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Old 08-01-2017, 11:46 AM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,137

I, for my part, lean most readily towards wit and satire. I think of satire as overlapping light verse but also what I do not think of as light verse. I echo Susan in that light verse happens to be my best anodyne.
Dorothy Parker and the Art of Light Verse by John Hollander proved an interesting read, having recently happened upon it. It touches on the question of what constitutes light verse, how it is done well, among other things.

Last edited by Erik Olson; 08-01-2017 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:08 PM
Douglas G. Brown's Avatar
Douglas G. Brown Douglas G. Brown is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Belfast, Maine
Posts: 1,170

I do like a few on my light verse efforts better that the winners on the D and A comps; but usually I see the winners earned their prizes by a better treatment of the rubric. When I think "Geez, I wish I had thought of that!", as I read someone else's verse, I acknowledge that I have to try harder next time. The same goes for being published in the several light verse print and online journals.

The D and A comps force me to address topics that I otherwise never would consider, and sometimes I am really pleased with the results. Otherwise, I'd write far too many poems on Maine rednecks getting their comeuppance for doing dumbass things.

There are several Spherians (many of them have already been mentioned on previous posts) who are true masters of the genre, and I have laughed and learned a great deal from them.

Light verse favors adherence to form, rhyme, and meter, and a certain amount of wit. It requires thought and skill, and can reward its creator more than its reader. It's fun to write this stuff.

My favorite dead light versifiers are Ogden Nash, Samuel Hoffenstein, Dorothy Parker, and many poets in FP Adams' anthology. Also, the chronically sad E A Robinson, who lightened up enough to write Miniver Cheevy and Richard Corey

Last edited by Douglas G. Brown; 08-03-2017 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:57 AM
Michael Ferris's Avatar
Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Kingston, NY and San Francisco, CA
Posts: 724

I can’t write light verse. It’s strange because IRL people say I have a good sense of humor -- it just doesn’t come out in writing. I admire you who can write it.

James Fenton cites this double dactyl in his Introduction to English Poetry, and I’ve always remembered it because it’s so witty (like Wendy Cope’s poem on giving up smoking):

Higgledy piggledy
Vladimir Nabokov—
Wait! Hasn’t somebody
Made a mistake?

Out of such errors, Vla-
dimir Nabokov would
Paragraphs make.

(from a New Statesman competition)

Last edited by Michael Ferris; 08-02-2017 at 10:05 AM. Reason: can't type, either
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Old 08-03-2017, 04:02 PM
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Gail White Gail White is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Breaux Bridge, LA, USA
Posts: 3,198

I have books by Mike Juster and Susan McLean,& I always marvel at how good they are, let alone Joe Kennedy.

There are other folks I admire (O let's name a few - Max, Melissa, Julie, Ed Conti) - but the truth is, on a good day I think of them as peers.

Full disclosure!
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:10 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 1,235

There is modern light verse I like - Wendy Cope, for instance, and the work on the Sphere - but my favorite light versifiers are a century old or more: Hilaire Belloc, Max Beerbohm, Lewis Carroll, W.S. Gilbert. This is very likely a matter of what I expect to find in light verse, and therein lies my answer to the question. It's also probably a matter of what I know and return to; I am more adventurous in other reading.
Max Beerbohm wrote this:

"In London, at the Bodley Head; New York, Charles Scribner's Sons."
This little line, when nicely read, iambically runs.


Oh - my own funny poems I do like, but I'd hesitate to call them light verse.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:51 PM
Esther Murer Esther Murer is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 306

I grew up with the masters of light verse and came to "serious" poetry late - when I was pushing 70. As others have said, LV is definitely its own art, more exacting as to meter and rhyme than other kinds of formal poetry. It took me a while (and was liberating) to realize that one's muse can be comic without necessarily restricting one to light verse.
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