National Grammar Day is just around the corner, and ACES is hosting the National Grammar Day Tweeted Limerick Contest.
The contest is open, and the deadline for submissions is 2 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 3. Tweet a grammar-related limerick using the hashtag #GrammarLimerick to be considered. Also include the hashtag #GrammarDay, used for all National Grammar Day-related activities.
Winners will be announced on March 4, the date chosen for National Grammar Day because it is a complete and grammatically correct sentence when written “march forth,” as in “march forth and celebrate all things grammatical.”
National Grammar Day was founded by author Martha Brockenbrough (@mbrockenbrough) and is hosted each year by Mignon Fogarty—Grammar Girl (@GrammarGirl), who plans to read the winning limerick on her podcast.
In years past, the National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Contest produced hundreds of clever haiku extolling the virtues of properly placed commas or warning against an overly pedantic approach to our language. Haiku fit nicely in Twitter’s 140-character limit, but as Twitter decided to double tweet lengths, we can now afford to tweet poems in the limerick form.
Limericks probably first appeared near the end of the 19th century and may or may not have something to do with that city in Ireland. They are usually funny poems of five lines in which the first, second and fifth lines share a meter and rhyme and the third and fourth lines do the same with each other, but are much shorter. That fifth line usually serves as a punchline, and limericks for some reason often are bawdy.
Wikipedia’s entry on limericks offers this example poem of unknown origin:
The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.
The ACES National Grammar Day Tweeted Limerick Contest is focused on the grammatical, so please keep the bawdy to your private notebook. Entries will be judged on how well they make a point about the language, which can include grammar, typos, writing, editing, etc.
Prizes include a one-year membership in ACES: The Society for Editing with all the benefits that come with it; a pass for one ACES day-long editing workshop; a cool selection of books; and a “Be Explicit” tote bag from organizer Mark Allen (@EditorMark).
Judges for this year’s contest are:
- Jennifer Hambrick (@JenHambrick), a Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of the poetry collection Unscathed (NightBallet Press), nominated for the Ohioana Book Award. She is a widely published poet, with nearly 200 free verse poems and Japanese short-form poems in publication in English and in translation in literary journals around the world, including the Santa Clara Review, The American Journal of Poetry, The Main Street Rag, The San Pedro River Review, and others. Hambrick has received awards and prizes in the 2017 international Golden Triangle Haiku Contest (Washington, D.C.), the 2017 Vancouver International Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational, the Montenegrin International Haiku Competition (English), the Kaji Aso Studio International Haiku Competition (Boston), the Jane Reichhold Memorial Haiga Competition, and from NHK World TV’s Haiku Masters series, along with many other recognitions for her work. A classical musician and public radio broadcaster and web producer, Hambrick lives in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Her blog, Inner Voices, is at jenniferhambrick.com.
- James Harbeck (@sesquiotic) is an experienced editor, writer, designer, linguist, and educator for hire. He is author of many articles on language for various publications and of the blog Sesquiotica, co-founder of the blog Strong Language, and author of Songs of Love and Grammar, amusing poems about romantic and linguistic perplexities.
- Lynne Murphy (@lynneguist) is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sussex (UK) and author of the blog Separated by a Common Language. Her book The Prodigal Tongue: the love-hate relationship between American and British English will be published in April by Penguin. On Twitter, she offers a US/UK linguistic Difference of the Day. She will deliver the keynote address for the 22nd national conferences of ACES: The Society for Editing in Chicago in April.
- Rob Reinalda (@word_czar) has been executive editor at Ragan Communications since 2008, following a quarter-century as a newspaper editor at the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune, among others. His humorous essays on language appear on Ragan.com and Huffington Post, and he has written podcasts for Grammar Girl. He is scheduled to speak at the ACES conference in Chicago in April.
- Colleen Sharkey (@LillaryBlinton) is the winner of the 2017 National Grammar Day Haiku contest. She is a public relations professional and a freelance writer. A lifelong lover of the written word, she worked to pass on that passion as a longtime volunteer mentor for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit WriteGirl, an organization that pairs professional female writers with at-risk teen girls who wish to become writers. Professionally, she has worked in communications and public relations for NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and several universities. Her freelance stories range from a feature story on the Zombie Research Society to a profile of one of the world's foremost shark experts. A semi-professional singer, Colleen has sung with bands in Los Angeles and Budapest and is featured on the soundtrack of “Silence! The Musical,” an award-winning 2005 musical created by Jon and Al Kaplan as a parody of the film “The Silence of the Lambs.”