I want to dedicate this column to a form of poetry that is often overlooked: the limerick. A limerick has five lines and has a strict rhyming scheme (AABBA) with a predominantly anapaestic (two short syllables followed by a long) metre. They are often obscene with humorous intent, which makes them perfect for short-form erotic poetry.
The limerick first appeared in England in the early 18th century, and was popularised by Edward Lear in his Book of Nonsense, in 1846. The limerick as an art form is almost always obscene, and Gershon Legman cites in his anthology similar opinions held by the likes of Arnold Bennett and George Bernard Shaw. Clean limericks, he said, were but “periodic fads rarely rising above mediocrity.” From the point of view of folklore, the limerick is meant to shock and titillate.
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