Friday, August 16, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY: Clerihew Poems

Clerihew poems are short poems written about a specific person or character. They always have four lines, are simple to write, and are funny!

British writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) invented the Clerihew format at the age of 16 (fun fact: he also is credited with writing the first “modern” detective novel). Bentley’s Clerihew poems focus on notable people from history and (then) current events. His poems are humorous and often irreverent, and follow three main rules: they have four lines, follow an easy aabb rhyme scheme, and humor is an essential element.
Here is a Clerihew poem Bentley wrote about Cleopatra:

The one thing Cleopatra
Never could abide was a flatterer.
When Anthony compared her to Thais
She knocked him right off the dais.
And here is another that Bentley penned about Lewis Carroll:

Lewis Carroll
Bought sumptuous apparel
And built an enormous palace
Out of the profits of Alice.

For more Clerihew poetry by Bentley, click here.
As you can see, Bentley had a lot of fun with this format! And as writers and teachers, we can, too. In classrooms, kids can use this format to write about their favorite heroes, historical figures, book characters, celebrities, etc.—the list is endless. And even reluctant writers will be a bit more excited about writing a poem that *has* to be funny!    

After exploring this fun format, I wrote my own Clerihew poem in honor of back-to-school week, which is next week where I live:
My new teacher Miss Daisy                                                                                Is basketball crazy.                                                                                                        She dribbles and dunks her way through the day                                                       Then for home work she tells us to “Go home and play!”
Can you write YOUR own Clerihew poem? I’d love to read it!
Happy Writing!

20 comments:

  1. I low the clerihew, although I've never tried one!Nice, job, Becky!

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  2. Thanks, Becky. A few more clerihew here at the SNICKERS Blog

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    1. These are great, Charles! Thanks so much for sharing the link, and for stopping by! = )

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  3. How fun, and I can't help thinking, how *vedy* British.

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  4. These are so much fun, Becky. Our local Shakespeare company did Antony & Cleopatra this summer. That clerihew is very aspt.

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    1. I haven't seen a Shakespeare production in a long time--I would love to see Antony and Cleopatra. I bet it was great!

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  5. Now I'm curious about Lewis Carroll's home- I'm assuming it must've been pretty grandiose. Why, hello Google... ;)

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  6. The rhyme scheme and brevity of the clerihew add to its humor, I think. I need to try this form. Thanks for sharing, and well done!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Liana! I am glad you enjoyed this! = )

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  7. Love your blog design, Becky, and your Daisy clerihew is fun--I'll share with my daughter Daisy!

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    1. Thanks so much, Heidi! I love the name Daisy for a little girl! = )

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  8. Hi Becky, Thanks for sharing--I love the last line of your poem: "Then for home work she tells us to 'Go home and play!'" And the image of the teacher dribbling and dunking "through the day" : ) Sounds like Miss Daisy is a pro!

    Lisa
    www.stepsandstaircases.tumblr.com

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    1. Thanks--my boys LOVE it when their teachers tell them that their only homework is to go home and play!

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  9. Thanks for teaching me about the Clerihew form. I think your poem this week and my poem this week should get together for a playdate!

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