Table of Forms—Progressive Poetics

A progressive form is a constraint that systematically changes throughout the duration of the poem. Systematically implies that the progression is bound to a numeric sequence or is abecedarian.

A technique of steadily increasing the number of letters or syllables per word or line, or the number of words per line, is known by the Oulipo as a snowball. A steady decrease in the same would be a melting snowball. A poem that demonstrates a steady increase followed by an equally steady decrease is sometimes known as a diamond poem, because of the shape it makes when centered on the page. Traditionally, a poem in which the number of syllables per word increases steadily on every line is known as rhopalic verse.

Patrick Dorismond RIP, NYPD (Newspoem 5 April 2000) is an inverted diamond poem. But is a melting snowball using words. Before is a melting snowball using characters.

Related to snowballs are addition poetry (in which a text is altered through several iterations by progressively adding letters or words) and subtraction poetry (in which a text is altered through several iterations by progressively adding letters or words). Rishi Talks To Sam is a dialog between a high school student and the school custodian, in which one character speaks iterations of a subtraction poem, the other iterations of an addition poem.

Horse Latitudes is an addition poem, taking as its source text an ad from Phillip's Petroleum.

Poetry Reading: a collection of letter-order Number Poems written as a poetry reading

Before: a melting snowball in which the number of letters per lines decreases by one letter per line

Czech TV (Newspoem 18 January 2001): a seven-stanza poem applying the sequence 5-2-4-2-3-2-2 to words, sentences, letters, words, sentences, letters, and words respectively, removing the first number of the sequence each time. This is thought of as a dialog between lower numbers (2 representing mediocrity or suppressed thought) and higher numbers (5-3 representing critical thought), in which suppressed thought succeeds in suppressing critical thought.

Oh! John don't go to Kosovo (Newspoem 17 March 1999): a progressively (abecedarian) univocalic poem, in which each line is univocalic on the vowel that follows in the alphabet the vowel used in the previous line. This poem is also a six vowel serial poem using heavy stuttering. Furthermore it is also a number poem, comprising two stanzas each comprising six six-word lines.

A Kite: a progressive polygram poem starting with a five letter pool. In section 0, the first line is anagrammatic. The following lines are a polygram (multiple lipogram). In 1-4, wildcard letters are added to the original pool, resulting in homogrammatic transgram strings of five-letter words having four, three, two, and one letters in common. 5 is a polygram excluding the original letter pool. Starting with 6, the poem shifts from being a number poem in which every word is five letters in length to a liponol in which no word is five letters in length. In the first line, every word contains four letters from the original pool; in the second line, every word contains three letters from the original pool; and so on until the last line of the section which shares no letters with the original pool. Finally, the entire poem is a liponym, excluding the word that the entire poem consists of variations on.

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Dominique Fitzpatrick-O'Dinn
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