In the story, Arthur Dent is rescued from destruction of the Earth "...to make way for a hyperspace bypass..." by a bureaucratic alien race called the Vogons. Arthur Dent ends up hitchhiking and stowing away on a Vogon spaceship. When caught by the Vogons, Arthur is thrown out an airlock in to space. But he is first tortured by being forced to listen to the Vogon Captain recite poetry.
...Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived only by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled "My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles" when his own major intestine--in a desperate attempt to save humanity--leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain. The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paul Neil Milne Johnstone of Redbridge, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison. ...
Poetry. By Al Gore:
"Vogons are described as mindlessly bureaucratic, aggressive, having "as much sex appeal as a road accident" and the writers of "the third worst poetry in the universe". They are employed as the galactic government's bureaucrats."