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Sotades invented palindromes in Greek-ruled Egypt, back in the 3rd century BC. In fact, palindromes were once known as "Sotadic verses." He was thrown into the sea (wrapped in lead) by King Ptolemy II, for insulting the king in one of his verses.
They were quite popular in the 1800's, but have not shared much popularity since around the 1930's.
Palindrome comes from the Greek words "palin" (again or back) and "dramein" (to run). So if you read that backwards, it translates loosely into "to run back."
The palindrome simply reads the same forwards and backwards, usually with a central focal point from where it begins to read backwards. There are several ways to write palindrome poems, three are presented here, along with examples.
1. It can be read backwards, with the same words, such as the example below.
by Paula Brown
Passionate always, forging forward.
Unquiet rage screams
The terza rima is a traditional poetic form whose most renowned offspring is Dante's 'The Divine Comedy' (ca. 1300).
Obviously it wasn't first written in English, but it works just as well and is very pleasant in my opinion, especially when it's read aloud/performed.
The form is best written in iambic pentameter:
The sheep was killed by wings of fire and ice;
(the SHEEP | was KILLED | by WINGS | of FIRE | and ICE)
And yes, I know that example is horrible, but it gets the point across
The rhyming scheme is as follows:
a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d, e-e
Here is an example from Shelley's 'Ode to the West Wind':
O wild West Wing, thou breath of Autumn's being, (a)
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead (b)
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, (a)
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, (b)
Pestilence stricken multitudes: O thou (c)
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed (b)
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low
The Bref Double
The bref double is a French form. It is similar to the sonnet, but it need not be written in iambic pentameter (it can be in tetrameter, hexameter, or any other meter you prefer). The rhyme scheme is also different from a sonnet. The bref double contains three quatrains (four-line stanzas) followed by a final couplet.
The x standing for a line that doesn't rhyme with any of the other lines.
With crystal rain, the sky is filled
with diamond flakes that swirl and dance
to tunes that they alone may know,
unheeded by the ears of man.
The northern winds play havoc with
mere mortal plans, as drifts now build
their buttresses of pristine white
as if to mark some hidden plan.
This land is decorated, chilled,
and sealed for all to gaze with joy;
see all the children laugh, so thrilled
to witness Mother Nature's show!
Though my intent lies thwarted, killed,
my smile grows broad at so much snow!
The glosa is an early Renaissance form that was developed by poets of the Spanish court in the 14th and 15th centuries. In a glosa, tribute is paid to another poet. The opening quatrain, called a cabeza, is by another poet, and each of their four lines are imbedded elsewhere in the glosa.
The opening quatrain is followed by four stanzas, each of which is generally ten lines long, that elaborate or "glosses" on the cabeza chosen. Each ending line (10th line) of the four following stanzas is taken from the cabeza.
The usual rhyme scheme of a glosa is final word rhyming of the 6th, 9th and the borrowed 10th lines.
Irish Pride and Prejudice
(Glosa verse by Darren Anderson)
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
In memory of W.B. Yeats
A putrid scene of civil conflict
returns without regret,
festering in dead hearts,
lacking the fortitude to forgive.
Waiting, we long for
Ottava Rima is an eight-line form, originally Italian, having either eleven syllables per line or a line of iambic pentameter—the commonly accepted English use of the form being iambic pentameter.
The rhyme scheme is A-B-A-B-A-B-C-C, which is a moderately rigorous rhyme scheme. This makes ottava rima an excellent stepping-stone toward writing sonnets.
The earliest known use of ottava rima is in the works of Giovanni Boccaccio, who wrote several minor poems in the form and then used it as a stanza form in several of his longer works. This act propelled ottava rima to the primary form for epic poetry in Italy for roughly two centuries.
Ottava rima is relatively unpopular in English literature ; several works have been produced by Romantic poets such as Shelly and Lord Byron.
We shall leave you to your writing after an example from Don Juan by Lord Byron :
"Go, little book, from this my solitude!
Made famous by the greek poetess Sappho of Lesbos, c 600 BC - the Sapphic stanza is a metric poetic form spanning 4 lines.
The form has 3 hendecasyllabic lines - Each consisting of the following metric feet: trochee, trochee, dactyl, trochee, trochee
The fourth, concluding line has a Dactyl followed by a Trochee - this last line is known as the Adonic or Adonean line.
A brief note on the metric feet used in Sapphic Verse -
A Trochee is a two syllable foot, which follows a 'DAH-dah' rhythm
A Dactyl is a three syllable foot, which follows a 'DAH-dah-dah' rhythm
'Sapphics' by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Saw the white implacable Aphrodite,
Saw the hair unbound and the feet unsandalled
Shine as fire of sunset on western waters;
Saw the reluctant. . .
to show the metric pattern -
SAW the / WHITE im- / PLACable / APHro- / DIte
SAW the / HAIR un- / BOUND and the / FEET un- / SANDalled
SHINE as / FIRE of / SUNset on / WESTe
The Ghazal is an adaptation of a Persian form of poetry used to honor emperors and noblemen. A part of this poem broke off and evolved into the Ghazal. It is not a very commonly used English form as it was introduced only recently.
The Ghazal is a string of 5-15 couplets, with each couplet being able to stand alone as a complete thought and/or poem. At the end of the second line of every couplet is a 1-3 word long refrain. The word before the refrain is a rhyme that carries through the entire poem. A rhyming scheme would look like that: AA, BA, CA, DA, and so on.
The first and last couplets are special. In the first couplet, called matla, the rhyme is used in both lines. Often in the last couplet, the author's penname is used. The last couplet is the most personal one of the poem, and expresses something from the author's point of view.
Here is a Ghazal by Erin A. Thomas.
Once bright homes in blossom, now dead fallen,
They lay by the spinning blade's head fallen.
The word \"sestina\" comes from the Italian sesto, or six. The sestina is originally a French form, and a very old one, originating in the twelfth century in the work of Arnaut Daniel, a troubadour. It\'s lyrical and relies on the repetition of six key words and does not normally rhyme. The sestina\'s length lends itself to poems that tell stories or otherwise travel thematically, and its final stanza makes for a strong conclusion.
The form has six sextets and a final tercet. Many sestinas are in iambic pentameter, but it is not necessary; but whatever meter is chosen is usually maintained throughout a single poem--so a sestina might be in pentameter or quadramater, but not generally both.
So far, of course, it sounds simple enough; but in fact the sestina is possibly the single most difficult verse form to write, because while there is no rhyme pattern, there are six words used to end the lines of each stanza, and repeated in a carefully proscribed order until the final tercet. Essent
The triolet (pronounced as tree-oh-lay) is one of the many fixed forms of verses we have today. It was invented in medieval France, and has been preserved through modern literature.
Back in the medieval ages, the triolets were short witty poems that had a ten-syllable meter to it. It was perhaps due to the lightness of this structure that the triolet was often used to express humour, although it has been said that some of the first English triolets were of spiritual content.
A triolet is a French verse of eight lines and two rhymes. Out of these eight lines, five of them are repeated or refrained lines. In the following illustration, these five lines are represented by the alphabet A/a:
A – first line of the poem
B – second line of the poem
a – rhymes with the first line
A – identical to the first line
a – rhymes with the first line
b – rhymes with the second line
A – identical to the first line
B – identical to the second line
Thus, it is
How to Write Villanelles Villanelles can be quite discouraging; they look simple but are actually quite difficult. However, when mastered, it becomes technically easy according to Conrad Geller. Just like riding a bike, right? The name Villanelle is derived from the Italian villa, or country house, which is where aristocrats went to refresh themselves. Strangely enough, the form is originally French and only appeared in the English language in the lat 1800s (19th century). Out of the 19 lines in a Villanelle, only two rhymes are used. Furthermore, two lines repeat throughout the poem; usually the first and last lines of the first stanza are repeated interchangeably throughout the second, third, fourth, and fifth stanzas (starting with the first line of the first stanza) until the last stanza where both are repeated in the same stanza.
A Guide to Visual Poetry"Concrete poetry is poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem..." ~Wikipedia
Visual poetry, also known as concrete poetry, is fun to write because you have colors, textures, and words all at your power to manipulate. You've probably seen visual poetry before, where a poem is written in the shape of what it describes, like "Pyramids":
of hope through
the heat, that simple
materials in simple shapes
can stand as skyscrapers fall.
It's a start, but as a visual poet you've got way more power than this.
Font - Finally, after years of 9 pt. Arial (or whatever it is th
Haikai no RengaThe Tools of Poetry #1: Haikai no Renga
Written by Dick Whyte, Phylis Johnson and Reginald Webber
Summary: This text details the mechanics and philosophy of the Japanese poetic form known as Haikai no Renga. A group of people comprised of both professional poets and so-called 'non-poets' (preferably) gather. One of them comprises a starting line, a dyad consisting of a paradox, or contradictory statement. One might be I am blue, but I am not blue, while another might be I am sad, and yet I am happy. In Western terms this might be considered a piece of philosophical nonsense, an absurdity. Each starting line reiterates 'I am being and yet I am not being'. This phrase is an impossibility surely? Classical Western philosophy often asserts this view. As Aristotle writes after Parmenides, That which is not could [not] in any way exist [or
Common Errors: Lose and LooseLoose is an adjective meaning slack; not firmly fixed; the opposite of tight. It has a hard S sound, and almost everyone knows how to spell it.
However, many are confused by the very similar word, lose. This is a verb meaning to misplace something: an object, a function such as eyesight or memory, or one may lose ones way whilst trekking through the Australian outback or the local supermarket.
The confusion arises because the pronunciation of lose and loose is almost identical; the only different is that lose has a soft S sound at the end. It, too, has the double-O sound that makes many people want to spell it the same way as loose (which, I should mention, can also be used as a verb; get yourself an exciting kidnap novel, and you may well read of somebody loosing his or her bonds).
Lose is one of many annoying words that defy the rules of English spelling, and it does so in the same was as move and pro
Common Errors: Lead and LedA number of talented and otherwise capable writers seem to be unsure of the forms of the verb to lead. There is a common misconception that, perhaps, is exacerbated by the widely known correct uses of the verb to read.
Most people know that the past tense of to read is read, spelled exactly the same way but pronounced differently, with a short E sound: red. But red spelled that way, of course, is the colour of blood, Supermans cape and a great many other things.
However, when it comes to the verb to lead, you need only remember one thing: the same rule does not apply! Pronounce lead with a short E sound, and you are actually describing the soft metal used to make pencils and even face powder before it was found to be poisonous.
The past tense of the verb to lead is led.
If you were writing a story about an expedition into a forest, for example, it might look something like this:
The SonnetThe Sonnet
A sonnet is a fourteen-line lyric poem, with a rhyme scheme that is more or less fixed. Normally sonnets are written in iambic pentameter verse, and the thought pattern follows the structure very closely.
The Italian or Petrarchan Sonnet
In the 14th century, Petrarch, an Italian poet, made sonnet form famous by writing a series of love sonnets. The Italian sonnet consists of an octave or octet (eight lines) which describes the subject or introduces a problem, and a sestet (six lines) which comments on or resolves it. The octave consists of 2 quatrains, each rhyming abba. The sestet consists of two tercets, which rhyme in various ways: cde cde, or cdc dcd, for example. The final tercet normally makes a climactic statement.
The Shakespearean, Elizabethan, or English Sonnet
These sonnets consist of three quatrains with independent rhymes, and a concluding rhyming couplet: abab cdcd efef gg. The quatrains may provide 3 examples of a theme or 3 approaches to a problem, or the fir
Submitting to Lit JournalsRough Guide to Submitting Poetry to Literary Journals (by Email)
First thing you need is your poems, naturally; these must be fully redrafted to your satisfaction to have much of a chance of getting anywhere in the world of self-respecting mags. Try out some workshops (there are a tonne on the internet, and plenty in the real world too), ask your friends, but most of all just mull them over for yourself until you're happy.
Do not pad your submission with bad poems, thinking the worse ones might get through thanks to your stronger work. This will just result in the whole bunch being rejected, in all probability.
Next we need to scope out a market. There are numerous ways of doing this. Duotrope is probably the most useful resource around. Check that your target accepts electronic submissions and are currently open to submissions at all. Read their guidelines thoroughly and follow every one. It's amazing how many people completely fail to follow the
A word about haiku - MS JamesA word about haiku - by Michael James
I believe there are a few basic precepts about haiku that are largely overlooked, or just flat out just not taught in most basic literary (poetic) courses. Everyone seems to know that a haiku is supposed to be written in the structure of 5-7-5 syllables per line respectively, but there is much more going on than just a simple syllable constraint. I shall attempt to give a brief overview of the main points about haiku.
First off, the 5-7-5 syllable structure most often cited as being the sole 'structural rule' of haiku is based on the original Japanese constraint. However, the Japanese language and more specifically their word structure differ from English in a critical way when it comes to the definition of this structure. In the Japanese language, each sound unit is called an onji as opposed to our syllable. This unit of measure for a word is considerable more concise than what we use to define a syllable (typically only
How to Create Visual Poetry Concrete poetry, also known as Visual Poetry and shape poetry, is a type of poetry in which the arrangement and overall look of the words is just as important at conveying the effect/message as the words and rhymes in poetry do themselves. 1
Created in Brazil by Max Bill and Öyving Fahlström two Eupoean artists - Concrete poetry and its early methods were described in the Brazilian group Noigandres' manifesto "Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry."(2) It is during this period that Concrete Poetry was intended to be abstract and not allude to any specific piece of poetry or identifiable shape. When the 1960s came to the forefront of everyones mind, concrete poetry became less abstract and was adopted by poets as a specific form rather than simply a combination of literature and visual art. A few early pioneers of the vi
ClerihewThe Clerihew is a form of comic verse invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley, and championed by his friend, the novelist Gilbert Keith Chesterton. It consists of four lines of irregular length, rhymed AABB, or two uneven couplets, if you prefer to think of it that way.
Clerihews are almost always biographical, and the first line usually consists solely of the subject's name, perhaps the most famous example being:
Sir Christopher Wren
Said, "I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls,
Say I am designing St Paul's."
They may also be about a non-human subject:
The art of Biography
Is different from Geography,
Geography is about maps,
But Biography is about chaps.
Or, indeed, about a fictional ch
to crumble up
the remnant pieces
of my love for you
and throw them in the trash
but I'm such a bad shot.
ViolinI remember the day
you told me violins
were strung with cat gut
and that is why
you hated music
(who says that to a child?)
I followed you
all that summer.
I watched you
grow away from mother -
your whiskey held better conversations
and all she did was cry.
We'd sit cross-legged on the porch
and count the horseflies
settling on our lunch.
You would drown tadpoles
in a bucket
surprised they could not swim
and I would dream
of cherry popsicles.
And when night would gather
on the sidewalk
I'd hold my breath
until a star appeared.
Don't bother making wishes
you'd tell me -
stars are dead weight in heaven
and God has cloth ears.
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