From science fiction to New York Times limericist

One of my favorite small little surprises in life (yes, it doesn’t take much…) is when I’m reading the New York Times online and I come across one of Larry Eisenberg’s limericks left in the comments box of an article. Today 91 years old, Mr. Eisenberg is a published science fiction writer who gained some fame in the 1970s for his stories. A few years ago readers of the Times started noticing humorous and witty limericks left by a “Larry Eisenberg” that started gaining a cult following from people like myself. It turns out this Larry and the science fiction writer are the same. Today I was reading this Times piece on dogs in schools and enjoyed a little spark of joy at seeing a new limerick from Mr. Eisenberg:

As a long time Dog lover, I say,
Dogs better us, ev’ry which way,
In love, loyalty,
Between you and me,
On Campus Dogs should win the day!

The SF Signal interviewed him a couple years ago:

Q: What led you to start writing limericks?

My WW2 Air Force Buddy, George Gordon, sent me a self-made Chanukah card with 2 original limericks. I responded with 2 of my own. Soon we had enough for the men’s magazines such as Gent, Dude and Rogue. This led to Limericks for the John (Loo, in Britain), and the Yiddish oriented Limericks for Lantzmen.

Q: You seem to most often express your limerickal (is that a word :-) self these days on the online edition of the New York Times. In fact, you have developed quite a cult following with your limericks on the Times comment boards. What led you to start doing this?

I have been, in the past few years, writing all sorts of satirical and humorous (I think) verse. As an Opera Lover, I wrote a condensed Libretti of Puccini, Verdi Operas, even Wagner’s Ring. I also rewrote all of the Edward Lear Limericks, retaining only the first line of the original. After connecting to the Internet a year ago May, I realized I had a potential audience beyond my Wife, Daughter and Son.

Relatedly, one blog has this excellent recap describing how “the website of The New York Times has become the unlikely home of a community of poets — specifically, poets who comment on articles and blog posts in the form of light verse.”