Monday, July 28, 2008

Invented Forms

Last summer I became interested in invented forms. I gathered together a bunch of them and tried my hand at some. I liked the challenge of them and often the zaniness. And in several cases, I liked the results. Recently, I submitted two invented form poems to The Del Sol Review, an online journal. Both appear in the current issue. I thought some of you might like to try your hand at these two forms. I'm offering you one today; the other will soon follow.

Today's challenge is an anagram poem. The instructions come from Terrance Hayes in his collection, Hip Logic. According to Hayes' note, he found the instructions in the puzzle section of newspapers.

First, choose a word of substantial length. Then quickly form as many words as you can from that lead word. You will need a minimum of eleven. Words should consist of four or more letters. That's the rule, but one I easily broke, and I allow you to break it also. You are not allowed to make a three-letter word into a four-letter one by the addition of s. I broke that rule also and so may you, if you like.

Then from your list of words, write an eleven-line poem. Each line must end with one of the words on your list. So if your list contains fifteen words, you will use only eleven of them. You could go on longer if inclined, but I obeyed this rule.

I found this form quite addictive. I was intrigued and pleased by the resulting sounds—the near rhymes, the alliteration, consonance, and assonance. Here's one of my favorite anagrams.

Ecdysiast

You think it's easy
to unravel the boa of feathers and cast
it off, to turn the act
of undressing into an art, suggest Yes
to each hungry face, go just so far and then desist?

Not one can touch, but all must leave feeling sated.

Sequins sparkle as she slinks across the dais,
peels the skirt and tosses it as if rolling dice,
and then the bustier, hook by hook, and thrown aside,
a spider molting, her gaze at once smoldering and icy,
the swivel of hips, to keep the tease slow and steady.




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