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2021: Celebrating The Writers' Greenhouse
10 YEAR anniversary!

Friday, 11 January 2019

Meddle with a Pleiades poem

For the launch of the Meddling with Poetry course, I'm sharing 16 delicious forms of poetry I've discovered, each of them a delight to play with.

A starry seven-liner, named for the Seven Sisters star cluster. Pick a one-word title, and start each of the seven lines with the same letter as the title.

A simple, flexible form with a perfect touch of constraint: a one-word title, seven lines, and every line starts with the same letter as the title.

The Pleiades is the Seven Sisters star cluster, hence the restriction to seven lines, one for each sister. It's a recently invented form Craig Tigerman came up with it in 1999. (And had the wisdom not to name it the Namregit. Richard Wilbur, take note!) Hortensia Anderson then came up with another requirement: as one of the Seven Sisters is so pale that it's almost invisible, each line should be just six syllables. (She's a haiku and tanka poet, so tiny syllable restrictions are right up her street.)

I like playing with both variations. In this example, I've used the six-syllable limit:


Plain-song echoes in old
porous stone. Wilting weeds
plead. Thistles fly where once
prayers flew. Roof gone, sky stark,
peel back centuries: the
Passion, or passions, all
places die, immortal.

Note: To respect copyright, these blog posts only use my own poems as examples. On the course, I'm licensed to give my students copyright poems, so you'll see lots of others.

The next Meddling with Poetry course starts in May 2020. It explores a host of different poetry forms, as well as the musicality of language, poetic imagery, and other aspects of the poetic. Absolute beginners and experienced writers are equally welcome. You can read more details and book a place here.

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