Clerihews

Beat writers' block here.
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BenJohnson
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Clerihews

Post by BenJohnson » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:46 pm

Clerihews though not a serious poetic form offer scope for a bit of fun. Created as a piece of schoolboy verse the Clerihew has enshrined many famous individuals. The rules are:

1. The first line is the full name of someone famous (though the famous part can be relaxed), the following lines sum up their life or look at them from a fresh perspective.
2. The whole thing is 4 lines long and rhymes in couplets a,a,b,b.
3. Usually lines 3 and 4 are longer than lines 1 and 2.
4. The more contrived or wrenched the rhymes are the better.
5. There is no set meter.

Here is my attempt, though I fail on contrived rhymes and line length.

Geoffrey Pyke

Geoffrey Nathaniel Joseph Pyke
proposed to build a ship from ice,
although it took three summers to thaw
both Pyke and Habakkuk are no more.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by brianedwards » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:57 am

Here's one from a wee while back:

All's Relative

Professor Albert Einstein
Professed he had no time
To bother with such existenzialistisch minutiae
As God, or even Lucifer.




~

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Re: Clerihews

Post by oranggunung » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:53 pm

Ben

please forgive this offering. It fails on form, but not contrivance.


poem removed for journal submission

og
Last edited by oranggunung on Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by BenJohnson » Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:41 am

@Brain 'minutiae' and 'Lucifer' are great as a rhyming pair, and the use of existenzialistisch as well *Shakes head in amazement* fulfills the criteria perfectly.

@Oranggnung It fails on form, but not the spirit of the thing and with a name like that if it was a Clerihew I hate to think how long lines 3 and 4 would be. Clerihew it isn't, but it stands up on its merits.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by David » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:03 pm

Good work there, og. (Sorry, had Ben here originally! Or should that be oranginally?) Possibly "they'd fumble" would work better as "they would fumble".

Cheers

David
Last edited by David on Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by oranggunung » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:01 pm

David

I've tried reading (both in my head and aloud) and still can't decide between the two versions. :?
The apostrophe appears to work if you give "they'd" a slight elongation. The construction, from the purist's perspective, hardly seems to matter as there are already a great many liberties taken. Still pondering...

The last line proved most difficult. The original just wouldn't deliver the stresses in the right places. It was only when I started thinking about Clerihews that I remembered this ditty.

When I posted it, I was tempted to add Basil Brush's emphasis to the punchline. No groans so far, so perhaps I should've.

og

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Re: Clerihews

Post by oranggunung » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:01 pm

oops - a duplicated post

can someone delete this?
Last edited by oranggunung on Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by oranggunung » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:01 pm

oops - a triplicated post

can someone delete this?
Last edited by oranggunung on Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Danté » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:35 am

My audition involved Simon Cowell
but he noticed my irritable bowel
when after a bit my shoes filled with shit
he declared that I looked a right twit.


.
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

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Re: Clerihews

Post by brianedwards » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:06 pm

Danté wrote:My audition involved Simon Cowell
but he noticed my irritable bowel
when after a bit my shoes filled with shit
he declared that I looked a right twit.


.
Approaching the spirit of the form Tim, but could stand some trim. With respect, I had some fun:

The Audition

Simon Cowell
spied my irritable bowel
and as my dancing shoes filled up with shit,
"My thoughts exactly", he quipped.


:D

B.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by oranggunung » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:10 pm

Apparently, Simon Cowell's middle name is Phillip.

So the first line could read:

Simon P. Cowell


og

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Danté » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:40 pm

Good to see you had some fun tinkering with the poem Brian, I was aiming for a loose anapest like rhythm, which required those line lengths to make it jog along.
I think the result of your tinkering reads pretty well, I'm generally happy for people to play around with my lines as it shows that the material has caught the eye of at least one person :wink:

all the best

Tim
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

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Re: Clerihews

Post by brianedwards » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:50 pm

Danté wrote:Good to see you had some fun tinkering with the poem Brian, I was aiming for a loose anapest like rhythm, which required those line lengths to make it jog along.
I think the result of your tinkering reads pretty well, I'm generally happy for people to play around with my lines as it shows that the material has caught the eye of at least one person :wink:

all the best

Tim
Yes Tim, I appreciate the rhythm you were attempting, but perhaps it compromises the spirit of the clerihew? Not to worry, just good fun I suppose.
I am a bit of a fan of the form, it has to be said . . .

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Re: Clerihews

Post by David » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:54 pm

Danté wrote:My audition involved Simon Cowell
but he noticed my irritable bowel
when after a bit my shoes filled with shit
he declared that I looked a right twit.
This is a limerick, isn't it, Tim? Albeit with the nice surprise of rhyming aabbb instead of aabba. It's a fun thing, whatever you call it.

Cheers

David

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Danté » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:01 pm

Yes David, I had the limerick meter in mind after reading the no set meter instruction a few times, I'm off a googling....
I appreciate the rhythm you were attempting, but perhaps it compromises the spirit of the clerihew?
I wouldn't say its a form I have a lot of experience with Brian, I read the points at the top of the post including the no set meter and had a bit of fun. You've got me all curious now, I'll have to research the form and see if I can attempt another piece which might adhere to whichever meter is supposed to be used for the form.

all the best

Tim

Having briefly googled the form and having read the line below, I think I'll take an Anadin and concentrate on free verse :wink:

"The unbalanced and unpolished poetic meter and line length parody the limerick, and the clerihew form also parodies the eulogy."
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Crustyman » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:25 pm

Good fun for all the family - here's a few more to keep the pot a-boiling

Rubik
had a mind essentially cubic;
which enabled him to invent the game
that bears his name.


Sigmund Freud
always got fearfully annoyed
whenever he heard the praises of Adler or Jung
sung.


Henry James
used to call people very rude names,
except folk who invited him to dine that night.
To them he was awfully polite.
"There are nine and sixty ways
Of constructing tribal lays
And Every Single One Of Them Is Right"
Rudyard Kipling

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Re: Clerihews

Post by BenJohnson » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:08 pm

@Dante you are really better not aiming for any meter this is very school boy verse. The first line should only contain the name which is why Brian's tinkering is closer to the form, though your content is pretty spot on.
"The unbalanced and unpolished poetic meter and line length parody the limerick, and the clerihew form also parodies the eulogy."

I suspect they mean the uneven line length parodies the Limerick, but not the meter, the Limerick has a very strong meter. The Clerihew only parodies the Eulogy in as much as it is about a person and their life, albeit in a concise and irreverent manner.

@Crustyman a great set can't decide if the first or second is my favourite.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Danté » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:25 am

Thanks Ben, Brian, I'll have a good look at the other examples and have another go. All info gratefully received, it was worth testing the boundaries of the form as I found out more as a result of the exercise.

all the best

Tim
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

Nash

Re: Clerihews

Post by Nash » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:26 am

John Clare
didn't much care
for Radstock's moral sobriety,
preferring rustic impropriety.

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Danté » Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:12 pm

The Conmens

John Prescott, tagged
by the media for having two Jags,
an errant shag might have cost him dear
but Gormless still thought he'd make a fine peer.


.
to anticipate touching what is unseen seems far more interesting than seeing what the hand can not touch

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Crustyman » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:29 am

Praise gratefully received, Ben. Here's another

Rabindranath Tagore
could pull hot totty by the score.
He said "It's not the beauty of my song
that they they like, but my long and luminous dong"
"There are nine and sixty ways
Of constructing tribal lays
And Every Single One Of Them Is Right"
Rudyard Kipling

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Re: Clerihews

Post by Crustyman » Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:02 pm

And another couple before invention flags

Marco Polo
walked to Manchuria solo.
When he got back he said "Cathay
is one hell of a long way away"

Elizabeth the First
shouted and stamped and cursed
when she was told that Leicester had the hots
for Mary Queen of Scots.
"There are nine and sixty ways
Of constructing tribal lays
And Every Single One Of Them Is Right"
Rudyard Kipling

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