Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

Anagrams as Form Poems – Original Art or Personal Masochism?

Occasionally I will write an anagrammatic poem; one where each line is an anagram of the first one. It’s a strange little form that I believe I have invented because I certainly have never heard of anyone else subjecting themselves to this form of literary masochism. 
There are plenty of poetic forms out there that dictate rhyme schemes, meter, how many syllables per line, repeating lines etc… but so far I’ve never bumped into anyone doing the anagram poem.
Granted, the computer is a great boon to the anagrammer (no, I don’t use any ‘software’ to generate words! That’s cheating).
I come up with a first line, fairly long (more potential), and hopefully with a good variety of letters (‘e’ is the most commonly used letter in the English language – anyone who’s ever watched Jeopardy knows that!).  Then I copy and paste it below and reduce it to a list of letters. Example. “I never thought of myself as a masochist” would look like this:
aaa eee  ii ooo u c ff g hhh l mm n r ssss ttt v y
Then you start pulling the letters down and making words and creating, hopefully, intelligent lines that make some sort of sense on some plain of existence! Sometimes the original line doesn’t even make the final poem and although the result may not be earthshattering poetry, it uncovers some rich words and word combinations that you may want to use in another poem.

O Child, O Sing
I desire no long, soft moan; no witch charmed fever.
Romance carved words of this feeling in the moon.
She looms, dreaming forever, not confined. I watch
conditional freedoms grow, even from the chains
of failing memories, coveted crowns, and the horn
on the moon, sin scarred, formed of light. We cave in.
I have fed the incandescent mirrors of moon glow
I never dance far from the two omens. o child, o sing.


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2 thoughts on “Anagrams as Form Poems – Original Art or Personal Masochism?

  1. Tony Crafter on said:

    If you haven’t already done so, may I suggest a visit to the website where you’ll see some wondeful examples of anagrammed poems. My claim to fame is that, amongst others, I anagrammed the whole of Kiplings ‘Mandalay’ and managed to keep the same rhyming pattern. Yes, a masochist indeed and probably just a little bit mad!
    Tony Crafter

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