National Clerihew Day

National Clerihew Day is a holiday observed annually on July 10th that celebrates the legacy and works of an English novelist and humorist known as Edmund Clerihew Bentley.

He invented a short comic and/or nonsensical poetry form that consists of two rhyming couplets with lines of unequal length, usually putting a famous person in an absurd light. For example, a famous clerihew written by Bentley 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 is 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 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 is 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 also 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 above that should help people tailor-make their own clerihews. Be sure to post the clerihews you create on the internet using the hashtag #NationalClerihewDay to let us all know what you created on this holiday.

When is it?
This year (2024)
July 10 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
July 10 Thursday
Last year (2023)
July 10 Monday
Hobby & Creativity