Definition: “A palindrome is commonly thought of as a word (e.g., “deified”), phrase or
sentence (e.g., “Able was I ere I saw Elba”) that reads alike both backward and forward. The
word, derived from the Greek palindromia, literally means a running back again.” The ordering
of the lines in the first half of the poem is reversed in the second half (and/or the ordering of
words and even letters may be reversed in the two halves of the poem). (Braid and Shreve 130)
- Any number of stanzas of any length
- No set metre or syllable count required
- No Rhyme scheme required
- Repetition is the key
- Palindromes are flexible: you can alter the punctuation
- Unfortunately, they are limited in scope because you cannot really make them lyrical and you
have to focus on the repetition
- There are themes of tension, balance, resolution and juxtaposition. They are usually some
kind of narrative.
Examples in the textbook:
“Loop” by Fiona Tinwei Lam
“Mobius Strip” by Anne Simpson
“ATM” by Elizabeth Bachinsky
“if you can't eat you got to...” by e.e. cummings
- This example is palindromic in many ways (phrases, syllables, lines per stanza etc).
I managed to solve all but one, as I could not remember Fiona Lam’s middle name.
Daniel gave us this link to look at: http://www.palindromelist.net/ .
I feel that because of the popularity of sentences like these, people have a difficult time taking
this poetic form seriously. The fact that it’s nearly impossible to be clever, eloquent or
significantly lyrical when using a letter palindrome. The lesser-known variations with words and sentences can, in fact, have more flow and I think if they were a bit more popular, the form
would be thought of more as poetry. An interesting alternate activity would have been to
change a poem of a different form into a palindrome, though I suspect that this would have
taken far too long for it to be viable within the time constraints. It would have been a very
valuable insight into the constraints of the form.
Definition: The Ode is a poem of praise.
- Long lyric poem
- Serious in subject and treatment
- Elevated in style
- Elaborate in its stanzaic structure
- Poem of celebration
- Pindaric Ode: a close imitation of the classic ode consisting of a strophe (two or more lines
repeated as a unit) followed by a metrically harmonious antistrophe, concluding with a
summary line (called an epode) in a different metre. These three parts corresponded to the
movement of the chorus to one side of the stage, then to the other, and their pause midstage to
deliver the epode (Brittanica, 2011).
- Horatian Ode: In contrast to the passion, visionary boldness, and formal language of typical
odes, they are calm, meditative, and colloquial as well as shorter. They are also usually
homostrophic (Abrams & Harpham, 2009). They are typically short lyric poems written in
stanzas of two or four lines. In contrast to Pindaric Odes, they are intimate and reflective; they
are often addressed to a friend and deal with friendship, love, and the practice of poetry
- IrregularOde:Imitatesthe classic ode and matter butdisregardedthe recurrent stanzaic
pattern and instead allowseach stanzatoestablishitsownpattern ofvaryinglinelengths,
number of lines,and rhyme scheme.Theyarefreetoalter inaccordancewithshift and mood.
IrregularOdes are the most commonstyleofEnglishOde(Abrams&Harpham,2009).
Ode to my Hips:
- Celebrates hips; empowers women.
- It's an irregular ode in blank verse.
- There’s repetition, which creates rhythm.
- We were assigned http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/america/ and tasked to figure out which type
of ode it was and why. - We decided it was irregular because it did not have a rhyme scheme or follow a set meter.
Students would be advised to search their iTunes libraries and youtube for a recent song that meets the
definition for ode. They would then be tasked to decipher which kind of ode it was and whether setting
it to music enriched the poetic value (for example, if the bass line is really deep and makes the poem
sound more forceful).
Definition: A Malay verse form consisting of quatrains with an ‘abab’ rhyme scheme in which the
meaning of the first couplet usually makes only indirect allusion to that of the second couplet, and
(when occurring in a series) with the second and fourth lines of one quatrain repeated as the first and
third lines of the next. (OED)
- Originated in Malaysia in the 15th C. shorter and more lyric than current ones, with rhyming couplets.
- Pantoum says everything twice, but in a specific order: first line of one stanza is the second in the next,
third line of one stanza is the fourth line in the next.
- Why do we write pantoum?
- You change your punctuation, which means you can change your meaning.
- They’re incantations because of their interlocking and repetitious nature.
- This is the "evocation of a past time" because you're thinking about something.
- Pros: you don't have to worry about meter/number of syllables per line, and you only have to write
half as many lines.
- Cons: very strict: your lines have to make sense when you rework them.
Evening Harmony - Charles Baudelaire
We were assigned a pantoum poem with some of the lines missing and instructed to write new ones to
complete the poem as per the structure. The lines with asterisks are the ones that were written by our
While building castles in the sand I paused a while and pondered.
*And held them in my hand
*Plucked from whence they wandered.
I paused a while and pondered
What these little creatures were.
*Plucked from whence they wandered
*I wasn’t really sure.
What there little creature were
Was not quite clear to me.
*I wasn’t really sure
*Why hadn’t I let them be?
Was not quite clear to me
I had caused their liberation
*Why hadn’t I let them be?
*I felt a new sensation:
I had caused their liberation
*And held them in my hand.
*I felt a new sensation
While building castles in the sand.
Is pantoum a fugue? I think that pantoum and fugue are very similar, but that pantoum is not a subclass of fugue. Fugue
seems to me to be more of an emotional message, and with pantoum you can tell a story. That being
said, the discussion that we had in class raised some good points: both make use of frequent repetition,
which is the main characteristic of the genre. Perhaps instead of being mother and daughter, these
forms are sisters.
The first result on a Google of “pantoum” is the Wikipedia page, which says that it is very similar to a
villanelle. Further research mentions the two in the same breath as a sestina several times, which is
another form with a characteristic type of repetition.
Prosody of Rap
Definition: According to Oxford English dictionary, prosody can be defined as the patterns of rhythm and
sound used in poetry. Thus, it is defined as the patterns of stress and intonation in a language.
- Traditional and nonmetrical prosodic study. Meter: trochaic pentameter. Flow is important, as is vocal
presence, enunciation, breath control (taking in air without interrupting delivery). Rhyme is key.
- Subjects treated include social struggle, monetary boasts, sex; all are important themes.
- Issues concerning racial class: rap originated in the African-American community.
- They will often use ungrammatical contractions and curse words, which means that this will never be a
high poetic form.
- Flow, speed, content and rhyme are the four main factors to a rap.
Changes by Tupac:
- Repetition of "myself" > he is talking about what he thinks
- Forced rhyme right afterward (common in rapping: they take advantage of their accent)
- He’s trying to use humor to lighten the social burden.
We were given the take home assignment of writing a couple of lines of rap over the instrumental of a
Chris Brown song. I went a little overboard and came up with the following:
Brony be Illin’
Dashing like I'm Rainbow, fly like Fluttershy
All dem Friendship haters still cannot understand wh