Each year on July 10th we mark National Clerihew Day. What in the world is a Clerihew? It’s a light-hearted, four line biographical poem intended to poke a little fun at the subject. The Clerihew was created by novelist/humorist Edmund Clerihew Bentley, supposedly while as a student at St. Paul’s school in Hammersmith, England. The following is believed to be his first Clerihew:
“Sir Humphrey Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered Sodium.”
Clerihews are meant to be absurd and the rhymes intentionally forced. The poems follow four classic rules:
-Four lines in length
-The subject’s name in the first line
-Line 1 rhymes with line 2 and line 3 rhymes with line 4
-It should be silly!
The rules aren’t meant to be strict, just have fun with it! I wrote this one in honor of Mr. Bentley:
“Mr. Edmund C. Bentley
Made his name a bit differently
Schoolboy poems at Hammersmith
But that may all be myth”
What makes a “good” Clerihew is a relative term, many great writers have penned terrible Clerihews, including E.C. Bentley himself. Why not try writing your own today?