Tuesday Tryouts: Black Belt Acrostics

12 Apr

8:40 am — Atlanta

Okay, so maybe they aren’t that difficult, but they are more challenging than the acrostics I started you with last week. So, how did you do? I ask because I have no idea how many of the 50 or so of you who visit, try the exercises. I know a couple do, as they have occasionally let me see a poem. Does this bother me? Only in the sense that I am curious. I love having all of you come by, but if you do write I am curious. I wondered if some of you don’t have a blog where it is suitable to post a draft of a poem, in which case let me invite you to post your tries in the comments for each Tuesday. Hmmmm. Clearly I need my second cup of coffee. Hang on…

Okay–nestle back in chair, smell hot coffee, watch steam rise, relax, breathe–how is everyone? It’s good to be with you. I enjoy my blog days and writing to you. This week’s acrostics are both more fun and more challenging.


Find a line from a poem, a song, an article, anywhere. For your first, you probably want it roughly ten words. Write the line vertically and use each word as the beginning of a line. Below is an example of one I wrote.

No more talk of darkness, forget these wide-eyed fears.(“All I Ask of You” Phantom of the Opera)

No looking into tunnels,
more following the light–
talk only of what’s possible
of the sun’s warm touch, of
darkness‘ healing sleep.

Forget the shadows hiding
these thoughts of endless night.
Wide open doors await,
eyed by hope and held by
fears of all that is unknown.

You will be surprised how well having the first word of each line in place makes things easier, and in no time, you have a poem. And, if you like it, start the revision process. The first words no longer need to stay in that position, or can be changed completely.


And, if you are still looking for a challenge, we have the double letter acrostic. “Acrostics can be more complex than just by making words from initials. A double acrostic, for example, may have words at the beginning and end of its lines, as this example, on the name of Stroud, by Paul Hansford .” “Acrostics” Wikipedia

Set among hills in the midst of five valleys,
This peaceful little market town we inhabit
Refuses (vociferously!) to be a conformer.
Once home of the cloth it gave its name to,
Uphill and down again its streets lead you.
Despite its faults it leaves us all charmed.

Now that is complex. The Wikipedia entry on acrostics is excellent and there are several examples of what writers have done with varying the form. The calendar acrostic is particularly worth checking out.

I will see you on Thursday for a discussion of the list of no no words I posted last week, and Friday for our roundup of prompts and exercises from the poetry world. Next Tuesday we will look at either a ballad or a blazon. If you know anyone who would be interested in any of this, feel free to share through one of the buttons below.

You are welcome to post a poem and link to your blog, or post a poem in comments, or, despite my pre-coffee mini-rant at the beginning, to do neither, but continue to visit, for you will always be welcome. Happy writing.


Posted by on 12/04/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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4 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts: Black Belt Acrostics

  1. hairyprincess

    12/04/2011 at 9:41 am

    Looking forward to giving these challenges a go!

    • margo roby

      12/04/2011 at 9:49 am

      Looking forward to seeing the results šŸ™‚ Yes? Maybe?

  2. noguruholdsme

    12/04/2011 at 10:07 am

    Margo! Your rant at us is justified.
    I read every one of your blog posts via email, and I file them away to try the exercises when I can.

    Up to now I haven’t had the chance to do them. I am hoping to try some of them over the six weeks’ holidays in the summer, if not before (like now, it is easter break!). Need some practice before I begin my creative writing BA course in September!

    When I manage to write any I will of course post them on my blog with a link to the appropriate post on yours.

  3. margo roby

    12/04/2011 at 10:25 am

    Ahh! Thank you. I’m not sure ranting at an audience gracious enough to stop by is ever justified, but I do like to know if writing is happening!
    Once you start the course, stop by and tell me about it. And I will look forward to seeing your responses when you write them.
    PS I have a stack of exercises I mean to get to some day šŸ™‚


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