Limericks are five-line poems that pack a funny punch line or a humorous twist. Because they are short and follow a familiar thirteen-beat rhythm, they can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. The following sites include classic limericks by well-known authors, limericks by authors not yet famous, and tips on how to write your own limericks.
"There was an Old Man with a beard / Who said, 'It is just as I feared! / Two Owls and a Hen / Four Larks and a Wren / Have all built their nests in my beard!'" Edward Lear's "A Book of Nonsense", first published in 1846, is a collection of 112 limericks for children. This fan site, created by an Italian high school teacher (he actually teaches English, but he does it in Italy) includes all of Lear's limericks as well as biographical notes and commentary.
The Educational Technology Training Center of New Jersey presents oodles of fill-in-the-blank interactive poetry forms, including one for limericks. What's an interactive poetry form? Think MadLibs, and you'll get the idea. To find the limerick maker, scroll down the alphabetic left-hand menu. I also liked the "William Carlos Williams Tribute Poem I" because it is based on one of my favorite poems. "This is just to say / I have eaten / the plums / that were in / the icebox / and which / you were probably / saving / for breakfast / Forgive me / they were delicious / so sweet / and so cold"
Bruce Lansky, author of numerous poetry collections including "The Dog Ate My Homework" and "If Pigs Could Fly," explains the rhyme and rhythm pattern of limericks. Unfortunately, the Limerick Contest is over (and the link at the bottom of the page is broken) but there are lots of other pages to explore, such as tongue-twisters, fill-in-the-blank poems, and a partially true autobiography ("See if you can spot the fourteen fibs.")
"Is Algebra fruitless endeavor? / It seems they've been trying for ever / To find x, y, and z / And it's quite clear to me, / If they've not found them yet then they'll never" Graham Lester shares two dozen limericks of his own, along with a smattering from unknown authors. There's also a page of limericks from famous authors (click on Classic Limericks) such as Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, and H.G. Wells.
Tired of the same old news format, day after day? How about current events in limerick format instead? For high schools students and adults, the Limerick Savant opines about current events in the familiar five-line limerick style and includes a link to the original story for more details. I loved it! "My aim is to needle and pester / 'Til puns I inflict start to fester./ And now it appears / I have four more years, / Self-elected, to serve as court jester."