The Muskegon Writers’ Series is sponsoring the 2018 Michigan Irish Music Festival Limerick Contest, open to individuals 18 years and older, in conjunction with the annual festival on Sept. 13-16 at Heritage Landing in Muskegon.

Contestants are limited to five limericks per person and all entries must be postmarked or submitted online by Friday, Sept. 7.

To enter online, visit the Michigan Irish Music Festival or contact Mary Tyler, coordinator of the Muskegon Writers’ Center, for an entry form at (231) 777-0327. All winners and honorable mentions will receive prizes and will be invited to read their limericks at the festival’s Blarney Stage on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 8:30 pm.

“A limerick is an oral form, often naughty and bawdy, racy and raunchy, witty and wild, but not too crude or lewd,” explained Tyler. “A limerick is very musical and easy to memorize so that, as tradition has it, it can be delivered orally in, say, an Irish pub or a whiskey snug. Overall, however, the limerick is smart. It is a clever way to sting or insult or tickle. Make us blush and laugh and light up in delight.”

“Structurally and technically, a limerick is a five-line poem that follows a strict rhyme scheme of A-A-B-B-A. The limerick has a triplet (three rhyming lines) and a couplet (two rhyming lines). The rhyming lines usually share the same number of syllables, typically anywhere from six to nine. Limericks often use word play, eccentric spelling, or other witty features.  While all five lines of a limerick should be witty and wonderful, the last line needs to deliver an unexpected punch, a shocking surprise.”

Tyler shared this example:

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 2018 Limerick Contest has three separate categories: Sex, Drinking, and Politics. Each category will have three winners and some honorable mentions. First place winners receive $100, second place winners receive $75, and third place winners receive $50. Winners at all levels, plus honorable mentions, will also receive two passes to the 2018 Michigan Irish Music Festival.

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