Friday, November 19, 2010

Syllable-Sestina -- a square permutation poem

Some poetry is "free verse" but many poems are crafted by following some sort of form or constraint--they might be sonnets or ballads or pantoums or squares, or possibly even a newly invented form.  From poet Tiel Aisha Ansari I learned of a "syllable sestina challenge" from Wag's Revue. The desired poem contains six lines and only six syllables, which are repeated using the following permutation-pattern (the same pattern followed by the end-words in the stanzas of a sestina):


Here is a syllable-sestina entitled  "That's a Wrap" by Ansari.  This and also other responses to Wag's Revue's challenge may be found here. 
     Cuts, if loose, tingle would.
     Woodcut ills: if tin glows,
     lose wood thing. Cut civil
     elusive woodcutting.
     Thing: ill-cut, loose wood sieve.
     Sifting would all lose. Cut.

For readers unfamiliar with the sestina format for a poem, this Wikipedia link gives the history and a definition, and the external links at the end of the article offer numerous examples. 

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