NaClerWriMo: "To Real Poets Everywhere"

To Real Poets Everywhere
My regrets to real poets, whether living or dead
Whose genuine verse of the heart and the head
Is sullied by clerihews published in this space.
To poetry, such doggerel is quite the disgrace.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here. This is the final clerihew entry for NaClerWriMo 2006. So long, it's been fun.)

December 31, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Keith Moon"

Keith Moon
Moon drummed with a fury so rarely surpassed
Impossibly busy, unimaginably fast
His life was the same, jammed with parties and booze
Spent it freely, as if he had nothing to lose.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 30, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Tom Waits"

Tom Waits
Waits, irrepressibly brave troubadour
Of the downtrodden, those of less not of more
His compassion inborn and not just of choice
Heartening the luckless with life-ravaged voice.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 29, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "George Bush"

George Bush
George Bush
Horse's tush
Wants to be king
But rules not a thing.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 28, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Gerald Ford"

Gerald Ford
Farewell to President Gerald R. Ford
The Stopgap-in-Chief whom the lefties abhorred
For forgiving the Tricky One of all his crimes.
Letting bygones be bygones was best for those times.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 27, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "James Brown"

James Brown
Give it up for the Godfather, Mr. James Brown
Hard-working man of such fame and renown
Who richly deserved the great Soul Brother name.
He always felt good, and made us feel the same.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 26, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Santa Claus"

Santa Claus
Santa Claus, old Saint Nick
Being good does the trick
To get his free gifts, as goes the tradition,
Behaving yourself is the only condition.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 25, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "The Grinch"

The Grinch
Could the quite sour thoughts of that angry old Grinch
Have really been caused by shoes that did pinch?
Ne'er mind, for he found what makes Christmas worth living
Is not in the getting, but rather the giving.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 24, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "P.D.Q. Bach"

P.D.Q. Bach
Incorrigible progeny P.D.Q. Bach
Imagined by Schickele, whimsical doc
With so many kids, even mighty J.S.
Sometimes, regrettably, settled for less.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 23, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Edgar Allan Poe"

Edgar Allan Poe
Troubed Edgar Allan Poe
Tells of terror, tells of woe
Into the maelstrom his soul sails
Heart forever telling tales.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 22, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Sherlock Holmes"

Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Forever roams
The shady streets and foggy moors of my imagination
Solving mysteries and conundrums to my constant delectation.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 21, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Michael Richards"

Michael Richards
The man once beloved as that goof Cosmo Kramer
Is now widely reviled as an angry defamer.
Ugly slurs hurled at hecklers, when jokes all fell flat:
Yes, Michael, there is something quite wrong with that.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 20, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Mark Sandman"

Mark Sandman
Mark Sandman sauntered right into the room
The cold March night sweltering, somehow, like June
Had a drink at the bar, then strapped on his bass
Deep grooves, musky voice permeating the place.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 19, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Mud and Spike"

Mud and Spike
Mud and Spike,
What's not to like?
Always catch z's
With greatest of ease.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 18, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Billy Bragg"

Billy Bragg
The socialist folkie named Billy Bragg,
Whose passionate compassion might well never lag.
He's got brains and heart, of that there's no joke
But best of all is, he's a regular bloke.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 17, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Kevin Guilfoile"

Kevin Guilfoile
The mystery writer Kevin Guilfoile’d
Prefer to write fiction that’s rather hardboiled.
But a father who never could say au revoir
Kept his fine debut from descent into noir.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 16, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Dr. Seuss"

Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss
Words run loose
The phrase-wrangling Geisel steers all into rhyme
Importful and humorish both at the same time.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 15, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Rex Grossman"

Rex Grossman
Rex, Rex
Oh how you perplex
One week Joe Montana, but next Henry Burris
Which one shows for the playoffs has us rather curious.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 14, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Sammy Sosa"

Sammy Sosa
Sosa, the (possibly chemically) inflated
And smiling slugger once had us elated.
But his towering homers soared not far enough
For pennant-starved Cub fans so fickle with love.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 13, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Mike Royko"

Mike Royko
Royko, the late renowned newspaper scribe,
When not hounding the City Hall pols might imbibe
A beer at the Goat after, parish to parish,
Playing sixteen-inch softball the locals so cherish.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 12, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Kirby Gann"

Kirby Gann
Kirby Gann is the one
Whose Southern Napoleon,
Hay Keebler, dared dream about saving the world,
His quest sadly doomed before even unfurled.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 11, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "B.B. King"

B.B. King
B.B. King
The man sure can sing
What makes him the real deal
Is the notes coaxed from Lucille.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 10, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Barack Obama"

Barack Obama
With Barack Obama,
Each word and each comma
Is perfectly placed. But what sets him apart?
The depth of his mind and the depth of his heart.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 9, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Ander Monson"

Ander Monson
Ander Monson
From north of Wisconsin
Where kids move away or else stay and grow old
Electricities linking souls hid from the cold.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 8, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Studs Terkel"

Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel’s histories have as their lessers
The dense tomes of cloistered old college professors.
Lively books tell of working and hard times and strife
With everyday stories of everyday life.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 7, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Nelson Algren"

Nelson Algren
Algren, the great bard of the Northwest Side
Of Chicago, wrote much, for he could not abide
As society ignored, or dismissed with a laugh
The have-nots and their struggle for what little they have.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 6, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Pete Anderson"

A bonus clerihew, at my expense, courtesy of Fred.

Pete Anderson
A working fellow, name of Pete
Would not kiss the bosses feet
Neither heel nor toes nor sole -
Guess what? Now he's on the dole.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 5, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Keith Olbermann"

Keith Olbermann
Olbermann, Olbermann, valiant knight Olbermann
Sinks teeth into Bushies with zeal of a doberman
Speaks truth to power, the mighty are shamed
He knows where our troubles should rightly be blamed.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 5, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Howard Zinn"

Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn
Heart's not of tin
Speaks for the less fortunate
In manner most importunate.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 4, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (0)

NaClerWriMo: "Ed Champion"

Ed Champion
Ed Champion, with praise, repeatedly showers
The great works of Pynchon and Vollman and Powers.
Breathless he waits for their books from the postman
While feuding with Tanenhaus, Penzler and Grossman.

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 3, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (1)

NaClerWriMo: "Golden Rule Jones"

Golden Rule Jones
There once was a blogger named "Golden Rule Jones"
A shadowy phantom who had quite the stones
Took a fine nom de blog from his home's golden era
But he's not from New York, hence no "Stiller & Meara."

(Clerihews compiled here; explanation here.)

December 2, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (2)

NaClerWriMo

Now that NaNoWriMo has ended (more on that later), I'm suddenly inspired by a new writing project. The December 1 entry for Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day is "clerihew":


clerihew \KLAIR-ih-hyoo\ noun

: a light verse quatrain rhyming aabb and usually dealing with a person named in the initial rhyme

Example sentence: My favorite of Edmund C. Bentley's clerihews is the following: "What I like about Clive / Is that he is no longer alive. / There is a great deal to be said / For being dead."

Did you know? Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) was an English writer whose book Biography for Beginners was published in 1906 under the name E. Clerihew. It was a collection of simple, humorous four-line verses about famous people. Bentley had begun writing them as a bored high school student. He didn't call them clerihews himself, but his readers began to do so after the book appeared. How soon after, we can't be sure, because so far we've unearthed nothing earlier than a 1928 description of clerihews as "nice slack metres and sly points." In any case, people have been having fun writing their own clerihews ever since Bentley shared his.

In the spirit of well-intentioned but generally pointless writing exercises, I'm declaring December to be National Clerihew Writing Month, or NaClerWriMo. I vow to write a clerihew every day this month, and post it here at Pete Lit. Here's my first effort, in honor of my oldest and dearest friend, a former college roommate of mine:

Fred
A slacker named Fred
Could oft pass for dead
As he slept until noon
From July on through June.

Incidentally, "noon" is being rather generous to Fred, at least during our college years.

December 2, 2006 in Fiction, NaClerWriMo | Permalink | Comments (2)