Poetic Form 1: Acrostic

I call myself a poet, but you could probably fit my poetic knowledge into a barnacle–with room to spare for the arthropod inside. Thus, from now until whenever I finish this project, I’ve decided to plow my way through Lewis Turco’s The New Book of Forms (A Handbook of Poetics). I’ll work alphabetically, posting one new form a week. Each post which will include a description, definitions, and my sorry attempts to write within the form’s constraints.


The first kind of poem I ever wrote. My parents are probably sick of these things, as my sister and I used to give them cards often featuring contorted versions of the English language on birthdays, mother/father’s day, etc in our early elementary years. For example:

D apper, this mountain-scrambler, who
A lways manages to look
D isturbingly bug-like when he dons his gigantic sunglasses.

As you can see, the acrostic poem spells a word down its left side using the first letter of each word. Typically, it’ll be metered and rhymed–I, however, was lazy and did neither.

If you want to make life even harder on yourself (but gain accolades for being more cleverer than lazy word-tweakers like myself), here are a couple variations you can play around with:


Spells out the same word(s) with not only the first letters, but the last as well. Like so…

D apper, this mountain-scrambler, ha D
A penchant for jav A.
D essert (its chilly ilk, aka ice-milk…uh, cream), however, was the only time he indulge D.


…which spells out the word(s) with only the last letters:

Pedal-spinner, epicure of Addams Peanut Butter: da D.
This conniving crafter of absurdly-long-bird-names, like The Ladle-Nosed River-Sipper of the Remoter Areas of Appalachi A,
proclaims that his bike-jacket is orange, not pink–but we call his bluff: he’s mulish, not colorblin D.


The left side of the poem spells out words with the first letter of each lines, while the right side spells out DIFFERENT words with the last letters of each line:

D apper, the mountain-scrambler, who didn’t own a Capybar A,
A lways appeare D
D isturbingly bug-like when he donned his shady protectors of pupil and retin A.

…you see how clever I am? I spelled Dad down the left side, and Ada down the right. Which is clever, because Ada is the Sindarin (elvish) word for dad….


Next week’s poetic form: AE FREISLIGHE


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