Sunday, April 30, 2017

Try a Clerihew

Was said to fake a deer;
Once caught, he ran away
And tried his hand at writing a play…

Edmund Clerihew Bentley, an English writer wrote a book, Biography for Beginners, published in 1905 under the name E. Clerihew.  He collected simple, humorous four-line verses about famous people.

Bentley started writing his verses as a high school student when bored with his studies. He did not call them clerihews. After the book appeared, his readers named them.

In 1928  a description of clerihews as "nice slack metres and sly points" appeared. Individuals have had fun writing their own ever since Bentley shared his.

When the news reached his old school, the boys celebrated with a clerihew.


Must have been alluring
To get made a don
So early on.

Clerihews have just a few simple rules:
  1. They are four lines long with irregular length and meter (for comic effect).
  2. The rhyme structure is AABB. First and second lines rhyme  and the third and fourth lines rhyme.
  3. The first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person. Biographical and whimsical, it shows the subject from an unusual point of view.
  4. A clerihew is always funny.
Write clerihews about characters from books, movies, comics, cartoons, etc. 

Read a few here:

Go on, write a clerihew!

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