Edward Lear, Limericks, and Nonsense: A Little Nonsense

British poet Edward Lear (1812-1888) is widely recognized as the father of the limerick form of poetry and is well known for his nonsense poems. In this lesson, which focuses on Lear's nonsense poem "The Owl and the Pussy Cat," students learn about nonsense poetry as well as the various poetic techniques and devices that poets use to help their readers create a mental picture while reading or hearing poems.

In a related lesson, Edward Lear, Limericks, and Nonsense: There Once Was…, students learn the form of the limerick poem, practice finding the meter and rhyme schemes in various Lear limericks, and write their own limericks.

Guiding Questions

Who was Edward Lear and what types of poems did he write?

What poetic devices and figures of speech are characteristic of nonsense poems?

Learning Objectives

After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to: Recognize poetic devices, including rhyme, syllabification, and meter

Recognize figures of speech, including alliteration, onomatopoeia, and personification

Comprehend the characteristics of a nonsense poem

Write their own nonsense poems