Types of Humorous Poetry

Arts and Literature

Humorous poetry, also known as comic verse or light verse, is a form of poetry that aims to entertain and amuse the reader through the use of humor. It is characterized by its light-hearted tone, playful language, and witty observations. There are several different types of humorous poetry, each with its own unique style and characteristics. In this article, we will explore nine types of humorous stanzas, including limericks, clerihews, double dactyls, nonsense verse, parody, satirical verse, epigrams, haiku, and sonnets.


Limericks are one of the most popular and well-known types of humorous poetry. They consist of five lines with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA) and a distinctive rhythm. Limericks often contain a humorous or nonsensical story, with the punchline typically appearing in the final line. Here’s an example of a limerick:

There once was a man from Nantucket (A)
Whose nose was so long he could suck it (A)
He said with a grin (B)
As he wiped off his chin (B)
“If my ear were a cunt, I could fuck it!” (A)


Clerihews are four-line verses that were invented by English author Edmund Clerihew Bentley. They are named after him and typically feature humorous biographical sketches of famous people, often with a witty twist. Clerihews have an AABB rhyme scheme and no specific meter. Here’s an example of a clerihew:

Sir Isaac Newton
Was very fond of a prune
He once said with a grin,
“Gravity’s a tough thing to pin!”

Forms of Poetry: Humorous

Double Dactyls

Double dactyls are light-hearted, often nonsensical, six-line poems that follow a specific metrical pattern. They consist of two quatrains, with each line containing two dactyls (a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables) and a final line of three stressed syllables. Double dactyls are known for their playful language and wordplay. Here’s an example of a double dactyl:

Higgledy piggledy,
Emily Dickinson,
Dressed in a nightgown
White as a ghost.
She wrote a letter to
Thomas Higginson
Saying, “I’m nobody,
Who are you?”

Nonsense Verse

Nonsense verse, as the name suggests, is a form of humorous poetry that is characterized by its nonsensical and often absurd content. It often includes made-up words, unusual syntax, and illogical narratives. Nonsense verse is meant to be entertaining and amusing, without any deeper meaning or message. Here’s an example of nonsense verse by Edward Lear:

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea,
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.


Parody is a type of humorous poetry that imitates and mocks the style, tone, or subject matter of another poem or literary work. It often involves exaggeration, wordplay, and clever twists on the original piece. Parodies can be light-hearted and playful, or they can be satirical and critical. Here’s an example of a parody:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

Satirical Verse

Satirical verse is a form of poetry that uses irony, sarcasm, and ridicule to criticize and mock individuals, institutions, or society. It often aims to expose flaws, hypocrisy, or absurdity through humorous and exaggerated portrayals. Satirical verse can be both entertaining and thought-provoking. Here’s an example of satirical verse:

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.


Epigrams are short, witty poems that often contain a clever or insightful message. They are characterized by their brevity and concise expression. Epigrams can be humorous, satirical, or philosophical in nature. Here’s an example of an epigram:

I can resist everything except temptation.


Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that consists of three lines and follows a strict syllable pattern (5-7-5). While haiku is often associated with nature and contemplative themes, it can also be used for humorous purposes. Humorous haikus often play with the juxtaposition of unexpected elements or use wordplay to create a humorous effect. Here’s an example of a humorous haiku:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense


Sonnets are fourteen-line poems that follow a specific rhyme scheme and meter. While sonnets are traditionally associated with love and romance, they can also be used for humorous purposes. Humorous sonnets often employ wordplay, puns, and clever twists to create a humorous effect. Here’s an example of a humorous sonnet:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.


Humorous poetry is a delightful form of expression that brings joy and laughter to readers. From limericks and clerihews to double dactyls and nonsense verse, there are numerous types of humorous stanzas to explore. Each type has its own distinct characteristics and appeals to different types of humor. Whether you enjoy witty wordplay, satirical commentary, or absurd nonsense, there is a type of humorous poetry to suit your tastes.

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