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Originally published March 18, 2013 at 5:00 AM | Page modified March 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM

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Eagle Harbor limerick contest invites wordplay

Seattle Times book editor

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Lit Life

Your Lit Life correspondent loves a good limerick, and so do the booksellers at the Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island. To celebrate National Poetry Month, upcoming in April, they are reviving their annual limerick contest.

It’s been on hiatus for two years — maybe the organizers have been pondering the implications of winning. The ability to craft a good limerick may correspond with all kinds of possibilities, including a future as governor of the state of Washington! Because 2009’s winner was the current governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee.

Without further ado, here’s his winning entry:

There once was a Swedish crab catcher

On Bainbridge he laid on a stretcher

He looked nearly dead

Then meekly he said,

“Da crab’s yist too big in dere Fletcher.”

— Jay Inslee

(Parenthetically, “Fletcher” refers to Fletcher Bay).

The 2008 winner is a little racier:

At Port Blakely’s an old cemetery.

Where people who walk must be wary,

For the bodies abed,

On the grass are not dead,

But amorous, busy and merry.

— Jan Bailey

By now your creative juices must be burbling: To enter, all you have to do is bring your poems to the store, or mail them to Limerick Contest, Eagle Harbor Book Co., 157 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.

Winners will receive gift certificates. A gala reading with winners, honorable mentions and editors’ choices will take place at 7 p.m. April 18. The theme is “Bainbridge-O-Rama,” whatever that means. Questions? The store’s number is 206-842-5332.

What is a limerick? According to the website, limericks are “short, sometimes bawdy, humorous poems consisting of five Anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of a Limerick have seven to 10 syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.” Anapestic!? Look it up.

Other news of note: The Western Washington chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators holds its annual conference April 19-21 at the Marriott Redmond Town Center in Redmond. At this event, panelists and participants discuss every aspect of producing children’s books. Actual authors and illustrators (Mac Barnett, Kelly Milner Halls, Robin LaFevers, Sophie Blackall), publishers and agents attend. For more information go to the organization’s website:

Seattle Arts and Lectures: SAL continues through the late spring: two noteworthy upcoming appearances are nonfiction author Susan Orlean(May 14) and novelist, essayist and journalist Joan Didion (June 5). Details at

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or Gwinn appears every Tuesday on TVW’s “Well Read,” discussing books with host Terry Tazioli (go to for archived episodes). On Twitter @gwinnma.

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