Ode to the Typographical Error

As a graphic designer and publisher for all of my working career, I can so relate to this poem. I can’t tell you how many times one little unnoticed error has completely wrecked a job.

Ode to the Typographical Error

The typographical error is a slippery thing and sly;
You can hunt till you are dizzy, but it somehow will get by.
’Till the forms are on the press, it is strange how still it keeps.
It shrinks down in a corner, and it never stirs or peeps –
That typographical error, too small for human eyes –
’Till the ink is on the paper, when it grows to mountain size.
The boss, he stares with horror, then he grabs his hair and groans;
The copyreader drops his head upon his hands and moans.
The remainder of the issue may be clean as clean can be,
But the typographical error is the only thing you see.
— Anonymous


  1. Marian Dyer says

    Felt some empathy with the ode to the typographical error…

    Regarding typographical errors
    I feel I must agree
    Though it doesn’t happen often
    It has happened to me
    I’ve searched the page and searched again
    Not one error did I spy
    Until the moment after
    The printer ink was dry

    That microscopic error
    That I couldn’t even spot
    Has now become so evident
    I feel I’ve lost the plot
    Though all the rest is perfect
    It matters not one tiny jot
    Due to that ‘gigantic’ blemish
    My reputation’s shot

    • Coach Marty says

      Hi Marian,

      I LOVE this. You are a fabulous poet. Wish I had that talent.

      I believe the Ode that I re-printed was written way back in the early 1800’s. The problem has been around a long time.

      I love your up-to-date version.


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