Of Poems and Palindromes: Lost Generation


Jonathan Reed, a twenty-something Atlanta native and a student at Columbia College in Chicago, wrote this palindrome poem, “Lost Generation,” about the future waiting for him and his peers. Reading it from the top down is disheartening; reading it from the bottom up is uplifting!

Reed’s video featured only text and narration. The above version, created by the senior class at Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, was filmed and edited by Dr. Eliezer Jones.

Reed’s video won second place in AARP’s U@50 video contest. According to contest rules:

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible? To enter the AARP U@50 Challenge, you must be a legal resident of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia 18 years of age or older and have a valid user account with YouTube.

How Can I Enter the Contest? To enter the Contest, create an original video not exceeding two minutes in length that describes how you envision your future and upload it to YouTube website in accordance with these Official Rules.

I am part of a lost generation
and I refuse to believe that
I can change the world
I realize this may be a shock but
“Happiness comes from within”
is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy”
So in 30 years I will tell my children
they are not the most important thing in my life
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
is more important than
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era
this is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
30 years from now, I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it.

Reed was inspired by the Argentinian political ad, “Truth,” which won the Silver Lion in the “Public Awareness Messages” category at the 2006 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.


These filmmakers’ ingenious palindromic approach prompted me to include this list of palindromes, which I’ve compiled over the years. If you can add to the list, please let me know!


Race car

Taco cat

Salad, alas

Lonely Tylenol

Naomi, I moan

Live not on evil

Egad, an adage!

Too hot to hoot

Step on no pets

No ‘x’ in ‘Nixon’

Rise to vote, sir!

Party booby trap

Amen, icy cinema

Madam, I’m Adam

Was it a rat I saw?

Do geese see God?

A Toyota’s a Toyota

No lemons, no melon

Lisa Bonet ate no basil

Pull a bat, I hit a ball up

A slut nixes sex in Tulsa

Ah, Satan sees Natasha

Sit on a potato pan, Otis

Able was I, ere I saw Elba

Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw?

Burlap apes use papal rub

Yo, bro! Free beer for boy!

Ten animals I slam in a net

A dog, a panic in a pagoda

Was it a car or a cat I saw?

Live time, never even emit evil

Lewd did I live, & evil I did dwel

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

Some men interpret nine memos

Selim’s tired; no wonder, it’s miles

Go hang a salami! I’m a lasagna hog!

Cigar? Toss it in a can. It is so tragic.

Sir, I demand—I am a maid named Iris

I roamed under it as a tired, nude Maori

Doom, royal panic, I mimic in a play or a mood

Flog sad loser Al. Gore, zero, glares, old as golf

I madam, I made radio. So I dared. Am I mad? Am I?

O naughty me, tut! It’s Bush substitute, myth, guano

Doc, note. I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod

To sleep, O ogre! Vile mongrel! Dip, ass, sap! Idler! Gnome! Liver goop! Eel! Sot!

T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I’d assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot toilet

Finally, here is my all-time favorite palindrome:

Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts!

Click here to see all my humorous posts.


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10 Responses to “Of Poems and Palindromes: Lost Generation”

  1. David Perrings Says:

    The Lost Generation is an amazing piece of word structure gymnastics. Very Impressive.

    David Perrings

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, David!

  3. littleowlski Says:

    Amazing, thank you so much. I’m currently researching the links between maths and poetry for my Masters in Education. This has been so useful!

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Glad I could be of service, littleowlski!

  5. littleowlski Says:

    It’s given me lots of ideas for lessons and ways to get my very ‘Mathsy’ class to approach poetry in a different way. I’m hoping they’ll come up with their own Palindrome Poetry of some standard or another! Emma

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Very glad to hear that, Emma! Best of luck with your class!

  7. samanthacarter54 Says:

    Our teacher read Lost Generation to us in class today, and I was positively blown away. This is not only an incredible piece of writing but one in an equally amazing form. Beautiful.

  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much, Samantha. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  9. iscariot Says:

    Live! Deified Evil!

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks for the palindrome contribution!

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