Friday, July 17, 2009


Sign in Helsingborg. In our Swedish (even though I do actually speak not one word of Swedish as such) Signs for Fridays Series.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Limerick Challenge!

At the suggestion of Kristen I am launching a Limerick challenge: for you to try your hand at The Limerick and write your very own. If you feel like it put your limerick in the comments spot of the limerick post yesterday (here) and we'll all have a good laugh (with not at you I promise!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Now it's high time for some more Limericks. Limericks? you say. (I mentioned them last post but here we delve deeper... I like saying "delve" it makes me happy. You try. It's even better if you can add "dig" in, too. See if you can get "dig and delve" into several conversations today.) Limericks are sometimes looked down on. Reasons given are: 1/they're simple 2/short 3/only have 5 lines 4/and they're not very hard to write (come to think of it, isn't that pretty much what some people think of children's picture books? yes but never mind, onward) And because they're not hard to do, All And Sundry joined in evidently--mostly in pubs while drunk--so, worst of all, they tended to be: 5/"bawdy". Shakespeare wrote them (he has some in two of his greatest plays Othello and King Lear) so if they're good enough for Shakespeare... But the master of Limericks is Edward Lear. There had long been an oral tradition of nonsense poetry in the English language, from nursery rhymes to schoolyard chants and drinking songs. But Edward Lear was the first English writer to make nonsense poetry into an art form: something worth writing and publishing in its own right. So without further ado, one of my favorites (complete with Lear's own line illustration):

Monday, July 13, 2009

the father of nonsense

Edward Lear (1812-1888), the British poet and painter known for his absurd wit, has been called "the father of nonsense" and wrote, what else but, The Complete Nonsense (a bind up of all his various nonsense: nonsense alphabets, nonsense botany, nonsense songs, nonsense stories, nonsense pitures, nonsense rhymes), which is the first book I remember reading all the way through. I was about 7 and adored it. I didn't know it was allowed. To speak and write such a load of nonsense like that. And get away with it. Get it in a book, even. And have it published. And he did the drawings too! (Lear of course gave us Quangle-Wangles, Pobbles, and Jumblies. And marvelous things like a runcible spoon.) Things have not been the same since. Of course I immediately set about writing and illustrating nonsense limericks like him. In Lear's limericks the first and last lines usually end with the same word rather than rhyming. And mostly they are well and truly utter nonsense and have no punch line or point whatsoever. Wonderful in other words. One limerick that isn't a Lear Limerick but is one of my all-time favorites: There was an old faith healer of Deale Who said "Though Pain isn't real When I sit on a pin and it's punctures my skin I don't like what I fancy I feel." In that one, the last line isn't a repeat of the first line and stronger as a result, I think. (When it's the same word, it has always felt to me like a bit of let down.) Here's one of my favorite Edward Lear Limericks: Do you have a favorite?

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