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Poetry Competitions UK
04 May 2012

Limericks Workshop

A Limericks consist of 5 lines. The first line normally begins with ‘There was a . . . ‘ and ends with a name, person or place.

The last line normally has an unusual or far-fetched ending. As for the poem structure it’s simple! Lines 1, 2 and 5 have 7-10 syllables and rhyme, and lines 3 and 4 have 5 to 7 syllables and rhyme.

Look at Edward Lear’s limerick below for an example. He is the most well-known limerick writer and wrote ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. His ideas were based on the sounds of nursery rhymes and his limericks proved to be such a success he published his own book called ‘Edward Lear: A Book of Nonsense’ which is still enjoyed today.

'There was an old man with a beard
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared,
Two owls and a hen
A lark and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard!'


Limericks have been around for a very long time, some people believe they date back to the 14th century (a very long time ago) with even the great man himself, Shakespeare, having turned his hand at writing them, but it was only in the 1800s when limericks became popular.

Limericks are so popular that they have their own day! National Limerick Day is on the 12th May, which was also Edward Lear’s birthday!

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