Experimental Poetry Form: acrostic across

Today’s experimental poetry form is called acrostic across.  The form contains one stanza with four lines.  Each line has as its first word a base word, this base word is used for the acrostic aspect of that line.

To illustrate the form, below is an example line.  In this line the base word is underlined and the acrostic letters are in bold.

Time is missing elements

As can be seen, the base word is “Time”.  This word is used as an acrostic base for the line.  The first word in the line, being the base word, starts with the first letter of the base word, the second word starts with the second letter, the third word starts with the third letter and the fourth word starts with the fourth letter.

This idea of acrostic across is used for all four lines of the poem.  Each line of the poem will have a variable number of words depending on the base word of the line.

Below is an example poem using the form.  It is written first just as a poem, and below it, it is written again with the base word of each line underlined and the acrostic letters in bold.

Here is the example poem:

Seeds enter entirely dark space
what happens after that
is something
hope of possibilities emerges

Here is the example poem with the form elements noted:

Seeds enter entirely dark space
what happens after that
is something
hope of possibilities emerges

Advertisements

Experimental Poetry Form: puzzle pieces

Today’s experimental poetry form is called puzzle pieces.  The form works in a way such that the first part can be combined with the second part.

The poem is written as two stanzas.  The first stanza has five lines, each with four words.  The second stanza has five lines, each with one word.

Each stanza may or may not make sense on their own, however, if they are combined properly, the resulting stanza would make sense. They can be combined in such a way that the words from stanza two could become the end words for stanza one, with each stanza two word combining with its corresponding line in stanza one.  This is an element of the form.

Here is how the form looks:

****[A]
****[B]
****[C]
****[D]
****[E]

A
B
C
D
E

 

The *’s represent words in the first stanza.  The bracketed letters in the first stanza are place holders for the corresponding words in the second stanza.  In using the form, the bracketed letters would be blank spaces.  The bracketed letters represent the spaces where the words from stanza two would fit if they were written in stanza one (although they are not written in stanza one for the use of the form).  Again, being able to fit these words into stanza one, is an element of the form.

The idea of the form is to show a poem in pieces.  It is similar to a puzzle in pieces.  The first stanza represents the part of the puzzle that is mostly completed, and the second stanza represents the remaining pieces.

The idea is that while each part may or may not make sense on its own, the reader should be able to see how they fit together.  This adds to the effect of the poem by engaging the reader.

To make the form easier to use, a poet could write a five line one stanza poem with five words per line, and then transform it to this form.  Below is an example which illustrates this, as well as the general use of the form.

Below is an example poem with one stanza, with five lines and five words per line.

The cat hid so quietly
as the dogs moved quickly
it watched the danger move
knowing that its presence unseen
in the shadows vanished away.

 

To apply the form, this poem is then broken into two stanzas as follows:

The cat hid so
as the dogs moved
it watched the danger
knowing that its presence
in the shadows vanished

quietly
quickly
move
unseen
away

 

This new poem follows the form.  As can be seen, the end words from each of the first five lines became lines of their own as a second stanza.  If the words were put back, the poem would make sense.

As can be seen in this example, the form can be used such that the two stanzas of the form, both separately and together, as well as the combined part that would normally not be written for the reader, can each make sense.  Having the separate stanzas make sense each alone, as well as if read together, can be more difficult than simply writing the combined poem and then breaking it up without regard for how it reads in pieces, but if done, this adds to the effect of the poem.

Poetry essay: conforming to form or not

Some times when a poet writes poetry they will use a poetry form.  It might be a traditional form like a haiku or a sonnet.  It might an experimental form like the ones on this blog.  It might be a form the poet develops as they write the poem.

In using a poetry form, there might be a question of if a poet should conform to the restrictions of the form as they are writing a poem or not

For example, if a poet were writing a 5/7/5 haiku, and the third line sounded just the way the poet wanted, but only had four syllables, should the poet keep it that way, or should they find a way to change it to five syllables to keep with the form?

There are other situations as well where this issue might come up.  Maybe a poet is having difficulty with a form.  Should they work to keep the structure, or should they alter it so it is easier?  In another situation, a poet might like aspects of a form, but feel certain parts don’t fit their expression.  Should they keep those parts or change them?

As in many situations, there are benefits to both ways of working.

In terms of sticking to a form, they are benefits.

One benefit is that sticking to a form inspires creativity.  By having to conform a poem to a form, and have it sound good, a poet might have to be more creative than if they could alter the poem however they wanted.

A second benefit is the philosophical idea of maintaining fidelity to a form.  There is the somewhat philosophical question of is a form really a form if it can be changed at any time?  A poet might feel that it is important to maintain a sense of conformity to a form for the sake of the idea of what makes a form a form.

As a third benefit, some poetry forms are recognizable.  Think of an English sonnet.  If a poet conforms to the form, they can have the benefit that some readers will recognize the form they are using.  This might appeal to some readers.  On the other hand, if they change the form, a reader who knows the form might view it as a mistake.  They might think the poet made an error in using the form and see the poem as having reduced quality.

In terms of altering a form, there are benefits as well.

One benefit is that a poet gets to combine structure with free expression.  A poet can benefit from aspects of the structure of the form while at the same time changing the form to fit their expression.

A second benefit is that writing poetry can be easier.  It might be easier for a poet not to have to conform to certain poetry form restrictions at times.  It can make the flow of writing easier and save the poet time.

A third benefit might be the development of a new poetry form.  A poet might have a form that almost works for what they want, but by changing it some it works completely.  They might find those changes are good in the sense that they fit other situations as well.  The form with those changes might then be a new poetry form.

Trying to make the decision about whether to conform to a poetry form or not can be difficult.  Weighing the idea of sticking to a form vs. writing something simply as it flows isn’t always easy.  Sometimes a poet can feel it is more important to maintain the form and other times they might feel it is more important to have the expression they wanted.

There are a number of ways to make the decision.

One way might be to set some sort of time limit.  For example, assume a poet was writing a poem according to a form, but for some reason some aspects of the form were not working for them.  They might set some time limit for working with those aspects and trying to get the poem to work.  If they can do so in the time, they stick to the form, if not, they change it.

Another solution, might simply be to flip a coin.  A poet might equally be able to write a poem according to a form or with changes to the form.  To decide which to do, they might just flip a coin.  This makes the decision simple.

A third solution might be for the poet to write two poems.  They might write one poem with changes to form.  This might be the more natural poem.  After that they might try to write the poem to conform to the form.  They could then compare the two.  They could present them to people, get opinions, send both out for publication consideration, or something else.  They could let their own views and the views of others help them decide which approach was better.

Experimental Poetry Form: revolve

This experimental poetry form is called revolve.  It is a simple form, but could be complex if a poet wanted.

The form consists of five words that revolve in position.  In the first line, the words, represented by letters, are as such:

A B C D E

In the second line, the words revolve position:

B C D E A

In the third line, they revolve again:

C D E A B

Again in the fourth line:

D E A B C

Again in the fifth line:

E A B C D

And in the sixth line, the words return to their original positions:

A B C D E

As a poem, the form looks like:

A B C D E
B C D E A
C D E A B
D E A B C
E A B C D
A B C D E

If a poet wanted the form usage to be simple, they could simply have five words that rotate.  The words might relate to the same topic or connect in some way.

Alternatively, a poet could try to select words that make sense in all the orderings.  This would make the form usage more complex.  It might also require the use of punctuation to make the word orders make sense.

Additionally, a poet could take it a step further and have all the lines make sense as a unit, such that the poem felt like a paragraph.  This would be much more complex.

If a poet went with the simple usage, the idea would be to have a poem that doesn’t conform to the idea of sentences or phrases.  It would express ideas simply with individual words.

If a poet went with the complex usage, the idea would be to have a poem that demonstrated a poetic skill, in addition to getting a message across.

Below is an example poem that is somewhere between the simple and the complex use of the form:

Quickly lilies drinking spring sunlight.
Lilies drinking spring sunlight quickly.
Drinking spring sunlight, quickly lilies.
Spring sunlight, quickly lilies drinking.
Sunlight, quickly lilies drinking spring.
Quickly lilies drinking spring sunlight.

Experimental Poetry Form: Twenty words

This experimental poetry form is called twenty words.  As the name implies, it has twenty words.  In addition to that, there are other form requirements.  Those requirements pertain to number of stanzas, lines per stanza, line indentions, line breaks and rhyming.  The idea was to add to the simple notion of a twenty word poem.

The structure is as follows:

A three word line
A two word line
A line break
A one word line, that is a rhyming word, indented two spaces
A line break
A two word line
A three word line
A line break
A three word line, indented four spaces
A line break
A one word line, that is a rhyming word, indented two spaces
A two word line
A line break
A two word line, indented four spaces
A line break
A one word line, that is a rhyming word.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

The clock ticks
seconds pass

  flowing.

Each moment
moves ever onward.

    Birds fly away

  knowing
time passes

    onward never

slowing.

Experimental Poetry Form: 8/30/3 with choice

The following experimental poetry form combines line count, syllable count and rhyme in a form that has some choice regarding its application.

In the form there are:

Eight lines.  The poet can choose the stanza structure for those lines.

Thirty syllables.  There is no syllable count per line requirement.  The poet can choose how many syllables are in each line under the thirty syllable restriction.

Three lines that rhyme.  The poet can choose which three of the eight lines rhyme.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

X-rays,
dangerous?

What gave you that idea?

That thick lead wall,
that’s so tall?

That’s just there …

BEEP

hold on, have to run to the hall.

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:

8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

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.

Experimental Poetry Form: dactylic meter with rhyme

Today’s poetry form combines dactylic meter with rhyme.  The form contains one stanza of five lines.  Lines 1 and 3 rhyme.  Lines 2, 4 and 5 rhyme.  Each line contains four dactylic feet (thereby each having 12 syllables).  Below is what the form looks like.  The meter is marked with a * for the stressed syllables and a ~ for the unstressed syllables.  The rhymes are marked R1 and R2.

*~~*~~*~~*~~ R1
*~~*~~*~~*~~ R2
*~~*~~*~~*~~ R1
*~~*~~*~~*~~ R2
*~~*~~*~~*~~ R2

Experimental Poetry Form: two triangles

This experimental poetry form is called two triangles, and is based off of word count, page layout and rhyme.

The poem is centered on the page.  The first line has ten words, the second nine, the third eight, and so forth to the tenth line which has one word.  The eleventh line also has one word, the twelfth has two, the thirteenth has three, and this continues to the twentieth line which has ten words.  Lines of equal word count rhyme.

Below is what the form looks like.  A * represents a word.

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

The rhyming pattern is:

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
J
I
H
G
F
E
D
C
B
A