Experimental Poetry Form: hierarchy

This experimental poetry form is called hierarchy.  In the form, a reader has choices.  When they get to a line, they have a choice of what line to read next.  This means that different readers could read the poem differently, and that the same reader could read it more than once in different ways.

The form has fifteen lines.  Here are the hierarchy choices written out:

Line 1: go to line 2 or 3

Line 2: go to line 4 or 5

Line 3: go to line 6 or 7

Line 4: go to line 8 or 9

Line 5: go to line 10 or 11

Line 6: go to line 12 or 13

Line 7: go to line 14 or 15

 

Visually, it would look something like this:

hierarchy experimental poetry form image

For example, a reader starting on line 1, has a choice after reading it, to go to line 2 or 3.  If they choose line 2, after reading it, they have a choice between lines 4 and 5.  If the choose line 5, after reading it, they have a choice between lines 10 and 11.  Once they choose one of the lines, for example 10, the poem is finished.  They could then go back and read it again making different choices.

In writing the poem, a poet would should number the lines and put the choice instructions for the reader.

One difficulty in writing a poem using this form, is that it would have to make sense in all choice combinations.

There are eight choice combinations.  They are:

1 – 2 – 4 – 8

1 – 2 – 4 – 9

1 – 2 – 5 – 10

1 – 2 – 5 – 11

1 – 3 – 6 – 12

1 – 3 – 6 – 13

1 – 3 – 7- 14

1 – 3 – 7- 15

 

In writing the poem, a poet should approach it methodically and check that the line combinations make sense as they go.  This is not that difficult, because the two branches from lines 2 and 3 are separate and don’t connect, and because only seven of the fifteen lines have a choice.

One way to write the poem is in the following line order: 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 5, 10, 11, 3, 6, 12, 13, 7, 14, 15.

Here is an example poem using the form:

Line 1: Outside on the porch the dog coughed. (Go to line 2 or 3)

Line 2: No one inside heard him, (Go to line 4 or 5)

Line 3: By his side a man wept, (Go to line 6 or 7)

Line 4: for they were absorbed in their own worlds, (Go to line 8 or 9)

Line 5: but in the yard, ears did listen (Go to line 10 or 11)

Line 6: understanding the pain the dog felt, (Go to line 12 or 13)

Line 7: thinking of the days when his father coughed (Go to line 14 or 15)

Line 8: and outside the dog was alone.

Line 9: but next to him his fellow dog showed compassion.

Line 10: and came to his aid.

Line 11: and a voice cried out for help.

Line 12: for in the smoke he too could not breathe.

Line 13: but unable to ease it.

Line 14: and knowing what had happened.

Line 15: and having hope through the tears that the dog too would get better.

 

In the explanation above the example of reading the poem lines 1, 2, 5, and 10 was given.  With this poem, that would result in:

Outside on the porch the dog coughed.

No one inside heard him,

but in the yard, ears did listen

and came to his aid.

 

The form can make for an interesting poem because a poet can present different outcomes based on the line choices.

 

Experimental Poetry Form: 15 bean soup

Today’s experimental poetry form is called 15 bean soup.  It is based off of the idea of fifteen different things coming together to make one thing.

The poetry form is simple.  It consists of fifteen words each starting with a different letter.  Each word represents a bean in the soup.  Other than this requirement, the poem can look how the poet wants.

Here is an example poem:

Lost
in the forest
searching about,
wandering.

Growing darkness
hides every path.

Knowing no respite.

Post Series: Advent: Experimental Poetry Form: Advent

Today’s experimental poetry form is called Advent.  It contains one stanza.  It is an acrostic form of the word Advent.  In the form, there are 40 syllables (the number of days in Advent).  The first through the fourth line have eight syllables each.  The fifth and sixth lines have four syllables each.  The lines are in different Christmas colors.  The lines starting with A and V are colored red, the lines starting with D and E are colored green.  The N line is silver.  The T line is gold.  Additionally, there is a rhyming pattern.  The A and V lines rhyme, the D and E lines rhyme, and the N and T lines rhyme.  Here is a summary of the form:

A 8 Red R1
D 8 Green R2
V 8 Red R1
E 8 Green R2
N 4 Silver R3
T 4 Gold R3

Here is an example poem in the form:

Another season has now come.
Doing many things from a list.
Very quickly it covers some,
enveloping like a strange mist.
No, tasks aren’t why
this time comes by.

Experimental Poetry Form: filter

Today’s experimental poetry form is called filter.

In the form, there are two stanzas.  Each stanza has three lines.  Each line has five words.

In the first stanza, each word must contain the letter “a”.  In the second stanza, none of the words can contain the letter “a”.  The idea is that the letter “a” was “filtered out” between the first and the second stanza.

Here is an example poem using the form:

Many emails arrive each day.
Communication has acquired great ease.
Substantial contemplation has apparently disappeared.

Letters used to be costly.
Thought with effort were there.
Words needed to signify something.

Experimental Poetry Form: scatter

Today’s experimental poetry form is called scatter.  In the form, there are twenty words scattered on the page.  The words are read from left to right and from top to bottom.  The poet can decide the exact positions of the words.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

It           is

                                       amazing               how            few   people

 

 

are                                             really

 

 

                     in                                        to               the           things

 

        that                          are                                  perceived

 

to                           be                    the                                      most

 

popular.

Experimental Poetry Form: four, four word steps

Today’s experimental poetry form is called four, four word steps.  In the form, there are four stanzas.  Each stanza has two lines.  Each line has two words.  The second, third, and fourth stanzas are indented ten, twenty, and thirty spaces respectively.  Here is what the form looks like

**
**

          **
          **

                    **
                    **

                              **
                              **

Here is an example poem written in the form:

Observance matters
each time.

          Days come
          and go.

                    Without thinking
                    they pass.

                              Without observance
                              meaning’s lost.

Experimental Poetry Form: Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Today’s experimental poetry form is called Halloween.  It is an acrostic poem of the word Halloween with additional attributes.

First, the lines that start with consonants rhyme and those that start with vowels rhyme.

Second, each line has nine syllables (as many as there are letters in Halloween).

Third, every other line is indented two spaces.

Here is what the form looks like:

H – R1, 9 syllables
  A – R2, 9 syllables
L – R1, 9 syllables
  L – R1, 9 syllables
O – R2, 9 syllables
  W – R1, 9 syllables
E – R2, 9 syllables
  E – R2, 9 syllables
N – R1, 9 syllables

Here is an example poem written in the form:

Goblins

Halloween has arrived on this night,
  and upon the lanes the goblins roam,
like ghosts of smoke they stay out of sight,
  like apparitions they fear the light.
O’ their dark deeds could fill a large tome,
  with tales of dark fear and such great fright.
Everyone out should surely go home.
  Each goblin lurks as its mouth does foam.
None should be out till the sun shines bright.

Experimental Poetry Form: four columns

Today’s experimental poetry form is called four columns.  It is the same basic notion as yesterday’s experimental poetry form, but instead of three columns, this form has four.  In the form, there are four columns, each with ten lines.  Each column has approximately the same width.  Here is an example poem to illustrate the form:

The man stood
upon the land
looking out
to mountains
and thought that
in their height
and all their size
he saw himself
as there he stood
upon the soil.
The man stood
breathed inside
and felt the air
from all around.
In the moment
what he breathed
he thought inside
was timeless
as in it went
and out again.
The man stood
watching the fire
as all the flames
upon the wood
danced about
and mesmerized
as the smoke
in wisps
drifted away
to the sky.
The man stood
within the sea
and felt the waves
move around
his legs and waist
as he stood
and looked out
before they ended
with a crash
upon the shore.

 

This poem is about the four elements and pride.  The first column is about earth, the second air, the third fire, and the fourth water.  This notion fits with the four column design.

In each column, the man sees something or himself as great and does not realize his lowness.

Experimental Poetry Form: three columns

Today’s experimental poetry form is called three columns.  As the name suggests, it contains three columns.  Each column has ten lines and each column should have an equal width.  Here is an example poem to illustrate the form:

The dog is going
to the vet today.
He doesn’t want to go.
He doesn’t know
he’s going to go,
but still,
he doesn’t want to go.
Still,
going to the vet,
is important.
The man is going
to the doctor today.
He doesn’t want to go.
He doesn’t know,
he’s going to go,
but still,
he doesn’t want to go.
Still,
going to the doctor,
is important.
The child is going
to the dentist today.
He doesn’t want to go.
He doesn’t know,
he’s going to go,
but still,
he doesn’t want to go.
Still,
going to the dentist,
is important.

 

This example poem takes the idea of the three columns further, and uses a pattern.  In each poem, the being going somewhere is changed and where they are going is changed.  Everything else is the same.  The idea in this case is to reinforce the idea about a being getting needed medical care, not knowing they are going to get it, and them not really wanting to go.

Experimental Poetry Form: inside the box

Today’s experimental poetry form is called inside the box.  The form is based off of layout on the page.

It consists of two main elements: a box and a line within the box.  A poet can decide how the two elements relate to each other.

The box can be any size and should be a rectangle.  The line must only be one line and must fit within the box.  The top line of the box should be read first, the left line second, the right line third, the bottom line fourth, and the inner line fifth.  The lines on the left and right are read from top to bottom.  The other lines are read from left to right

Here is what the form looks like:

********************
*                                        *
*                                        *
*                                        *
*  ****************  *
*                                        *
*                                        *
*                                        *
*                                        *
********************

Here is an example poem to illustrate the form:

There were five days of exercising.
W                                                    A
e                                                     n
i
g                                                     e
h                                                     l
t                                                      l
s                                                     p
–                                                     t
w    Six pounds were gained.     i
e                                                    c
r                                                     a
e                                                    l

l                                                    w
i                                                    a
f                                                    s
t
e                                                  u
d                                                  s
.                                                   e
–                                                  d
–                                                   .
Healthier food was eaten as well.