‘Smells Like a Pillow,” Nerva, 2008, Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Nonsense verse, technically termed amphigouri, is the poetic form of literary nonsense, normally composed for humorous effect, which is intentionally and overtly paradoxical, silly, witty, whimsical or otherwise strange. It is particularly common in English, due to the typically absurdist streak in British humour. Some Dadaist writings could also be considered as being nonsense verse.
-From Arts and Popular Culture (http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Nonsense_verse)
For today’s form, we’re going to go in a weird direction, in a manner of speaking. The idea for writing Amphigouri is varied depending on the source. Some feel that this kind of poetry pertains to anything witty, silly or humorous. For others, it means employing the use of made-up words which appear syntactically correct, but are actually meaningless.
Now, we certainly could use made-up words when penning the fun Double Dactyl, but we’ll attempt that as a specific form in a future In-form Poet session (although, you certainly can use the form here, if you’re so inclined.) The same could be said of nursery rhymes too, so if you wish to make that the set-up for your Amphigouri poem, by all means, do it!
For our purposes, however, we’re going to simply suggest that you make up faux words. Use your imagination here (and don’t be shy!) The form can be Sonnet, 5/7/5 Haiku, Free Verse, Kyrielle – heck, even Sestina. But make it a verse of some kind (preferably in rhyme, although it is not essential) and invent at least 3 new words. Your poem(s) need to seem like they make sense, but actually may not, except maybe to you.
Some famous examples are:
Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky:”`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
John Lennon’s “The Faulty Bagnose”:The Mungle pilgriffs far awoy Religeorge too thee worled. Sam fells on the waysock-side And somforbe on a gurled, With all her faulty bagnose!
Edmund Lear’s “The Jumblies:”Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue And they went to sea in a sieve.
Christopher Isherwood’s poem from “Poems Past and Present:”The common cormorant or shag Lays eggs inside a paper bag The reason you will see no doubt It is to keep the lightning out But what these unobservant birds Have never noticed is that herds Of wandering bears may come with buns And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.
Finally, here are a couple of examples from yours truly:
Asunder, they’re torn as flang’d autumn leaves,
t’was nothing of craybors and gravlings and such.
So onward they trobbled as parsifle thieves
and ne’er did make windles or ado on much.
Their stinta in history regales and then grieves -
Surprise? No, for halloc evades without crutch.
No mord may sing dirges, yet still no reprieves,
and cold of the yarr leaf shakes cold to the touch.
Song of Nooblitz
When e’er I sing a Nooblitz song
my neighbors hold their aurimackles.
I do not think my voice is wrong
so why does this act raise such hackles?
It takes a lot of prit. This show of
Nooblitz-singing shows nascallent
skill, but still, the neighbors don’t love
me, ‘though I’ve got tons of talent.
Still, undrabbled, I’ll keep singing
as I’ve done each day, because it’s
what I do, ‘though hands are wringing…
Do re mi fa so, La Nooblitz!
So…do you have the gerlicknelloff to try writing Amphigouri poetry? Yeah? Well then, let’s see whatcha got…
MARIE ELENA’S ATTEMPT AT AMPHIGOURI
My froes are tozen. I would have chosen to teeze my hair, but there are wiglets nesting there. You may not care, but the wiglet is rare, so I’ll deal with my tozen froes (and not expose my sniffifigant nose).
© copyright Marie Elena Good, 2013
While we write weird, nonsensical poems, Robert Lee Brewer invites us to write a “normal” poem. Weeeeeeeeeird….