Petrified Limerick – Notes

Background Notes — Petrified Limerick

The author of this one isn’t interested in providing any background notes, but has told me he doesn’t mind if I do.

His contribution to our collaboration might alienate a reader in any of at least three groups —

  • Personal Detractors — Some have taken it on themselves to find fault with about anything he does, so don’t be surprised to see his part in our collaboration mocked or disparaged relative to the work of the others in our group. None of that will have come from any of us. We respect everything he has had to add, no exceptions.
  • Prudish Types — Traditionally, limericks were by definition bawdy. We might at times share some that are nonsexual in nature — like, the form flies well with political satire as well, not much a surprise given how lewd most of political discourse actually is — but if bawdy topics offend the reader, simply avoid walking through the door of any of our poems identified as a limerick. That’s not our way of refusing to accept responsibility for our writing, as some seem to think having a personal blog relieves them of – quite the contrary, we stand by our word, even when bawdy.
  • Poetic Caste Prejudice — Too many scholars and readers seem to think the limerick to be less serious a verse form than any of the other verse forms of the same “caste” as a sonnet. We don’t happen to believe that. Try writing one yourself sometime — it is actually the mark of an advanced writer to be able to pull off a good one. Sure, just about anyone can get the basic pattern and rhyme scheme down, but as with any verse form it takes a whole lot more than that to make it actually work.

Already we’ve seen several dozen limericks from this author in our backstage private blog – it’s almost been the only verse form in which he seems comfortable. Some of them have been better than the one posted here in our public blog. A few have made me snort my coffee with how practiced he can be catching me offguard with his concluding line, even when I think I see it coming because of the seemingly obvious rhyme. Like, how you think you see it coming if a limerick writer speaks of someone from Nantucket, but even then the better writers will display their wit in completely unexpected ways.

The best compliment I might give our colleague here would be for me to say that although there’s not a single verse form I dislike writing, and although I myself have been known to write a limerick now and then, I would not want to go up against this friend in a limerick-writing contest. …Then again, sure, why not?—it would be a blast, but I would fully expect to lose to him or someone even better.

— Maggie



3 thoughts on “Petrified Limerick – Notes

  1. clarioretenebris October 24, 2012 at 10:28 pm Reply

    Nice to see him ever so briefly out from the shadows. Let’s nail his sandals to the sidewalk out there next time maybe we can get him to recite out loud one of the others he’s shared with us out back.

    And not just his limericks, although I say that in full agreement with you and with full respect for what he does with this form.

  2. pilgarlic October 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm Reply

    I like the children’s poems he has written. Genuine love there.

    Maybe his limericks are the other side of where his children’s poems come from. Both show signs of a quick wit and a unique insight.

    • maggie November 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm Reply

      The original version of this well-meaning comment posted by my husband was the push behind my subsequent post here, regarding Our Public and Private Faces. As I observed in that post, obviously I’m still going to be talking with my husband rather than ignoring him when I’m out with him in public, even though just as obviously I talk with him in our bed all the time, yet telling our truths privately does not mean that what we say in public is a lie. All of which ought not even need to be explained, except that there seem to be people out there bent on making up things to attack us over. So anyway, on this comment I had to step over and edit Dean’s comment back – he and I both communicate regularly and openly with the limerick’s author; and some of what we share is private and ought remain so. Doesn’t mean anything wrong with what was said nor with what I’ve left here – it’s just those differing layers of personal privacy.

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