The Limerick Masters of Yesteryear – The Lost Artform

By the time I arrived at adulthood the state of the limerick as a masterpiece of the literary foil was in alarming decline.  Playboy Magazine attempted to inject new life into the medium during the 1960s and 1970s by paying $500 for limerick submissions accepted for publication.  The selection process was tough and they accepted only true masterpieces.

During those years I submitted no fewer than ten [10] limericks per month and never had one accepted.  Hundreds of limericks.  There was no place in Playboy for second-rate hacks.

While the artform requires a particular meter, the truly well-constructed one needs more.  Internal rhyming.  Puns.  Lilting beat to simulate waves on a beach.  A joy to the tongue and ear. 

To illustrate my point, here is perhaps the best limerick ever written, once published in Playboy:

The new cineramic emporium
Is not just a super-sensorium
But a highly effectual
Heterosexual
Mutual masterbatorium.

Every time I run those timeless words through my mind, I’m humbled.

I don’t know whether the image at the top of the page depicts a man who once wrote limericks and submitted them to Playboy.  He almost certainly could have.  Possibly should have.

He might have been a contender.

Old Jules

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8 responses to “The Limerick Masters of Yesteryear – The Lost Artform

  1. It is good to have something to aspire to! ;)

  2. I never got past the level of “There once was girl from Nantucket … “

  3. One of my many fond memories of Playboy. Whether accepted or not, the important thing is to keep trying — obviously, you enjoyed writing them.

  4. I believe the man in the image never made the fortunes Hefner did, but what he pulled in took a lot less work than Hefner ever did.

  5. It’s strange that there’s no automated program to write them these days. Automation has taken over so many other jobs. I love the “artform”.

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