British writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) invented the Clerihew format at the age of 16 (fun fact: he also is credited with writing the first “modern” detective novel). Bentley’s Clerihew poems focus on notable people from history and (then) current events. His poems are humorous and often irreverent, and follow three main rules: they have four lines, follow an easy aabb rhyme scheme, and humor is an essential element.Here is a Clerihew poem Bentley wrote about Cleopatra:
The one thing Cleopatra
Never could abide was a flatterer.
When Anthony compared her to Thais
She knocked him right off the dais.And here is another that Bentley penned about Lewis Carroll:
Bought sumptuous apparel
And built an enormous palace
Out of the profits of Alice.
For more Clerihew poetry by Bentley, click here.As you can see, Bentley had a lot of fun with this format! And as writers and teachers, we can, too. In classrooms, kids can use this format to write about their favorite heroes, historical figures, book characters, celebrities, etc.—the list is endless. And even reluctant writers will be a bit more excited about writing a poem that *has* to be funny!
After exploring this fun format, I wrote my own Clerihew poem in honor of back-to-school week, which is next week where I live:
My new teacher Miss Daisy Is basketball crazy. She dribbles and dunks her way through the day Then for home work she tells us to “Go home and play!”
Can you write YOUR own Clerihew poem? I’d love to read it!Happy Writing!