2009 12 22
Recently read: Academic Graffiti
W.H. Auden, with drawings by Filippo Sanjust. Academic Graffiti
This book only takes 15 or 20 minutes to skim through, even at a leisurely pace, but if you’re a pointy-head, it’s probably still worth a trip to the library for it. A clerihew is, so I’m told, “a whimsical four-line biographical poem . . . The lines are comically irregular in length, and the rhymes, often contrived, are structured AABB.” This book contains sixty-one clerihews of Auden’s. E.g.,
Always avoided chiasmus,
But grew addicted as time wore on
Auden takes aim at some familiar names—Aquinas, Beethoven, Blake, Robert Browning—and some unfamiliar ones. I admit that some of the poems went right over my head, even when I recognized the name:
Immediately stopped frowning
And started to blush,
When fawned on by Flush.
Did you know that Elizabeth Barrett had a dog named “Flush”? I didn’t, and this dog was even the subject of a fictional autobiography by Virginia Woolf (!).
Anyway, good for a laugh or two.