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clerihew (KLER-uh-hyoo) noun
A humorous, pseudo-biographical verse of four lines of uneven length, with the rhyming scheme AABB, and the first line containing the name of the subject.
[After writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), who originated it.]
Here is one of the first clerihews he wrote (apparently while feeling bored in a science class):
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
"Walter Bagehot, our most famous editor (from 1859 to 1877), advocated `animated moderation' in writing. And Sir Walter Layton, Crowther's immediate predecessor, spent hours rewriting his staff's articles--so many hours that one of his frustrated colleagues hit back with a clerihew:
Has a passion for alteration
Would to God someone could alter
"Settled in his living room with Italian liqueurs, I notice poet Henry
Taylor's latest book, Brief Candles, a collection of clerihews:
`Hart Crane/ plunged into the bounding main./ His situation could not
have been graver:/ His father invented the candy lifesaver.'"
This week's theme: words to describe poetic forms.
The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks. -Tennessee Williams, dramatist (1911-1983)
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