Academic journal article Language Arts

Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge

Academic journal article Language Arts

Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge

Article excerpt

Presidential Misadventures: Poems that Poke Fun at the Man in Charge Written by Bob Raczka Illustrated by Dan E. Burr Roaring Brook, 2015, 44 pp., ISBN 978-1-59643-980-1

"Toothache-prone GEORGE WASHINGTON/ complained that flossing was no fun./Lifelong dental misadventures/led to presidential dentures" (p. 1). And so begins this book that features, in chronological order, 43 poems about US presidents in an unusual poetic form called a clerihew. The clerihew was created in 1890 by an English 15-year-old student named Clerihew Bently, who after learning about a famous scientist in class (Sir Humphrey Davey), wrote his first poem. Clerihew poems poke fun at a famous individual, and they only have four lines. The first two lines rhyme with each other, as do lines three and four. The first line usually contains (and ends with) the name of the famous individual. For example, a poem about former president Clinton reads, "Casual jogger BILL CLINTON/ was not interested in sprintin'-/ unless he had cravings for meat on a bun. …

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