Got a book in the mail: Wicked Maine Limericks, it's called. Published last month by Maine Line Press, the slim volume contains about 50 pages of limericks (five lines, AABBA form, a la "There once was a man from Nantucket," etc.) written by and about Maine and its people.
According to the "Curator's Note" written by UMaine professor and Bangor resident Henry Garfield, the project was conceived when August Pomerleau, acting interim director of the Pine Tree Foundation for the Preservation of Fine Poetry, asked Garfield to generate, select, and edit new limericks from new poets in an effort "to save the rapidly dissappearing Maine Limerick from extinction." The result was the Maine Limerick Project and this bona fide collection of verse, sold for $16.95 (plus shipping and handling), and celebrating its release at a party at the Sea Dog Restaurant in Bangor this Friday from 5-9 pm.
Some words of caution -- this tome is not for the faint of heart; the following warning prefaces the poems: "The following material contains profanity, gratuitous sex, and graphic anatomical descriptions, and may not be appropriate for underage or easily offended readers."
Here's one example, by Floyd P., of Biddeford:
A Lewiston native named Jackdisappointed the girls in the sackHe fucked like a pistonbut like Sonny Listonin seconds was flat on his back.
That's a rather tame selection, to be honest. But such bawdiness comes part and parcel with this type of verse, Maine author and professor Bruce Pratt tells us in his forward.
"The Limerick has a long and ribald tradition," Pratt says. "It's part of popular culture...Limericks are people poems, their authors mostly unknown [as with the limerick from which this post's title is taken], their uncredited work having evolved the same way as traditional songs, through a folk humor process for lack of a better term. Read them. Laugh. Memorize the ones you like best and be the life of the next party -- especially once the spirits have begun to flow."