12 Easy Steps Toward a Stronger, Better Clerihew

dr phil wiki commons1. Wake up with an overwhelming urge to write 2 clerihews, one on Jacques Derrida, the other on Willy Loman.

2. Remind yourself: no urges are strange. And, after all, there are many things that are even more absurd than clerihews. Consider writing an essay on why no urges are strange.

3. Check for Derrida and Loman in Henry Taylor‘s absorbing collection of clerihews. Find the one on Derrida:

Jacques Derrida
forgot where he’d–ah,
then he remembered:
deconstructed need not mean dismembered.

4. Relax, it’s still morning and half your work has already been done by Henry Taylor.

5. Read Henry Taylor’s book in its entirety. Twice. Memorize Taylor’s clerihew on Preston Sturges:

Preston Sturges
was subject to urges
whose nature and history
remain shrouded in mystery.

6. Relax. The day’s not half done and all you’ve got to do is write a clerihew on Willy Loman.

7. So what would Bruno Latour think of Taylor’s clerihew on Louis Pasteur?

Louis Pasteur
kept his libido astir
by pretending to disrobe
in the presence of a microbe.

8. Notice that Latour and Pasteur might be solid clerihew material. Jot that down somewhere.

9. While still pondering, entertain thoughts of grandeur (Latour-Pasteur-grandeur and ?)…Write a proposal for a book of clerihews, one for each of the knights mentioned in Mallory’s Morte D’Artur. (At least we’d find out how many there really were.)

10. Now it’s getting late. Begin to panic on the Willy Loman clerihew.

11. Scale down the book idea. One clerihew. About a man named Skarphéðinn.

12. Time’s up. Don’t give up. Feed the cats. Then write:

Willy Loman,
a broken showman,
quietly died and barely knew
how fit he was for the clerihew.

Right. OK, your turn.

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~ by matt on 16 January 2008.

5 Responses to “12 Easy Steps Toward a Stronger, Better Clerihew”

  1. Jean-Paul Sartre
    That dirty old fart
    Was quite the guy
    Even with his wandering eye.

  2. Mon dieu–oh yeah, that’s what we’re talking about. Thanks Paul!

  3. Has Mike ever shown you the book of clerihews we wrote (back in ’99 or ’00) about every member of the English department at Yale (grad students and faculty)? It’s illustrated and everything.

    Harold Bloom
    sits at Penelope’s loom
    and seems to be grieving
    while he’s bobbing and weaving.

    Bill Deresiewicz
    always says a wit’s
    only as clever
    as its latest endeavor.

    … and so forth.

  4. No he hasn’t, Isaac. I’ll have to pester him for this–these are really great, thanks very much!

  5. d’ya wanna know da creed o’
    Jacques Derrida ?
    Dere aint no reader
    dere aint no wrider eider

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