We hope your britches aren’t too big for us now, Bill McGloughlin.
McGloughlin, a Charlotte librarian, has been one of the best and most prolific contributors to the Observer’s annual Politics & Public Policy Limericks Contest, now in its 22nd year. Last month, he hit a limericists’ jackpot: The lead of a column in the New York Times.
Columnist Nicholas Kristof received about 2,000 entries for his Donald Trump Poetry Contest, and selected McGloughlin’s limerick to lead things off:
The Republican man of the hour
Is a wellspring of bluster and glower.
Trump is rich and he’s white,
How’s he leading the fight
Against entrenched Establishment power?
McGloughlin shared the news with me and with John and Wes Long, the father-son duo who with McGloughlin have ruled the Observer’s contest over the years. I congratulated him and joked that Kristof was being generous by considering limericks to be poetry.
John Long almost instantly fired back:
A limerick is less than poetic?
PLEASE Taylor, that charge is pathetic,
Your prosaic attacking
Shows you may be lacking
A properly twisted aesthetic.
I stand corrected. The limerick is truly an art form in the hands of these guys and many other Observer contest regulars. So let’s do it again.
For you contest newcomers, the rules are pretty simple: Your limericks should concern themselves with current events, preferably politics and public policy. Local, state and national affairs are all fair game. A touch of bawdiness is a plus, but remember that this is a family newspaper. The winners, though, will definitely make our judges (me, with occasional help from other editorial board members) laugh.
The contest will run for four weeks. We’ll publish the best entries online on Wednesdays and in print Thursday mornings. We will offer weekly prizes and a grand prize commensurate with a competition as high-brow as this.
Send entries to me, Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 9 a.m. each Wednesday. Please try to use the right meter; many don’t!
How to do it
Limericks basics: Five lines, with a rhyming scheme of A-A-B-B-A. It generally is da DUM da da DUM da da DUM for lines one, two and five; and da DUM da da DUM for lines three and four.