A statewide competition will challenge the rhyming skills of West Virginia middle and high school students while also honoring a former professor at West Virginia University.

The competition honors Armand Singer, a former professor in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. He was a renowned composer of limericks and his art was widely praised.

Students from across the state will be split into three grade levels – 7th and 8 grades, 9th and 10th grades, and 11th and 12th grades. Students entering the competition will be required to submit their performed or recited limericks via video.

“A ‘good’ limerick is short, hits the right rhymes, and is clever or funny,” said Lisa Di Bartolomeo, Armand E. and Mary W. Singer Professor in the Humanities.

A video detailing what makes a good limerick is available on the competition’s official website, http://limerick.wvu.edu. WVU President Gordon Gee has also filmed a limerick of his own.

“These were probably originally an oral form, and keeping a piece short, rhymed, and funny helps people remember it.”

Cash prizes range from $50-$200, and a special senior-level prize includes the cost of books for a senior who chooses to attend West Virginia University, for a total of $1,500. The competition closes Friday, Nov. 20, at midnight.

Di Bartolomeo, created the competition to honor the generosity of the Singer family, including wife Mary and daughter F. Ann Hill.

“This is a great opportunity for West Virginia students to demonstrate their skill and wit. We are excited to see what the students compose,” said Audra Slocum, assistant professor of English Education in the College of Education and Human Services.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“It’s a perfect time to celebrate poetic creativity in conjunction with the anniversary. Writing poetry isn’t something everyone does, but the limerick form is short, easy, and fun, so hopefully everyone will enjoy trying their hand at it and composing their own limericks,” Di Bartolomeo said. “I wrote my first one for the contest, too, and had a great time doing it.”

For more information, visit http://limerick.wvu.edu.

The contest is part of WVU’s yearlong celebration of the anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law, which created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. More details about the celebration and a calendar of events are available at http://artsandhumanities.wvu.edu/. Check back often for features, updates and showcases of WVU departments throughout the year.



CONTACT: Devon Copeland, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
304.293.6867, Devon.Copeland@mail.wvu.edu

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