Experimental Poetry Form: bottom to top

This experimental poetry form is called bottom to top.  The poem is one stanza of eight lines, with each line having eight syllables.  The “bottom to top” aspect comes from the idea that the poem should be written such that the bottom line is the first line to be read and the top line is the last line to be read.  The poem should be written such that the lines should be read in the order below:


The line marked 1 should be read first, the line marked 2 should be read second, the line marked 3 should be read third and so forth.  The idea is to experiment with the convention that writing is read from the top of the page to the bottom.

When writing the poem, a poet doesn’t have to think of the last line first.  Rather, a poet can write line 1 first, then line 2 and so forth.  That being said, it might be a challenge to write the poem the other way, starting with the ending and working backwards.

When presenting the poem, a poet might experiment with two scenarios.  In one scenario, they have a note stating how the poem should be read.  In the other scenario, they just present the poem.  They could see, if possible, how readers react in each situation to the same poem.