Friday, January 20, 2012

A Word with Laurie: Nonsense

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” ~Dr. Seuss

According to good ole faithful Webster, the word nonsense means meaningless or absurd words or actions; and anything trifling or of little use.

As far as poetry is concerned, nonsense verse, or amphigory, is light-hearted and rhythmical word play. It contains muddled or ambigious grammar that transposes the meaningless into something meaningful, as in this excerpt from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss:

In yellow socks
I box my Gox.
I box in yellow
Gox box socks.

...or the incompatibility of phrases can be a form of nonsense poetry, as shown in this example:

'I see' said the blind man to his deaf and dumb daughter
as he picked up his hammer and saw.

…or poems with nonsensical meaning or situations rather than drivel can be a form of nonsense verse, as demonstrated in Jack Prelutsky’s piece:

Katy Ate a Baked Potato

Katy ate a baked potato, strolling through the mews
in her yellow elevator alligator shoes.
That was Katy’s last potato, she did not survive-
her elevator alligator shoes were still alive.

Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky
Of course, Lewis Carroll is perhaps most well-known for his use of nonsense in his pieces, as you can see in this excerpt from Through the Looking-Glass:


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Here’s one by yours truly, written last year:

To Gibberish
by Laurie Kolp

Frain breeze,
trimb clees,
squain meeze,
chiss sweeze;

pockey huck,
measy gruck,
trast f____ (oh,dear)-

the older I get
the more I find
gibberish spewing
from my mind!

~~~   ~~~

Roald Dahl

Habberdegosh! Let’s join the ranks of Edward Lear, Jack Prelutsky, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, Shel Silverstein (and many more); write some nonsense doggeryosh. Oh, and it does not have to be a children's poem or Limerick either.

But then again, you might just want to use the word nonsense in your piece... or ballderdash, poppycock, baloney, fandangle, jabberwocky, gobbledygook, mumbo jumbo, malarky, rigmarole, flummery, flimflam... you get the picture. Have fun being silly!

Post the link to your poem on the Mr. Linky and then leave a comment. Please visit others who have linked to this prompt, especially those who have visited you.


Mary B. Mansfield said...

Wow, this prompt looks like so much fun. Love Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein! Will definitely give this one a go. Can't wait to come back and see what kind of silliness ensues!

Laurie Kolp said...

Me too, Mary = )

I hope we all have fun today. Thanks for joining in!

Kat Mortensen said...

I'm pretty good with nonsense, (or so I'm told). Actually, I have a poem about thinking that is very much in the style of Dr. Seuss.

I'll see if my brain leans that way sometime today.

Thanks for a great idea!


Janet Martin said...

When I opened my e-mail and read Priday's Frompts from Margo in my blog side-bar...I knew it was going to be one of those days. My favorite nonsensical poems from my childhood include

Mother, may I go out to swim?
Yes, my darling daughter
Hang your clothes on a hickory limb
And don't go near the water


I eat my peas with honey
I've done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife

and one more

God in His wisdom made the fly
and then forgot to tell us why

These poems were out of a big fat book entitled Poems Old and New. I do not recall the authors names.

Let's see if I can unleash my 'silly' today...

Grace said...

What fun...just what I needed to unwind after a busy week ~

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, I love this, Laurie! C'est si bon!
Rightbackatcha, catcha.

Teresa said...

So much fun!

Tashtoo said...

Hi Laurie! Thanks for helping me let loose with my pen...I guarantee I have provided you all with a lovely dose of non~sense. Much fun :)

Laurie Kolp said...

Thanks so much for hopping in, Tash... and everyone else.

Laura said...

what can I add to this mish-mash of silliness except that my tongue twists this way by accident all the time and my kids think my mis-wordings are quite hilarious!

Ella said...

What a fun Friday prompt! I love it~

Mary said...

Nice prompt, Laurie.. I had fun with this.

Marian said...

Hi Laurie, just wanted to say I love this prompt! I have a number of poems with, uh, creative language, but I want to write a new one. I couldn't at work today, but I will work on it over the weekend. Thank you!

Sheila said...

saw Natasha's post and couldn't resist coming by to join in. How fun!

wkkortas said...

I'll apologize for this one up front...

An ol' boy named Billy Joe Clyde
Took himself a Louisville bride.
But he had his vices
Plus herbs,salt, and spices;
He ate the lass Kentucky Fried.

Melbourne Australia Photos said...

I love nonsense poetry! I'll keep this meme in mind and join in if I may!

Laurie Kolp said...

We'd love for you to join. Thanks for stopping by Sheila! Oh, and wkkortas that is perfect nonsense.

Mary B. Mansfield said...

This was a whole lot of fun to write and something I think everyone here can relate to!

Fireblossom said...

The lady with the pedant around her neck,

was told that her writing was the vilest dreck;

so she pawned the pedant and bought a new purse

which to her delight had no views on her verse.

Joseph Hesch said...

Arrgh! Forgive my five-minute dip in the nonsense pool, Laurie!

Though I don't think I have the chops to produce decent nonsense with fifty times five minutes. But it was a chuckle to try.

Pat Hatt said...

nonsense abounds at my grounds.

vivinfrance said...

Thank you for the invitation to be silly: just what I needed to cheer up this weary drinter Saturday. I'll be back

Ginny Brannan said...

Saw this up on Twitter, and couldn't resist sharing one written just "for fun!"