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Michael Croland

New Jewish Punk Memoir by Joe Trohman, Lead Guitarist of Fall Out Boy

On September 12, I was interviewed by a University of Oxford student conducting ethnographic fieldwork on alternative Jewish music. I pointed out that even though Jewish punk has largely been on the back burner during the pandemic, there continue to be exciting developments since I published Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk in 2016. Case in point: Joe Trohman, the cofounder and lead guitarist of Fall Out Boy, was releasing a memoir, None of This Rocks, the next day!…

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Limericks with Creative Abbreviations, by Mark Twain, Me, and Anonymous

When I first encountered limericks with creative abbreviations as part of my research for There Once Was a Limerick Anthology, my mind was blown. Upon reading the “Mr.” limerick below, I thought, The English language isn’t supposed to work that way! The “LL.D.” and “mdse.” limericks are harder to figure out and are jaw-droppingly clever. I initially had trouble finding more than a handful of limericks with creative abbreviations, but eventually I had enough for an entire chapter, which I’d…

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Why There Once Was a Limerick Anthology Is a Different Limerick Anthology

Limerick anthologies have been around for more than a century. I compiled There Once Was a Limerick Anthology, which is out today from Dover Publications. What makes this book different? My anthology is part of the Dover Thrift Editions series, which aims to be a “carefully curated library of the world’s greatest literature.” I didn’t necessarily include limericks that are the most commonly anthologized or that a comedian might recite aloud in order to get a cheap laugh. I portrayed…

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Celtic Punk Connections to Limericks and Limerick

After explaining the link between limericks and Limerick, Ireland, last month, I can tenuously claim that both of my books out this year have Irish tie-ins! I enjoy putting my books in conversation with each other, so finding the nexus between Celtic Punk Superfan and There Once Was a Limerick Anthology makes sense. Connections between Celtic punk and limericks/Limerick include some of the best-known acts in the genre, the Pogues and Flogging Molly; lesser-known bands The Gobshites and Siobhan; and…

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Quatrains about Air Guitar

In 2020, I published Air to the Throne: A Poetry Chapbook about Air Guitar and blogged about my air guitar limericks. In the last few weeks, I’ve penned more than a dozen quatrains about air guitar—and other air instruments! Some of these poems were inspired by clerihews, humorous aabb quatrains with a biographical focus and irregular meter, but it’s more accurate to call them quatrains. The content absurdly pushes past the boundaries of what is possible for air instruments, as…

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The Connection between Limericks and Limerick, Ireland

I published Celtic Punk Superfan earlier this year, and I compiled There Once Was a Limerick Anthology, which will be published by Dover Publications in August. Do my two books share an Irish commonality? Are limericks named after Limerick, the third-largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and/or the county of the same name? The link is tenuous, but it’s worth considering. In The Curious Story of the Limerick, Matthew Potter explains, “Limerick is the only place in Ireland to…

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Limericks about 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates

In January and February 2016, I wrote limericks about nine Republican presidential candidates. It wasn’t hard to find absurdity—or villainy—among the subjects. I sent the original versions to my limerick pen pal, Eric, who was born in Arkansas and with whom I attended college in Pennsylvania. I recited the poems at two open mic events in Queens, New York: at the Queens Public Library in Forest Hills in July 2017 and at a Purim party at Q.E.D. in Astoria in…

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Health Limericks

Around 2015, I saw playwright and storyteller Lisa Huberman‘s The Prodigal Vegan—one of several incarnations of the show I’ve attended through the years. A highlight was when Lisa presented Health Limericks, a limerick book that her late grandfather Max Huberman published in 1964; he was ahead of his time! I appreciated how the limericks related to Lisa’s overall story and depiction of her family in The Prodigal Vegan. When my interest in limericks was nascent, I was awestruck by how…

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My Limerick Pen Pal and His Limericks about Me

I compiled There Once Was a Limerick Anthology, which will be published by Dover Publications in August, and I largely have my longtime friend and emailing pen pal, Eric Jonas, to thank for fostering my interest in limericks. Readers may recall that my last poetry book, Air to the Throne: A Poetry Chapbook about Air Guitar, also stemmed from my emailing with Eric. I began sending poems to Eric during my subway commute in 2014, and limericks were his favorites.…

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Purim!

Today is both St. Patrick’s Day and Purim. Irish people (including folks who are only Irish one day a year) and Jews are united in partying, drinking, and making merry! Technically, last night was the beginning of Purim and the primary occasion for events, but they still overlap. My new book, Celtic Punk Superfan, includes a piece where I explore whether there might be a link between the two holidays, as part of a larger context looking at Jewish-Irish connections.…

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