Happy National Clerihew Day

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

Abominated gravy.

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?

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