On July 10 celebrate the Clerihew, a form of poetry that was invented by English author Edmund Clerihew Bentley.
Commemorating Bentley’s birthday the unofficial holiday encourages people to read and write their own specific form of clerihews.
A clerihew is a 4-line biographical poem usually featuring and making fun of a well-known person. The first line always includes the name of the subject. The poem does not have a fixed meter or line length and has an AABB rhyme scheme.
Anatomy of a Poem
In poetry, a meter (or metre if you follow British spellings) refers to a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line that is set in length (a verse). A rhyme scheme refers to the pattern of rhymes at the end of each line in a poem. To identify a rhyme scheme, each line in a poem is designated with a letter. Lines that share a letter rhyme have words at the end that rhyme with each other.
It is believed that Bentley first came up with the clerihew at the age of 16 during a science class. The poem was about Sir Humphry Davy, a chemist. It was published in 1905.
How to Celebrate?
Read some of Bentley’s clerihews.
Spend some time coming up with your own clerihews. What about featuring some of your friends, family members, and co-workers in some of your poems?
Learn more about the history, art, and science of poetry.
Did You Know...
...that the study of meter and rhyme in poetry and prose is called prosody?