Sir Humphrey Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
by Edmund C. Bentley
Post 6: National Poetry Month 2015
Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875- 1956) invented this poetry form as a teen, at 16. A Victorian boy bored in science class at St. Paul’s School, London and his classmates G.K. Chesterton joined in the fun. I wonder what this particular teacher thought of such creation in his class [if he ever found out].
It is comical in nature, reminding me of a Limerick but the more Clerihews I read, it feels like it brushes on the poetry form: Eulogy. The rhyming scheme is aabb with two couplets. Usually in the rhyme, you meet a famous person/character in the first line. The lines are of no particular length and no regular meter standard. I guess it is that aspect which creates the comedy.
According to Carol Fisher, children enjoy Clerihew because it is a rhymed poetry. She further explains that children with little poetry experience usually writes meaningless lines or a nonsense verse. I guess, this aspect would enable them to pen comical lines.
Bentley, Edmund Clerihew. Biography for Beginners [ebook]. Courier Corporation, 2014.
Fisher, Carol J. “Writing Poetry: Children Can Do It.” National Conference on the Language Arts in the Elementary School. http://eric.ed.gov/?q=carol+fisher&ff1=autFisher%2c+Carol+J.&id=ED106877, 1975. 11-13.
Lipson, Greta Barclay. Poetry Writing Handbook. Teaching & Learning Company, 1998.
Poetry, Shadow. Clerihew. March 2000. April 2015 <http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/clerihew.html>.
Stearns, Rollin. “Clerihews: A Personal History.” Word Ways: Vol. 41: Iss. 1, Article 5 February 2008: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol41/iss1/5 .
Haha, the style really is a fun read and a nice way to learn too 😄
It sure is. I’ve been repeating Nursery Rhymes to see whether they are clerihews :).