece titled Animal:
Whose appetite for turnbuckles is making all that mess?
The man who has to sweep the ring will give you just one guess.
They call George Steele the “Animal,” but take a closer look.
The cover doesn’t indicate the beauty in this book.
His passion for Elizabeth is in vain, to say the least,
But the beauty has compassion for this broken-hearted beast.
Reached for comment about the ongoing debate surrounding his work, Poffo told the Kayfabe News that “dissecting poetry is an tautological moonsault for which there is no reversal.”