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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Forms of Poetry: Categories of the Acrostic

Lately, I'm referred to as a sage poet, for whatever reason. Anyways, as the creator of the site, Poetrynest I do feel comfortably in my skin proffering definitions for various aspects found in poetry. Once you are logged on to the site, you see a list of the various forms of poetry from which poems have been created to exemplify them. This list keeps on changing so you are well advised to subscribe to the feed so as to be alerted when the list is updated. Now, since poetry is the overarching theme for all my blogs you do expect me to come up with a definition for poetry and the various aspects of this literary genre. However, let me say this before I go any further. When we speak of genre we mean the specific form. Style and content are embedded in all forms of poetry which poets select to captivate the audience. All poets use language within a concentrated blend of sound, meaning, and imagery to create an emotional response from the audience. In essence then, genre and form can be used interchangeably.


Poetry is the manifestation of literature written in meter. Literature is the body of works recognized for having merit artistically. The poem is the product that emerges out of poetry. When we look at the mode in which poetry exists or manifests itself, essentially what we are faced with, is its form.

Forms of Poetry

If you read the blog, Poetry, Forms and Genres you might recall my saying among other things that form is the structural characteristics of poetic genres. Also, that when form conforms to conventional poetic dictates we have what is known as Fixed Form. Other names for this are Closed Form, classical Form and Traditional Form. Then there is the Non-Compliant Form so termed because it breaks all the rules that govern Fixed Form poetry. The other names for which this form is known by are Unstructured Poetry, and Open Form Poetry. So what this all comes down to is, that there is something called forms of poetry.

Forms of poetry bring to our eyes the poem's shape and structure and provide the general principles upon which the literary work is organized. Once we are able to identify the forms of poetry, we are better able to describe them. In describing these forms of poetry the elements of rhyme, meter and patterns which shape their stanzas are considered.

In Poetrynest, I have a list that shows the various forms of poetry depicted in the poems I have created to serve as exemplars. You may need to subscribe to the feed to be alerted when the list is up-dated. Now let's turn our attention to the form of poetry know as the Acrostic for which they are many categories as you will find out as you read about them.


This form of poetry was once associated with divinity in ancient cultures for sacred compositions, such as hymns, prayers and psalms. Numerous examples of this form of poetry can be found in the Hebrew Bible.

The Abecedarian is an acrostic poem formed by having distinct portions or verses commencing with successive letters of the alphabet. Censorship is an example of this type of acrostic poem.

Double Reversed Abecedarian

The double Abecedarian is simply the arrangement of the alphabetical letters in the lines or stanzas at the left and right sides of the poem. Then, the first letter of the first line is the same as the last letter of the first line. This forward layout is carried on until all the letters of the alphabet are used up.

When this forward movement of the alphabet letters on one of the two sides of the poem is reversed or shows a backward movement of the alphabet letters, then a double-reversed Abecedarian poem is created. Turbulent Times is an example of this type of acrostic poem.

Police Wives Association of Barbados
Saint Valentine's Day
Scott Base
The Barbados Museum
The Father of Barbados Independence
Venus goddess of love

Double Acrostic


Acrostic and Mesostich
Covert Fusion

Acrostic and Telestich

There can be variations and mixtures in acrostized poetry. It is worthy to note that Queen Victoria was fond of the double acrostic a sort of puzzle. This art form began as puzzles so it is easy to see how varying arrangements can be applied to it for more versatility.

The telestich is formed when the last letters of last words on lines or verses spell a word or words, when taken in order.

The acrostic is formed when the first letters of lines or verses spell a word or words.

The double acrostic is formed when the first letters of words at the beginning of lines of verse and the first letters of last words on the same lines of verse spell out the title/topic or complements the theme of the poem. The poem Felony is an example of this form.

The content of all forms of acrostized poetry should tell something about the encrypted message. It should convey praise on people, cities, objects, events, and so on.

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Haiti Under Rubble from 7.0 Earthquake

Natural disasters whenever and wherever they occur impact on all of our lives. The Good Book says we are our brothers and sisters keepers lead by the Holy Spirit. Hence, we must do our part when disaster shows its ugly face. Any assistance, great or small, given from generous and loving hearts has equal weight. I'm passing on this information I received that Barbadians can go to First Caribbean Bank to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund for Haiti. The banking information is shown below:

First Caribbean Bank Account--2645374-- Cheques can be written to: HELP #2645374

For more information click on this link

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

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