Picks and Pans Review: The Clerihews of Paul Horgan

updated 01/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Paul Horgan

Jacques Barzun explains in an introduction that a clerihew is a kind of poem: "One line invokes a well-known name/ Three more disclose, for praise or blame/ In words that make one want to quote/ A single vivid anecdote." The author of this collection is a Pulitzer prizewinning historian. His clerihews are irreverent. "Henry Ford/Said the Lord/Told him to get busy/And build the Tin Lizzie." Some are instructive: "Dr. Sigmund Freud/ Was self-employed/As for what he did,/ He invented the id." And the art world gets its share: "Pablo Picasso/Started out for El Paso,/ But by some mischance/ Ended up in the South of France." The clerihew was invented by an English writer named Edmund Clerihew Bentley. It never should have been allowed to immigrate. (Wesleyan University Press, $15.95; paper, $6.95)

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