Clerihew - Orchids The International School
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Writing a Poem

Concept: Clerihew

Definition

The Clerihew poem was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley in the beginning of the 20th century. It is a comic verse consisting of two couplets.

The Main Features of a Clerihew

  • As per its patterns or form, it’s just a four-line poem that rhymes as AABB It makes fun of somebody well-known.
  • It is a witty poem about a famous person.
  • Also in most clerihews, the poem starts with the subject in the opening line itself. Also in most clerihews, the poem starts with the subject in the opening line itself.
  • It’s often the last two lines of a clerihew that makes the poem funny or entertaining for the reader.
  • These are short poems and are usually not challenging to write.
  • It can be written about people we know or we don’t even know.
    But readers can relate to a clerihew well when the subject is a known character.
  • It is biographical in nature.

Rhyme Scheme of a Clerihew

  1. Usually, the first line contains the name of the subject.
  2. The second line should rhyme with the first (name of subject) line.
  3. The third and fourth lines must rhyme.
  4. The first line names the person, and the second line ends with a word that rhymes with the name of the person.
  5. Just remember, mention the person’s name at the end of the first line, rhyme it at the end of the second line. Thereafter write two more funny rhyming lines.

Examples

Clerihews by Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Sir Humphrey Davy
Detested gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
*****
Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I’m going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls,
Say I’m designing St. Paul’s.”

Boy

Common Mistakes

  1. The trick to writing a clerihew is to mention true facts about the person and arrange them in a way that makes the poem comical.
  2. Remember to begin the poem with the person’s full name and choose details about them that you did like to include in the poem. Their name is either only in the first line or within the first line of the poem. After that, another three more lines to go.
Boy
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