Table of Forms—Serial Poetry

Serial composition, best exemplified by twelve tone music, comprises techniques in which, for all or a bounded subset of types of a particular unit, each type must be used once and only once before any of them can be repeated.

The anagram is a common example.

Variations on the technique can make it easier or more difficult. One such favored technique (one that makes it easier) is stuttering—instead of using a type only once, you may use it as many times as you like so long as no other type intervene.

To extend this technique to one of its extremes, you could write a poem that simply never repeats a letter (which would have to be 26 letters (a perfect pangram) or fewer in length), a poem which never repeats a word length (number of letters in a word) (again, this could not be very long), or a poem that never repeats a word (which could be very long indeed, though syntax would rapidly disintegrate through the scarcity of common and unparaphrasable words such as "the").

A nonpattern poem never repeats a word. Doug Nufer's Never Again is a nonpattern novel. An isogram never repeats a letter. The word


is an isogram as well as a six vowel poem.

Combinatorics refers to trying every possible permutation of a technique. A combinatoric anagram would be every possible anagram for a letter pool: asp, aps, sap, spa, psa, pas.

six vowel poetry: a form in which every vowel is used once before any of them can be used again

20 consonant poetry: every consonant must be used once before any of them can be used again

14 vowel sound poetry: a poem using each of the vowel sounds in standard English exactly once

phonetic serial poetry generator: an online tool designed to help you write phonetic serial poetry

Missed the Bus to Work Again: an acrostic serial number poem in which each line has one one-letter word, one two-letter, one three, four, five and one six-letter word

Foolish: a serial poem in which each line has one word containing every number of letters from one through nine

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.

Will my data spy on me?, a combinatoric polygram from a list of statistically common words, including one two-vowel word for each of the 36 possible sequences of two vowels, in alphabetic order.

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Dominique Fitzpatrick-O'Dinn
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