Experimental Poetry Form: Flows and Stops

Lines: 6

Meter: None

Rhyming pattern: None

Syllable count per line:

Line 1: 10

Line 2: 2

Line 3: 6

Line 4: 8

Line 5: 10

Line 6: 2

Indention pattern:

Line 1

Line 2

Line 3

Line 4

Line 5

Line 6


This experimental poetry form has the characteristic of having flows and stops.  There are two flows and two stops.  The flows are Line 1 and the set of Lines 3, 4 and 5.  The stops are Lines 2 and 6.  The main idea of the form is to have flows that lead to emphasized stops.  The first flow happens and then a stop that is emphasized; then a longer flow happens with a stop that is emphasized.  All six lines focus on the same idea, with Lines 1 and 2 making one unit and Lines 3 – 6 making the second unit.  The units may be sentences.  Each unit should be complete by themselves, but still go together.  The indentions are intended to help emphasize the two stops and push the second flow.  The stops are emphasized by their relatively short length compared to the flows, their indention placement relative to the flows and, with the second stop, the steps in the flow that lead to it.  The form contains no meter and no rhyming so that the focus can be kept on the flows and stops.

This experimental form can be useful in a situation in which emphasis of certain parts is required.  Having flows that lead to stops helps to emphasize the stops.

Here is an example of a poem using the form:


As each small task takes precedent in spring,

weeds grow.

First between the two beds,

then along the wooden edges,

then covering over the tilled soil

and plants.


In line one, there is a flow.  The line moves quickly and ends with a sense that something should come after it.  Line two has a stop.  It is short and somewhat abrupt.  Line two could be a sentence by itself.  Line one almost has a positive feel, and line two is somewhat negative to contrast that.

Line three starts a description of line two.  Even though there is a connection between lines two and three, they are separate in that the weeds of line two are not mentioned directly in line three.  The reader is supposed to make the connection.

Line three flows into line four and the flow continues into line five.  The three lines describe an expansion which is emphasized by the expanding indention.  Lines three through five flow together.  Line five ends in a way that it could end there or continue.  Line six abruptly concludes the unit.

Lines three through five in some way are intended to feel positive.  There is no indication that the expansion of the weeds is negative.  Line six though has a negative feel.  Although the reader can make a decision of perspective with the idea of the weeds covering the plants (when the weeds cover the plants, is that good or bad?), the abruptness of the line, the change in indentation and the stop to the flow are meant to give the feel that the covering of the plants is negative.  In their tone, line six shares a connection with line two.

The above is an example, along with an explanation, of a poem using this experimental poetry form.  Please feel free to utilize this experimental poetry form to write a poem.