The Clerilhew

I learned the name of this four-line from an excellent review of Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney in the Hudson Review, by David Mason.  You can find this online. He quoted this one (by Edna Longley, Michael’s wife):

Michael Longley
Is inclined to feel strongly
About being less famous
Than Seamus.

As you see, the first line contains a name, and the lines rhyme AABB. I hadn’t known the name of the form, and most of them seem to hardly rise above the limerick. But I’ve long enjoyed this one by J.V. Cunningham:

Lip was a man who used his head.
He used it when he went to bed.
With his friend’s wife or with his friend,
With either sex at either end.

In that same issue of the Hudson Review, you can find my review of The Selected Letters of John Berryman, but that’s only in the print issue, not online.