How to Write Nonsense Verse

How to Write Nonsense Verse by Kenn Nesbitt

Today, we’re going to dive into a super fun and silly type of poetry called “nonsense verse.” Have you ever heard a poem that made you giggle with its silly words and funny sounds? That’s what nonsense verse is all about!

Poets like Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll were masters of this playful poetry. They created poems that twist and turn language in the most delightful ways. Nonsense verse is like a playful dance of words, where anything is possible and everything is amusing. So, let’s jump into this wacky world and discover how to create our own nonsense verse!

What is Nonsense Verse?

Nonsense verse is a type of poetry that’s all about having fun with words and sounds. It doesn’t have to make sense in the way that other poems or stories do. In fact, the more playful and silly it is, the better!

In nonsense verse, poets use made-up words, silly phrases, and funny rhymes to create a world where the imagination can run wild. These poems often sound musical and have a rhythm that makes them fun to say out loud. They can include fantastical creatures, absurd situations, and lots of humor.

Nonsense verse has been brought to life by some incredibly imaginative poets. Here are a few snippets to tickle your funny bone:

Edward Lear, known for his quirky limericks, wrote poems like this:

On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
The Quangle Wangle sat,
But his face you could not see,
On account of his Beaver Hat.
For his Hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
With ribbons and bibbons on every side
And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
So that nobody ever could see the face
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.

It’s silly, it’s whimsical, and it makes you wonder about such a crazy creature!

Lewis Carroll gave us the famous “Jabberwocky” and many other nonsense poems in his book Through the Looking-Glass. Here’s a part of it:

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

Notice how these lines are filled with made-up words that sound fun and create a fantastical image in your mind? Nonsense verse allows poets to play with language in the most creative ways. It’s like opening a door to a world where anything can happen, and usually does!

How to Write Your Own Nonsense Verse

Now it’s your turn to write some silly, whimsical nonsense verse! Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Invent Fun Words: Don’t worry if the words don’t exist; make them up! Think of sounds you like and play around with them. How about ‘flibberflabber’, ‘whizzlewomp’, or ‘gloopityglop’? Then just string them together in a poem, like this:

The flibberflabber from Whizzlewomp
was glooppityglopping along.
He dumbledrummed on his bizzlebomp
while singitysanging a song.

If you need help making up new nonsense words, I’ve got a whole lesson right here on how, when, and why to make up words!

2. Create Silly Characters or Situations: Maybe there’s a cat who loves to tap dance, or a moon that likes to eat cheese. The crazier, the better!

3. Use Rhyme and Rhythm: Try to make your lines rhyme in a funny way, and give your poem a bouncy rhythm. It makes your nonsense verse even more enjoyable to read aloud.

4. Let Your Imagination Run Wild: There are no rules. If you want a purple sky or a talking shoe, go for it! Nonsense verse is all about breaking the boundaries of the ordinary.

5. Have Fun with It: Remember, the goal is to have fun and be creative. Don’t worry about making sense. The more nonsensical, the better! That’s why it’s called nonsense verse.

Here’s a little example to inspire you:

In the town of Giggleswick,
Lived a jolly bumbleflick,
With ears of seven different hues,
And eighteen pairs of talking shoes.

Hop to It!

Now, grab your pen and let those wacky, wonderful ideas flow. Who knows what fantastic nonsense verse you’ll create! Remember, the most important part of this creative journey is to let your imagination soar and to have loads of fun.

Whether your poem is about a flying pancake or a whispering tree, every line you write is a celebration of your creativity. Nonsense verse isn’t just about writing; it’s about enjoying the wild and wonderful side of language and life.

So, keep inventing those zany words and wacky worlds. Share your poems with friends and family, and see how your laughter and joy spread. Every nonsense verse you write is a masterpiece of imagination, and the world is eager to hear your unique and silly voice.

Here’s to your fantastic adventures in the land of nonsense verse! Happy writing!

Kenn Nesbitt
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