About The Book

Rhymes for Our Times is an anthology of light verse extensions of actual headlines that have appeared in newspapers, magazines, or on the Internet.

Headlines, as a compressed form of communication, seem to be especially compatible with our cranked-up, quick-cut, low-attention span society. Headlines might be seen as a kind of muscular, western haiku. I began composing headline-inspired verse more that fifty years ago. Headlines today are a basic and continuing source of material for comedians of all stripes, as well as for news commentators. Even the venerable New Yorker has for years tucked at the very bottom of prose columns a provocative headline and a line or two of wry commentary. Every day, Reuters news service hosts an online feature called “Oddly Enough” which consists entirely of provocative headlines. The Internet edition of any newspaper or magazine is replete with long listings of headlines.

The headlines used as easy fodder for comedians are usually those with obvious double entendres, such as “Dentist Fills Wrong Cavity” or “Woman Grows Gigantic Melons.” Others involve unintended word juxtaposition, for example: “Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax.” Still others are references to bizarre happenings, as in: “World’s Fastest Blind Driver.” These are the equivalents of already composed, freestanding one-liners.

The headlines that attract me are those that can be extended, elaborated upon, and otherwise deformed to further my personal brand of social commentary. Light verse attracts me because it is fun and challenging to write. The light verse form is also very welcoming to rhyme and word play, values brevity, and by tradition is encouraging to balloon-puncturing and ironic observation.

Let the rhymes begin . . .

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This is awesome stuff, its good to be in the know.


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