National Clerihew Day
National Clerihew Day is a holiday that’s observed annually on July 10th and celebrates the legacy and the works of an English novelist and humorist known as Edmund Clerihew Bentley.
He invented a short comic and/or nonsensical poetry form that consisted of two rhyming couplets with lines of unequal length and usually putting a famous person in an absurd light. For example, a famous clerihew that was written by Bently is listed below:
- George the Third
- Ought never to have occurred.
- One can only wonder
- At so grotesque a blunder.
As you can see, a clerihew has a very specific form that’s easily recognizable and is fun to play with not only on this holiday but also on any day of the year.
The Form Of The Clerihew
When it comes to this form of poetry, there are some important properties that it should follow. We’ve listed some of those properties below so that everyone can craft their own clerihew.
- It has four lines of irregular length and meter for comic effect.
- It’s biographical, whimsical and usually pokes fun at famous individuals.
- It has a rhyme structure of AABB and the subject or wording is often contrived in a humorous way to achieve the rhyme.
- To achieve its rhyme, a clerihew may use not only English but Latin, French and other non-English languages.
- The first line contains or consists solely of the individual’s name.
Observing National Clerihew Day
We think that the best way to celebrate this holiday is by writing your own clerihews. Before you do, however, you might want to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the style.
That’s why we’ve included a small section up above that should help people tailor-make their own clerihews. People should be sure to post the clerihews they create on the Internet using the hashtag #NationalClerihewDay to let us all know what you created on this holiday.