NATIONAL CLERIHEW DAY
On July 10th of each year, National Clerihew Day in the United States celebrates a poem style created by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. His four-line biographical poem offers a brief, though whimsical approach to poetry.
An English novelist and humorist, Edmund Clerihew Bentley (July 10, 1875 – March 30, 1956), created the first-ever Clerihew at the age of 16.
Sir Humphry Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium
As with most poetry, the Clerihew is defined by a set of rules. It must:
- Include four lines.
- Contain rhyming couplets of AA/BB.
- Include a person’s name in the first line.
- Say something about that person.
- Be humorous. It is meant to be a funny poem, of course.
The genre of poetry wasn’t limited to Bentley. Other poets wrote and published in this form as well, and still do.
- A Cluster of Clerihews by Gavin Ewart
- Excuse My Clerihews by William Hazell
- The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram by Paul Ingram (Though they don’t really seem lost, I guess they once were.)
Like limericks, poets poke fun at people real and imagined. As with any humor, the Clerihew draws a chuckle from the reader as well as the subject of the poem. If you can’t laugh at yourself and you’re the subject of a Clerihew, it’s probably better not to read it. If you’re writing a Clerihew about someone who can’t take a joke, maybe don’t write the Clerihew. Or, write it about not being able to take a joke.
Nelly Belly ha ha
Danced to Lady GaGa.
Fell on her bum.
Cried in her rum.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalClerihewDay
Write a Clerihew or of your own! Explore the world of Clerihews, too. You might find the entertainment worth celebrating! Post on social media using #NationalClerihewDay.
NATIONAL CLERIHEW DAY HISTORY
The day is observed annually on the anniversary of Edmund Clerihew Bentley’s birth, July 10th.
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