by Louise Robertson
Month of Forms – An Alternative to the 30/30.
And so we begin a month of ideas for form poems to try on for size. There are three rules for this game. 1: No sonnets will be presented. 2: The poetic forms presented must be capable of producing results so that the poet does not have to explain anything about the poem ahead of time. Just write, revise, read at your favorite open mic. 3: Have fun.
We start short and fun. Today’s form is the limerick.
Like the Haiku, it relies on syllable and line count, but it also asks us to rhyme, baby, rhyme.
Write 5 lines of 8,8,5,5,and 8 syllables. Lines 1,2, and 5 should rhyme with each other and lines 3 and 4 should rhyme with each other. It doesn’t have to be sexy, but sexy is good!
There once was a poet of slam
who said, “This is all just a sham.”
He said he could write
and did it all night
and was great when he gave a damn.
For the poetry slam community: so you’re prepared for the some of the National Poetry Slams, you’re going to want to try this form out. There are sometimes limerick battles that really rock this form so hard you’re laughing until you’re crying — at yourself.
The poet who made this form famous was Edward Lear, though, of course, even Shakespeare wrote them. Lear is the Victorian poet who wrote “The Owl and the Pussy Cat”. He famously wrote a whole book of limericks one of which is this poem:
There was a Young Lady of Norway,
Who casually sat on a doorway;
When the door squeezed her flat,
She exclaimed, ‘What of that?’
This courageous Young Lady of Norway