Foreword Reviews

Naughty Nonsense, Lascivious Limericks and Much More!

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Naughty Nonsense, Lascivious Limericks and Much More! is a zingy collection of limericks that are focused on topics ranging from castling to childhood.

David Ellis’s whimsical and amusing poetry collection Naughty Nonsense, Lascivious Limericks, and Much More! traipses through Australian geography and culture.

These gleeful entries poke fun at everything and everyone, including Ellis himself: “A wanna-be poet named Dave / Thought his rhymes were one hell of a rave.” They are preceded by a gentle, cursory trigger warning for their politically incorrect language, and they include limericks about sex, prostitutes, transgender people, lust, greed, and other familiar subjects; they have pure entertainment in mind, and don’t aim to be targeted jokes. Still, stereotypes abound; the collection neither challenges nor affirms such jibes. Here, sex makes people crazy, bodies of all types are ridiculous or desirable, and human beings are clueless about the world they live in.

The poems are divided into topical sections; the collection is partially autobiographical, and it includes explanations and backstories for some of its related entries, including its section about Ellis’s children and their accomplishments. For less personal subjects, annotations are used to explain the technical and cultural terms behind the jokes; they cover Australian prime ministers, geography, and slang, as well as topics like chess that are deemed to require additional explanation.

Although most of the book is devoted to limericks, other forms, including rhyming stanzas with cheerful beats, are also included. On the whole, the book is upbeat and chipper, preferencing humorous situations, characters, and experiences. Its lolloping limericks function like earworms, and its self-deprecating, comedic tone is a dry counterpoint to its more bawdy rhymes.

Black-and-white, comic-esque drawings are included throughout; they are sly and sometimes sultry, and some depict the situations covered in the surrounding poems. Their style is streamlined, capturing subjects like off-balance floozies and young people cavorting in a haystack—suggestive, but not explicit.

Still, in the end, the poems’ subjects are rendered secondary to their forms. Throughout, italicized commentaries are used to explain the mechanisms of the limericks; after goofy setups, their final lines, or “reveals,” skewer the subjects of their first lines. Hilarious imagery, from elated masochists to politicians in “budgie-smuggler” swim trunks, abounds.

Teasing subjects that are both powerful and clueless, Naughty Nonsense, Lascivious Limericks and Much More! is a zingy collection of limericks that are focused on topics ranging from castling to childhood.

Reviewed by Claire Foster

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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