Bring your Limericks to Limerick

2016-Limericks-banner

The 2016 Bring your Limericks to Limerick International Poetry Competition will take place this coming August. A joint venture between The Limerick Writers’ Centre and Global Limerick the competition final will take place on Sat 27th August at the Savoy Hotel in Limerick City. This year the prize is a wonderful weekend for two in Limerick City including 2 nights accommodation, 2 breakfasts and dinner on the Saturday night.

[The winning entry for 2016 here.]

The competition was made an international event in 2013 as part of The Gathering celebrations in the University of Limerick and was an enormous success. Since 2013 over 2000 entries have been entered for the competition from all over Ireland and overseas, with 50 finalists turning up on the final night to do battle for the overall prize. Previous winners of the event include North of England performance poet Christine Robinson (2013), Co Clare based US poet Knute Skinner (2014) and last year Killaloe based writer Fiona Clark Echlin (2015). This year we hope to have an equally exciting contest with again flamboyant local actor Myles Breen hosting the final in the Savoy

In 2013, to coincide with the competition, The Limerick’ Writers’ Centre commissioned local historian Dr Matthew Potter to write a history of the Limerick verse and its association with the area. Outlining the reason for the book he explained that “The aim was to create an awareness of the connection between the place and the poem so that Limerick can establish itself internationally as one of the few places that gave its name to a literary form. Think Shakespeare and Stratford, Joyce and Dublin, Burns and Scotland, Limerick and the Limerick”.

How to Enter

Entries are now been taken for the 2016 competition and local, national and international wordsmiths are encouraged to take part. You can enter online.

Top Tips to Write a Top Class Limerick

Although initial judging will be of the written submission, finalists will need to recite their limerick at the live final. Competitors are advised that limericks whose comic effect is based on eccentricities of spelling and pronunciation of the written word should be aware that such subtleties may be lost when their limerick is performed.

Although generally referred to as the ‘people’s poetry’, writing a good limerick requires skill and ingenuity coupled with a good sense of humour

  1. Take care with the use of Self-rhymes. A self-rhyme is when two identical words end two or more of the rhyming lines. Avoid if possible.
  2. Avoid Rhymes that rely on miss-stressing . For example, “empire” and “desire” would not usually work as the former is stressed on its first syllable and the latter on its second.
  3. The limerick should flow naturally with its stresses in the correct places and with each rhyming line stressed in the same way and with the same syllable count (although one or two extra unstressed syllables can usually be included).
  4. Limericks that make reference to a topical happening are likely to be looked on with favour – providing, of course, that they meet the standards in other ways.

The critical element is its infectious lilt, as expounded here:
Well, it’s partly the shape of the thing
That gives the old limerick swing;
These accordion pleats Full of airy conceits
Take it up like a kite on a string.

The final judging will be based on the entrant’s performance of the limerick. Those who read their works will lose marks to those who recite them from memory.

Further details: Dominic Taylor limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com

What is the ‘Limerick’?

The Limerick is a verse form which originated in Croom, Co Limerick in the 18th century . It is a verse which must contain the following elements:

  • Five lines
  • Lines 1,2,5 must rhyme
  • Lines 3 and 4 must rhyme
  • A good Limerick will have a clever unanticipated punch line as line 5 will often have puns, word play or a witty feature as part of it.

Sample of a good Limerick

As a beauty I’m not very pretty
There are others more handsome and witty
But my face I don’t mind it
Because I’m behind it
‘Tis the folks in the front that I pity

History of the Limerick Competition

The Limerick Writers Centre, managed by Dominic Taylor, has been managing the ‘All Ireland Limerick Verse Championship’ since 2010. In 2013, as part of The Gathering, the competition was expanded into an international competition based in the University of Limerick. The event attracted over 600 entrants nationally and internationally and 50 finalists battled it out for the top prize.

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