Of the two poets who wrote this book, one really is. John Ciardi is one of America’s major serious poets. He is a leading critic and distinguished historian of words and the premier translator into English of Dante’s Divine Comeday. He is cursed, however, with a marvelously ribald sense of humor. He lives in Metuchen, New Jersey; [sic] Key West, Florida; [sic] and on the campuses of our major universities. And here are 144 new limericks form his pen.
Isaac Asimov is a world-famous biochemist who early discovered that his mind could not be limited to any one field. He may be the world’s most varied and fertile writer. He has written more than 200 books (he keeps three electric typewriters going at once) on subjects as diverse as astronomy and Shakespeare. He ahs written limericks on paper napkins, matchbooks, shirt-fronts, bosoms, and occasionally normal manuscript paper. He lives in New York City.
The first limerick war between Asimov and Ciardi resulted in Limericks: Too Gross, which has, in a few short years, established itself as a standard of this vile skill.
This book is virtually indistinguishable from the earlier Limericks: Too Gross—equally light and equally hard for me to feel any enthusiasm for. As the second volume of the set, it has less inherent interest as well. Still, I cannot deny that devotees of bawdy limericks may well enjoy it in ways that I do not. One man’s Mede, after all, is another man’s Persian.
It does, however, have one redeeming virtue in my eyes: it’s the last of the raunchy limerick books. Asimov’s penchant for making up dirty limericks at the drop of a hat came on him suddenly, and it vanished just as suddenly. It’s as if his brain was programmed to compose some 588 dirty limericks, after which the well ran permanently dry.