Saturday, March 7, 2009

Use Form 9/25 For Poems, Please

(image: courtesy of

I've been playing around with an invented poetic form--a simple one in which the poem has 9 lines, and you simply count words per line in the following pattern: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. You end up with a poem that has a profile like that of a portly man, but there are other virtues to the form as well.

Unfortunately, I haven't produced very good poems using the form yet. I don't blame the form. Of course, I'm probably not the inventor of it. No doubt many have tried it. I simply haven't seen it around. Give it a try, if you like. I'm calling it Form 9/25, which sounds like a bureaucatric form, so there's that. (Nine lines, twenty-five words.)

Here are some examples, not that you need them, and not that the products are very good, as noted.

A 9/25 Poem


is a

kind of drama

in meeting each person

we meet, a space of

light or heavy tension

as one life

intersects with




dark grey

and speckled, gather

in a group--thirty

or so--on wires above

my abode. They whistle,

chatter, burble, and

flit. They're


[A bird-watching book I once read described starlings as "garrulous." I thought that to be a charming description.]

Literary Feud


drunken boaster

with a reputation

of some kind didn't

like another self-consumed writer,

and they squabbled over

the years, very

jealous: so


(Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom)

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