Limerick Definition

A limerick is a poem with two long lines, two short lines, and a final long line, generally with an “aabba” rhyme scheme. Typically, the first, second, and final lines have 8 or 9 syllables, and the third and fourth have five or six, though the number of syllables is not a strict rule.

Visually, it would be like this:
Line 1: 8-9 syllables, rhyme a
Line 2: 8-9 syllables, rhyme a
Line 3: 5-6 syllables, rhyme b
Line 4: 5-6 syllables, rhyme b
Line 5: 8-9 syllables, rhyme a

Here’s a couple written by Bill Memorial Library Staff, as examples:

Our classes are really quite fitting.
We have weeding, cooking, and knitting.
We’re planning some fun
Now that Summer’s begun
Outside, if weather permitting!

There once was a patron of Bill,
That Library up on the Hill,
She wrote next to the fort
Some poems quite short
Coming up with clean limericks at will.

Challenge Assessment Points

Points will be awarded for the following:

  • Proper format
  • Humor
  • If it tells a story
  • Bonus points for mentioning the Bill Memorial Library in some way, but this is not required
  • Bonus points for mentioning books, reading, or libraries in general in some way, but this is not required

Limericks will be submitted to a panel of judges who will pick based on these criteria and their own, more subjective opinions to pick the best among the submissions.

Challenge Rules

  • All limericks must be written by the patron who submits it – not ones they found on the internet.
  • In order to be considered for a prize, limericks must be submitted by July 31st.
  • In order to claim a prize, participants must come pick it up in person. We will not mail out prizes.
  • In order to be considered for a prize, participants must give us their name and a way to contact them (or, in the case of the writer being a minor, their parent or other responsible adult)
  • Limericks submitted to the challenge may be included in promotion and publications (including but not limited to the annual report, newsletters, and social media) with credit to the writer to their level of comfort. Participants should indicate how they would like to be credited: first and last name, first name only, last name only, first name and last initial, first initial and last name, or Anonymous.
  • Limericks that are crude, bawdy, profane, or otherwise mean-spirited will not be accepted.
  • All poetry must be submitted in limerick format – haiku, sonnets, ballads, villanelles, odes, epitaphs, elegy, free verse, grand epics, and any other poetry that is not a limerick, no matter how well-crafted, will not be considered for the challenge.

The Prize!!!

The winner will receive a gift card to Paul’s Pasta in Groton, CT!

If you would like to submit a limerick in person, stop by for our pre-printed form, or print one from the link below!