Saturday, 12 May 2012

Getting to Grips with Nonsense Poems

Nonsense verse is an acquired taste. Like rice pudding or liquorice, children sometimes find it repulsive and incomprehensible in equal measure. Persist, because it one of the great joys of the English literary tradition.

Edward Lear nonsense poet
Edward Lear 1812 - 1888
Today is the bicentenary on the birth of Edward Lear, one of the most accomplished nonsense versifiers. Why not take the opportunity to dip a toe into the water and try a few of Lear's nonsense confections? The Owl and the Pussycat is a great starting point as it will be familiar to most children, who may well have enjoyed it without noticing its nonsense qualities.

If you take to nonsense verse, there are a number of contemporary writers of nonsense poems to latch onto, of whom our own Max Scratchmann is one of the very best. You'll find his collection of Nonsense Poems for Children is an ever growing treasure trove of  weird and the wonderful poems.

Why not celebrate Lear's birthday by having a go a writing your own nonsense poems. It's not as easy as you'd think!