Edward Lear, Limericks, and Nonsense: There Once Was…

British poet Edward Lear (1812-1888) is most widely recognized as the father of the limerick form of poetry and is well known for his nonsense poems. In this lesson, students will learn the form of the limerick poem, practice finding the meter and rhyme schemes in various Lear limericks, and write their own limericks.

In a related lesson, Edward Lear, Limericks, and Nonsense: A Little Nonsense, 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.

Guiding Questions

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

What are the characteristics of a limerick?

Learning Objectives

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

Identify the characteristics of a nonsense poem and of a limerick

Write their own limericks