Tag Archives: Acrostic

NaPoWriMo: A Date With 8

Thank God, Miz Q has an acrostic today, or I’m not sure I’d have anything! I may play with an abecedarian in the background, but this is a second-cousin and, apparently, counts:

I note that


Poems written
under pressure, the clock
in wait —
the poet striving for
zen-like calm, meditation
erasing fears
removing doubt.

Removing fears
erasing doubt
means trusting our
inner self, that
inside every writer,
giving up.

I had several choices I liked for the x. I chose xenogogue guide, as the words that come to us, when writing, often come as strangers, at first. The other two words [and one different word, same meaning] intrigue me with their possibilities as metaphors.

xenagogue guide: someone who conducts strangers
xenoglossia: person’s knowledge of a language never studied
xenolalia: person’s knowledge of a language never studied
xenolith: fragment of extraneous rock embedded in magma or another rock

Personal choice: I don’t like highlighting the acrostic letters, but I don’t mind spelling them out!

I am Pulitzer Remixing.


Posted by on 08/04/2013 in exercises, poetry, writing


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Happy Holidaying : Tuesday Tryouts

7:29 a.m. — Atlanta

I know you are thinking: Margo, your brain is not awake yet. You have just finished your first cup of coffee. Why are you writing this so early? Well, I was distraught [okay, maybe a little strong, but you get the idea] when I discovered on our return from D.C. that the post I had updated and calendared to go out on Friday, didn’t, or it is floating in cyberspace somewhere…lost and lonely. My apologies for whatever happened. The fault is pretty sure to lie at my door. Perhaps in the pre-travel fugue, I didn’t push the final button.

PAD and NaNoWriMo folks, I salute you. One more day. You should feel good about yourselves whatever amount you accomplished. Anything you did is more than you had before. I picture many brains lying around in a stupor for a few days. I will, as promised, keep things simple.

Pick a holiday, any holiday.

I was so tempted to stop here, if only to imagine your reactions to a short post from me, but you know I have to give you something to play with. I have a couple of options.

After you choose your holiday, jot down everything you associate with that particular day. Write a poem about the holiday using none of those things. This is a good way of writing a fresh poem about any topic where everything associated with it becomes a cliché when written.

The second option if your brain threw its hands up in horror, is to use the holiday as a long line acrostic. The link I have given you will take you to an example, if you haven’t tried a long line acrostic before.

And that, my friends will do it. I shall see you Friday for the roundup and next Tuesday for something. Realising the whole month of December is fraught for most people, I shall continue looking for easy somethings for you to write about when escaping fraught-ness.

Do post links to your poems, whenever you write them. Or, if you are blogless, post the poem in comments. I receive great pleasure reading them, as I am sure you do reading each others.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 29/11/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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Tuesday Tryouts: Black Belt Acrostics

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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Tuesday Tryouts: The Simplest of Form Poems: The Acrostic

9:22 am — Atlanta

Hello all. It is time to delve into structure; not that you have not written poems without structure. Every poem contains structure of some sort, even free verse. All the free means is we aren’t following a conventional structure. If you have been with me a while then you might remember the imagistic poems, the 8×10, and the past few weeks with the dialogue poems. These are all structured although they have no name, such as: Acrostic.

Now, I heard a collective groan as you read the word acrostic. That will be because you are thinking of the simple form where a word, often your name, is taken, written vertically and words applied to each letter, that have something to do with the word:

Of prompts

There we have an example of a short line acrostic. Easy. Go ahead, try it — your name, your pet’s name, a planet…Do note that I wrote an acrostic a shade more sophisticated than the ones we wrote in our early years. My words work together.

Then we have the long line acrostic. Much more sophisticated and fun to do. If you create a good one, no one will notice the acrostic. This is the example I received in a class many years ago and which I suspect was created by its teacher, my friend James Penha:

Sunday my ancient aunt with knots for brows
Prepares mountains of meatballs
And chicken livers in sautéed
Garlic, olive oil, and onion
Heated ’til wrinkled brown–
Together she
Tosses as life has tossed her
In a pile of pasta every Sunday.

The content of the poem describes the word which runs down the left hand side: spaghetti. Ah! you perked up. This might be fun, yes? So try a few of the long line acrostics looking for thematic/topical connections between vertical and horizontal words.

Do leave a link in the comments, or the entire acrostic, if you achieve one. I would love to see the results.

And, as this is National Poetry Month, and some of you are going nuts trying to write a poem a day, I shall leave it there for this week and show you a couple of variants, next Tuesday. If you are writing a poem a day. let me remind you the poems can be short and the poems are all drafts. They do not have to be good. Okay? Feel better? Good.

I will see you Thursday for a discussion of fluff words in writing; and, Friday for the wrapup of the week’s prompts and exercises from around the poetry world. If you haven’t yet checked out my poetry giveaway, you might do so and sign up if you wish to try for one of the books. Happy writing.

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Posted by on 05/04/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


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