Monday, October 21, 2019

Poems and Primes

     Recently Press 53 offered a "Prime 53 Poem" poetry challenge -- to write a poem meeting these conditions:
     ·      Total syllable count of 53
     ·      Eleven total lines 
     ·      First three stanzas are three lines each with a 7 / 5 / 3 syllable count 
     ·      Final stanza must be two lines with a 5 / 3 syllable count, for a total syllable count of 53
     ·      Rhyme scheme (slant/soft rhymes are fine) aba cdc efe gg
A Prime 53 poem’s total line count is a prime number (11), the syllable count in each line is a prime number (7 / 5 / 3) with each line of the last two-line stanza a prime number (5 / 3), and the poem’s total syllable count is a prime number (53).

     One of the winning poems -- "Gödel's Garments" by New Hampshire poet and retired bookseller Ron Scully (shown below) -- not only satisfies the prime number conditions but also plays with the concepts of mathematics and language.

A winning "Prime 53" poem by Ron Scully

Information about the poet and other winning poems may be found at this link.
Another interesting new poetic form is the 11-line Skinny.  Learn more here.

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