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Creating Form

June 2010

Vera Pavlova's first poetry collection in English is If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poemsx. (Translated by her husband, Steven Seymour.) The collection contains 100 poems, most less than ten lines.

Of course, with translations, we never know if the original form has been retained. Her poems are generally untitled or numbered. The model used for this prompt was the title poem from that collection.

Do you see the form in her 8 lines? I don't know a name for it, but the A, B, B, C, C, D, D, A repetition is there.

You might try her form, but I think it might be too limiting. So, here's this month's variation for the prompt:
Write an 8 line poem that has your own created form. You might experiment with rhyme scheme, line breaks, repetition, syllables.

The subject is wide open for this abbreviated month's prompt.

There are more poems by Vera Pavlova, some responses to this prompt and other things poetic on the Poets Online blog.


My two-stroke motor whirs
through foxtails, wild oats, thistle, burrs.
It sizzles, buzzes, hums
while breeze through knee-high grasses thrums
a dance-step, rhythmic, slow,
and with a swing and sway I go
between this earth and sky.
Above, a red hawk’s harvest cry.

Taylor Graham


The weather report,
Another cold day
In the city where you live,
Without me.

It's breaking my heart,
I cannot be there
To put my arms around you,
Keep you warm.

Russ Allison Loar


All poems are international.
This poem is foreign away from here.
These words are translated.
The form has been lost.
The lines don't rhyme.
Eventually, all novels are historical novels.
You don't find form: it finds you.

Lianna Wright


will I
dream again
of cloudless skies
of fireflies
or rains in
my eye;
when ?

Lady Nimue


When Charon left the boat, it was taking on water.
The ferryman of Hades sat on the shore drinking coffee.
Souls of the newly deceased were wandering off.
The waters of the rivers Styx and Acheron were unusually calm.
He sat at a table idly stacking coins of passage.
This dreary coast. This sordid god. How far back to the gates?
He might shave his beard, comb his hair, bathe, douse the hollow furnaces of his eyes.
He might abandon ship.

Charles Michaels

The Catcher in the Rye

Holden flashback: three days and nights in New York City.
No dormitory bed, but a cheap hotel one.
Allie's baseball mitt carries his poems.
Holden tried to write a poem about James Castle and his turtleneck sweater.
He tried to write about Phoebe, and the few people who were for real,
but he could not write, only erase words from the walls,
and wasted the rest of his life trying to catch kids before they fell off that crazy cliff.

Pamela Milne


Here I am scribbling in my unheroic solitude,
but ottava rima will not give me a Don Juan way.
Luckily, no Buddha here. I am not enlightened.
I am the sun at night, the star in day.
There can be no poetry for the enlightened.
I am tuning this little engine of language as a way
to pretend to myself that I will never be dead,
but begin to discover the end of infinity instead.

Ken Ronkowitz


jeremiah is a liar
pants on pants off
he's on fire
he's in dire need so
does his thing
with yellin' helen
she's a felon but who's
tellin' jokes folks

marie a. mennuto-rovello