The excellent but painstaking Taylor customarily publishes one collection per decade. So what is this book doing, coming out only four years after Understanding Fiction
? Having fun, that's what. Each poem in it is an example of a four-line light verse form invented by British writer E. C. Bentley and labeled with his middle name. A clerihew's first line ends with a person's name; its second line rhymes, often outrageously, with the name; and the succeeding lines also rhyme. Taylor's clerihews play with the monickers of the British poets laureate, the current U.S. Supreme Court justices, suicidal poets, the original Christian disciples, literary critics and reviewers, and principal players in the Clinton sex scandals. A clerihew's second couplet supposedly delivers a joke, but often the funniest thing in one is its first rhyme. If "Harold Bloom /. . . crack of doom," "Judas Iscariot / missed the sweet chariot," and "Robert Southey / . . . azimuth. He" prove amusing, reading the whole book should be all smiles. Ray Olson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Henry Taylor, author of four previous poetry collections, received the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for his third book of poems, The Flying Change. He is professor of literature and codirector of the MFA program in creative writing at American University.