May 12 is Limerick Day. It is an unofficial holiday that encourages people to read and write limericks, a genre of humorous poetry that first originated in England in the 18th century.
Book of Nonsense
Limerick Day, also sometimes called National Limerick Day honors the birthday of Edward Lear, English poet, and author. Born in 1812, Lear popularized this form of poetry in his 1846 book called A Book of Nonsense.
It is believed that the term limerick to refer to this specific genre of poetry comes from the city of Limerick, Ireland.
5 Lines & AABBA Scheme
Limerick is a genre of poetry that traditionally has 5 lines and has an AABBA rhyme scheme. A rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhymes in a poem. To identify a poem's rhyme scheme, each line is designated with a letter. Lines that share a letter rhyme have words at the end that rhyme with each other. This means that in a limerick, which has an AABBA rhyme scheme, the words at the end of the first, second and fifth sentences rhyme, while the words at the end of the third and fourth sentence rhyme with each other.
Traditionally, the first line of a limerick introduced a person and a place and the rest of the poem described a humorous and often times obscene situation involving the subject or the place.
How to Celebrate?
Celebrate Limerick Day by reading some of Lear's limericks. Also, check out other poets' limericks as well.
Write your own limericks and share them with your family and friends.
Did You Know…
...that the oldest surviving poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is from about 2100 BCE?